I thought I'd mention that I'll be appearing at the MO-KAN COMICS CONSPIRACY September 20-21. It's a good show, where you can really spend quality time with the guests... and they have some great guests this time around. Please check out the site, and come by and say "Hi!"
And now, the incredible genius of David Mazzucchelli. I was lucky enough, a few years back, to have the chance to purchase a page from the last issue of Miller and Mazzucchelli's DAREDEVIL:BORN AGAIN. Not only did I get A page. I got, in my opinion, THE page of that issue. I'm going to tease you today by not showing the panel that really kills me from this page. Instead, I offer the first panel, which features my favorite Marvel character, Captain America.
Frank Miller is probably at the top of my list as far as comic book writer influences go. As I told Frank himself when I met him, I have a lot of bookshelves in my studio, but only two small ones right next to my drawing table. Frank's work dominates those two shelves, and it is what I turn to first when I feel lost as a creator.
Frank has hooked up with a number of phenomenal artists over the years, none more so than Mazzucchelli. David takes what Frank gives him and runs full speed. In this panel, as Captain America enters the General's office, he tells us everything we need to know about the setting and the characters.
Cap himself stands near the middle of the panel, stock straight and rigid. His posture tells us that he stands at attention out of respect for the General's rank, but it also tells us something about Steve Rogers (for those non-geeks, that's Captain America... well, used to be, anyway). In the foreground the General dominates the composition forcefully. His more casual, stooped posture tells us what kind of man he might be instantly. Mazzucchelli has told us what was going on before we got here without showing us much at all. We can sense the General sitting at the desk with his feet up, scrambling when Cap bursts into the room. In the background we have the humble soldier, looking puny and intimidated next to America's Hero.
The setting is also perfectly and efficiently presented. We get just enough to define the space without overwhelming the characters or the story. Take note, young artists, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DRAW EVERY FUCKING THING! I know that won't change anyone's method... that weak artists will always draw everything in every panel to the same level of boring sheen and perfection, but it felt good to say it anyway. Anyway, I love how Mazz uses the ceiling here to make the characters seem bigger than life.
Of course, the drawing here is superb, and the inking is (are we noticing a pattern in what I like from inkers?) wonderful... confiedent and casual. The textures are great (I really dig the folds on the General's uniform), and the spotting of blacks is... uh, spot on. Squint at this panel, and it reads well. The blacks in the foreground grab you, the blacks along with bottom lead you along, and the blacks on the left side of the panel frame Cap, so the primary colors in his costume will be free to pop him out of the center of the composition.
Okay... that's enough of my spouting for today. Enjoy the genius, and come back for more tomorrow!
Captain America and the publishing rights to this page belong to those pesky Marvel folks again. Let's not run out and make our own prints of this image, or do anything else illegal, okay?