Comic Panel Slow Read #39
From Wonder Woman #18 Pencils by Bilquis Evely | Inks by Scott Hanna | Colors by Romulo Fajardo | Written by Greg Rucka | Letters by Jody Wynne
As a (mostly) daily exercise for 2017, I’m trying to slow down my reading and look deeply at one particular panel of a comic for about 15 minutes in order to really study its construction.
Bilquis Evely draws some of the best hair in comics right now but she doesn’t overdo it. You can tell that depicting realistic hairstyles is important to her but she still draws them in a slightly cartoony way, appropriate to her overall style. She simplifies certain shapes and uses a minimal amount of lines (that fat, curled up lock of hair below Veronica’s chin is a great example of this). She also draws very expressive eyebrows. Her characters do a lot of emoting through furrowed and arched brows. She shapes them elegantly and gives a lot of fine detail to the eyes and nose making her character’s faces really capture your attention. Another little touch I see a lot is the coloring around the nose. The rosiness with that little highlight is something I always associate with the painter Skip Liepke. Colorist Romulo Fajardo does this a lot in this issue (possibly it is a lighting effect that Evely indicates in the pencils but I assume this is Fajardo’s artistic choice).
There is a lot of fine cross-hatching in this panel by inker Scott Hanna. The shadow cast by Veronica’s hand onto her shirt fades very nicely from pure black to progressively looser hatching (you could probably question whether the way that shadow is fading away as it gets closer to the arm it is being cast from is realistic). A similar fade occurs around Veronica’s head giving her a soft halo against the dark background. Meanwhile, a more geometrically even hatchwork is used on Adrianna’s outfit to indicate a webbed texture. The straight lined shading on her arm is really intricate and nicely done, reminding me of the way Neal Adams would capture some varied shading by changing up the weight and spacing of his lines.
There is an interesting lettering effect here to indicate stuttering. Dropping to lowercase for the stuttered syllables is a great choice that you don’t see used that often.
Adrianna’s bloodied face is gruesome. The glow of the light fades out a lot of Evely and Hanna’s lines but Fajardo uses some painterly textures in the coloring to indicate some of that messy gore. You can still see those patented Evely eyebrows going on in that face though. The same with the hair, which is all wet and tangled strands. Some of those strands are indicated very effectively as negative shapes. This mess of lines and shapes is really the opposite of how I described Evely’s approach to hair earlier but it is appropriate in this particular context.