Friday, March 17, 2006

Professional Help May Be in Order...

Chris challenged me earlier tonight when he told me about my last post.

"If you keep this up," he remarked, "you'll have that entire John Stewart story up on your blog with a seven hundred word interpretation of each panel."

"I could easily do that," I answered, "but I'm not really so bad. For example, I can post the third panel tonight with just the sentence 'Never, ever say this to a cop.'"

And I fully intended to do exactly that.

Until I pulled the panel up and saw it separated from the rest of the story.

Then I noticed the threatening posture of the cop, and the size-proximity trick Adams does here, and the shadow falling on John's face. All tricks to make John seem more vulnerable in this situation, and emphasize his courage. There's also some trick with the emotions going on here. The background is suddenly stark white with blue word balloons. Having the word balloons darker than the picture here adds extra emphasize to the word. Tension is building, emotions are running high.

With all those beautiful techniques, who could simply go for the cop joke? I used to just go by the general feeling of an artist. I liked a certain soft cheesecake style, and took little interest outside of it. I grew to appreciate the non-traditional types, because a talent for fluid motion would catch my eyes, or an expressiveness in the characters. Now I'm becoming obsessed for the first time with artistic symbolism. I love it. So much can be conveyed with a few small shortcuts. It's amazing, and, like the writers, I'm not sure the artists realize they are doing this.

I think I may be infatuated with this penciller. I can't stop thinking his panels. His gorgeous, shadowy, symbolic panels. Fortunately for me, I have no address for my embarrassing love letters, so I'll be spared the same humiliation I felt when I realized how much time I'd wasted writing to that kid on Seaquest in elementary school.

Unfortunately for you, dear readers, it means I'll be using this blog as an outlet for my insane ramblings about this story until I find something else to distract me.

If I don't see this distraction today, I'd like to apologize in advance. This could get a lot worse before it gets better.


  1. You could do far, far worse than to be infatuated with Neal Adams' work. Most of the best modern comics artists are extremely influenced by Adams. He really did change the way comics looked, and the things you could show in a comics panel. And he's still going strong in the comics area, although he works much more with his commercial art studio Continuity and his eponymous website and his very cool science theories. I've met him a few times, and my husband had the pleasure of spending the day with him at a Marvel 9-11 book signing once - he's just as impressive in person as he is on the page.

  2. Seaquest? I never found those... Hee hee...

  3. Considering how much blog space is spent on the bad things in comics, a seven hundred word per panel praise analysis would not be over the top. When praise is due, we should give it.

  4. Considering that you are, panel by panel, making John Stewart my favorite Green Lantern, something neither his current, A-Ha/ABBA loving appearences in the comics nor his badass role on Justice League Unlimited managed to do:

    I say go for it.

  5. Hope you're happy with yourself. Your love letters drove Jonathan Brandis to suicide.

  6. Next on Written World: Why Skate Man is the most phenomenally underrated comic ever!

  7. Bah! Blogger ate my reply!

    It went something like this:

    Hooray for Neal Adams, and hooray for the direction your blog is taking! I am a big fan of close reading of comics (I wouldn't call it all symbolism, but that's me nitpicking) and your analyses are a delight.

    If you like to read this kind of thing, I highly recommend a book: Comics as History. It's a misleadingn title-- it's not a history book using comics as artifacts, but rather a book about comics focusing on comics that tell history. It does some of the same type of analyses panel by panel you do here, and it's great. One of the best parts is early in the book where two comics accounts of the first shot of the Civil War are recounted-- one by Kirby, one by Kurtzman.

    Also, if you like Adams, check out his Batman and Deadman stuff, and some of his stuff done for Marvel like X-Men and Avengers (both brief but very good runs).

  8. "very cool science theories"?

    I think someone needs to look up what the word 'science' actually means.

  9. "very cool science theories"?

    I think someone needs to look up what the word 'science' actually means.

    If you replace "cool" with "crazy," it makes way more sense.

  10. In local news noted Crazy and Oklahoma City resident Ragnell has been arrested again. Officials say she saw the color of paint inside city hall and claimed the painters ment to signify the need to burn down the building.

    Firemen managed to keep the blaze contained to three blocks.

  11. Jonathan Brandis, I'd even forgotten his name.


  12. Officials say she saw the color of paint inside city hall and claimed the painters ment to signify the need to burn down the building.
    Gimme a break. Are you trying to tell me nobody ever uses psychological techniques to write comic books?

    Moulton, anyone?

  13. "Gimme a break. Are you trying to tell me nobody ever uses psychological techniques to write comic books?"

    And it was a joke about the fact that she could logically do a panel by panel review of any book and write those 700 hundred words.

    Thats not noticing symbolism thats actively looking for it.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that, but you'd have to get that conceit to get the joke.

    I know that writers use symbolic gestures all the time. No one ever said that they didn't. But Ragnell her self has even posted on how others say she looks to deep for things. This post in fact started out with a challenege to do just that. So my poking is perfectly in line and a perfectly logical ribbing of the source material.

    Besides Ragnell thought it was funny.

  14. And I guess my Wonder Woman tag wasn't.... :(

  15. You know, you won't have the full story up here until you get the part where Guy got hit by the bus too.

    Because that's just entertaining right there. John's part is deep and satisfying, but there's something awesome about that bus