Daily Comic Panel Slow Read #18

From They’re Not Like Us #4 | Art by Simon Gane, colors by Jordie Bellaire, letters by Fonografiks, story by Eric Stephenson

I thought this would make for an interesting daily exercise for 2017. The idea is to slow down my reading and just look deeply at one particular panel of a comic for about 15 minutes in order to really study its construction.

  • I’m astounded by Gane and Bellaire’s work on this book every time I look at it. Gane is a master of human expression and form. He carefully designed his characters with unique and realistic features and style and keeps them “on model” throughout the book. This is something not every comic artist can effectively do (which is why superheroes wear colorful costumes and masks to help us tell them apart).
  • Syd’s furrowed brow is what pulls you into this panel but her hands are so wonderful. They’re so real in their gesture yet drawn with just enough exaggeration to give them a visual interest you wouldn’t get with perfect realism.
  • Gane imbues his scenes with so much detail. The frills on the curtain, the ornate bed stand and picture frame, the little flowers on the pillow case, the stripes on the pillow. He doesn’t cheat on any of it but manages to also not overwork any of it either. He pays a lot of attention to fashion throughout this book and does so here even in the case of Syd’s button down pajamas.
  • Bellaire throws a splash of pink into an otherwise single tone of nighttime blue to indicate, I think, light coming in from another room although in this book about telepaths it might be a hint of something supernatural. The blue tone is not completely monotone of course. She manages subtle variations between the skin, hair, clothes, bedding and bed stand. And then balances it against the gold of the frame and the aqua color of the curtain. It’s worth noting how she colors the lines of the hair rather than leaving them black to create a soft, blonde effect without stark outlines.
  • This entire book has a contemporary feel but with lots of stylistic throwbacks to the ’60s. That’s evident in a very small way in the narration boxes. The serif font is set inside uneven strips of white that look somewhat like text cut out of a magazine but are also reminiscent of a design motif of 1960s jazz album covers.
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