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John Byrne
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Joined: 11 May 2005
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Posted: 16 March 2007 at 6:16am | IP Logged | 1  

As I have mentioned before, this is a term we use in comics to describe the manner in which information is presented in the panels. The action of the panels is the "storytelling". "Action" here meaning what's happening in the pictures.

For some reason I found myself thinking about this, just now, and started wondering whatever happened to this simple skill. With the emphasis on so much ACTION in the jumping punching hitting sense, the "acting" part seems often forgotten.

Here's what I am blabbering about: Whenever I draw a character, I try to keep him or her in character. So, even if s/he's just standing or sitting, I try to have him/her stand or sit in a distinctive way, or at least a way that's different from anyone else in the shot. Giving the characters little bits of business is one way of accomplishing this. (This is something I do a lot in the Commission pieces, tho I have made it a habit in my reg'lar comic work, too.)

But increasingly in the past couple of decades, artists have turned more and more away from this kind of thing -- everybody stands the same way, walks the same way, jumps the same way. It's as if there are "rubber stamp" poses, to which the artists merely add costume lines.

There are some, of course, who are still "old school" -- Bruce Timm, Adam Hughes and JRjr excell at this -- but I can't think of many others (this side of the Pond, anyway.)

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George Peter Gatsis
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Posted: 16 March 2007 at 6:28am | IP Logged | 2  

Miller? Swan?


Edited by George Peter Gatsis on 16 March 2007 at 6:29am
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Dave Powell
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Posted: 16 March 2007 at 6:34am | IP Logged | 3  

Cho... ok just shoot me, that wasn't even funny.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 16 March 2007 at 6:39am | IP Logged | 4  

Swan?

***

Not producing much these days…
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 16 March 2007 at 6:46am | IP Logged | 5  

As I'm making my way through Essential Captain America volume one, I'm finding a fun exercise in reading each page as scripted by Stan Lee and then going back and "reading" the page simply by looking at the Kirby artwork.  It's interesting because occasionally you can find differences and "see" the scripting process Stan Lee was going through.  Try it!
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Patrick T Ditton
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Posted: 16 March 2007 at 6:52am | IP Logged | 6  

To agree with JB - I read an article several years ago, an interview with John Buscema while he was doing his Avengers run in the late 80s.  I recall he discussed how at (that point) in his career he, too, was drawing his characters to each have distinctive personalities - focusing on body language and things like that.  After reading the article I began noticing the subtle things Buscema would draw to define a character - it was remarkable.

I have noticed JB doing much more of this in recent years and it's been a good thing, too - it truly enhances the storytelling.

I think Alex Ross tries to capture some of this with his work - but much of his is expressed through the mood of his colors and the detailed facial expressions of his characters.
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James Hanson
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Posted: 16 March 2007 at 6:56am | IP Logged | 7  

But increasingly in the past couple of decades, artists have turned more and more away from this kind of thing -- everybody stands the same way, walks the same way, jumps the same way. It's as if there are "rubber stamp" poses, to which the artists merely add costume lines.

I've thought the same thing. It seems action scenes have suffered most. They used to have a sequence of events within them that the reader can understand. "First Cap throws his shield, then the Hulk grabs it and throws it back, then Cap leaps over it, ..." Now it seems like they're comprised of random action poses with no actual content. "Superman is punching Amazo in midair, now Amazo is doing it, now they are both doing it..."

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Martin Redmond
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Posted: 16 March 2007 at 7:05am | IP Logged | 8  

Stuart Immonen is good at giving different stances, Humberto Ramos, Bryan O'Malley, too.

I think most people like that are working in videogames or animation right now. I'm often amazed when rereading older comics since many fight sequences remind me of games I played like Devil May Cry and so on. When you get multiple characters to chose from, they usually have different walk animations and attitudes as well.

I also think it's a matter of "fashion". It's not really fashionable to do this in comics right now or I just don't notice it because the writing is usually bad and I don't pay attention. I'm sure if I thought more about it, I could find alot of names.



Edited by Martin Redmond on 16 March 2007 at 7:08am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 16 March 2007 at 7:08am | IP Logged | 9  

I think Alex Ross tries to capture some of this with
his work - but much of his is expressed through the
mood of his colors and the detailed facial
expressions of his characters.

***

Ross depends too much on live models. You don't
get, say, Thor's body language, you get somebody
-dressed-up-as-Thor's body language.
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Dave Powell
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Posted: 16 March 2007 at 7:12am | IP Logged | 10  

I like Alex Ross, and I believe he creates nice pictures.   But the stringing together of sequential art isn't his strong suit.  Add to it the fact that his figures seem to be straight out of an Andrew Loomis book, to the point that I've seen his models before, and they lived in the 1950's.  Well, paint pictures Alex.. we all love them.
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Gerry Turnbull
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Posted: 16 March 2007 at 7:15am | IP Logged | 11  

Mark Buckingham,Darwyn Cooke,Tony Harris
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Michael Cross
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Posted: 16 March 2007 at 7:37am | IP Logged | 12  

I find Alex's storytelling on Justice is his best yet, but possible because he's not using his own breakdowns or pencils.  Doug Braithwaite has a real good eye for what he is putting in each panel.
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