Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Everything that is wrong with modern comics...

Well, no, not really. That would take a lot of work and time to go over. But i feel a rant coming on.

Ran across this page over at and I have one question to ask: has this artist ever even seen a real woman's body?

That stance in the 4th panel practically says it all: I've learned to draw comics by looking at cartoons and if I've ever been to an anatomy or life drawing class in my life then I'm not carrying it over into my comic work.

Not mention that relying on the computer to take care of almost all your textures and colors means that you've done very little to make the blacks and negative space on the page interesting or even work well. The tilt on the final panel is meant to convey something, perhaps that the Widow is off balance in her assessment of the mission and that bad things are going to happen soon, but the crop on the panel makes it not even work well.

As well, the artist shoots himself in the foot on the size of the air duct. He shows up how large the air ducts are in the second panel, giving them a size relationship to Natasha, and then completely destroys that relationship on the final panel. No way that she can stand up in that vent, as shown in the 2nd panel.

And this is professional work?


Peter Richardson said...

Preach it brother Charles!

The worrying thing is that this stuff then influences another generation of fanboys who are presumably to busy tracing tracings of tracings to actually get out and live a bit and discover the real world as opposed to the 2D recycled and cliche ridden fantasies that occupy most of their waking lives.

sdestefano said...

I agree with all of your criticisms, certainly, but for myself, feel that this artist's misunderstandings of anatomy, size relation, spotting of blacks and page design is secondary to the fact that I haven't a clue as to what's happening on this page. I'm kind of amazed you gathered that the Widow was actually IN the air duct---I neither saw her enter nor exit the thing. And what's going on in the second to last panel? Is someone shooting at her? Certainly, this artist's drawing skills are meager, but worse still are his storytelling abilities and sense of atmosphere and rhythm.

Tim Perkins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim Perkins said...

I started to see this some twenty odd years ago.

As an artist or a writer folks of my generation and those before us studied not just the work of those heroes of ours, but also the guys that influenced them "ad infinitum," something, which with successive creators over the years following, became progressively less and less so.

In other words the guys behind my generation looked at us and our direct influences (the guys immediately our precursors John Ridgway, David Lloyd, Dave Gibbons, Alan Davis, Brian Bolland, Bryan Talbot, Alan Moore, etc), but not their influences.

The generation behind them looked at my peer group and the ones following us – ignoring our influences.

The generation behind them only looked at the guys following us and the ones following on from them – ignoring us.

It has become so bad that any new guys (and I understand this is not in ALL cases - but it is sadly the norm nowadays)only look at the direct stuff in the comics they like in front of them.

Comics history is a thing of the past, for these guys and "old fashioned".

Consequently over the years since the early days of Marvel UK this watering down here in the UK and in the USA has continued to dilute the visual language of the art form we call comics.

I was speaking only the other day, whilst in Malta with David Lloyd on this very subject.

Something else to consider (and this relates directly to this particular Blog and the comments thus far) is that we all looked outside of comics for influences too - prehistoric art, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Aztec, Mayan, et al, the old masters, UK, US European, and Japanese Art and Illustration, Illustration, etc, etc and so did the guys before us.

The generations since, maybe down to the rise of the “fad” and the “I want it now” generations, have failed to do so.

Without learning from everywhere this was bound to happen, as the scope of comics was gradually narrowed.

I have always worked with the premise of the “learn from everything, copy no one,” ethic.

I think I should also add that one of the main faults I feel also lands squarely with the publishers, as they asked folks to draw, ink, colour, etc, like such and such artist and continued to do so.

Hence house style became draw like him or her and not as it once was; dynamic layouts with "realistic story elements" - Marvel, Traditional layouts with "anything goes story elements" - DC.

This has also lead to a lack of the kind of varied art styles US comics were famous for, as gradually the house style has taken over.

That said there have been some different styles creep in over recent years, but these IMHO beg the question, would these guys ever have worked along side the Kirby, Colan, Buscema, Kane, Redondo, Smith, Wrightson, Toth, Kaluta, Kubert et al of comics and I say the answer is a definite no.

All of the above said we are starting to see a backlash against it all as more new artists are listening to folks like us and are doing the right things and going to anatomy lessons, studying lots of different art forms and styles and learning as a result.

Thankfully that means there is slowly a return to the old knowledge base and a realisation that the potential of a perfect comic comes from an understanding of all that has gone before, tempered by what could be for the future.

Joe Jusko said...

In addition to all that's been already mentioned knowledge of basic skills like perspective are lacking, also as can be seen when comparing the vertical lines of the pillars with those on the duct work (and they're right next to each other). It makes me crazy that young artists simply refuse to put the time in to learn basic fundamentals.

inkdestroyedmybrush said...

Joe - thanks for the comment. You won't remember it, but we hung out with Joe Chido and Wrightson and some others in a drinkfest at San Diego years ago, and it was great to be in such talented company. Love your work, always have.

Joe Jusko said...

Wow! THAT had to be a while ago!!! I haven't seen Joe in years. That' or the drinkfest was a classic one that simply wiped out my memory! lol


that page truly is horrendous...did a child draw that comic? Seriously...can people actually get paid for art like that? Where do I sign up?

Daniel Best said...

And these are the same people who stedfastly refuse to hire Norm Breyfogle because they have doubts over his drawing ability.

Well pointed out Charles - this is why I don't read comic books anymore, not that editors at Marvel can see my point.