Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday- I'm Back, and I Brought Frank Robbins with Me!

Again, sorry about the long lapse in posting. I'll try to get back to sharing some art a couple of times a week. As an apology, today I bring you something special- an entire, glorious Johnny Hazard daily by the immortal Frank Robbins.

Before I begin ranting and raving about Robbins' work, please click the image, so you can see this thing at full size. You really should see this thing that way to appreciate what I want to discuss.

Since I haven't posted in awhile, I'll repeat the main theme of this blog; great comic art happens when the artist tells his story well and efficiently. I do not believe that comic art is about making the prettiest lines, or even the loveliest drawings. The best comic art isn't always pretty, but it is always effective. Frank Robbins is a perfect example.

This wonderful daily comes from the '60s, which is a little past Robbins' prime, in my opinion. Still, it is masterful. Everything here helps tell the story. The drawing is simple and evocative, the writing is sharp, and the flow of the strip is smooth as silk.

I could go on all day about little things that make this strip effective, but I really want to focus on one element. If you look closely at the first panel, you can see a brighter white behind the background figure. That brighter white is whiteout, applied by Robbins to get rid of a background he had drawn in that space. That's what I'm talking about!

Robbins spent some time drawing a cool background and then, once the strip was done, he wiped it out. Why? Because it reads better this way! Often, a background would help pop a figure forward in the reader's eye. In this case, though, when the figure is a bold, almost entirely black shape, nothing makes that figure pop more effectively than the empty, white space.

No one asked me, and they're not likely to. In my opinion, though, every young comic artist in America today should be studying Frank Robbins, and learning how to simplify their work to make it more readable. We need less careful, precious drawing in comics, less photo-tracing and less detail. We need some Frank Freaking Robbins!

That's enough outta me! See you back here soon.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday... Gearing Back Up!

Just wanted to drop in and say that I'll be back at the whole blogging thing this week. A month has passed since my last entry. You can chalk that up to the holidays, deadlines, and just enjoying being away from the computer a little more.

But, I have some interesting stuff to share, so I'll be dropping in twice or so a week again.

In the meantime, here's something I discovered today, thanks to Andrew Sullivan. I don't much dig Ellen, but this Gladys is a find!