Friday, December 12, 2008

Art in graphic novels

In this class, we've studied pieces with vastly different art styles ranging from Maus's more symbolic, sketchy drawings to Ghost World's more realistic ones.

Personally, my favorite is Epileptic's. I admire how David B. creates so much symbolism in his art. For example, for depicting epilepsy, he uses a snake/dragon-like monster that penetrates his brother's body. It really shows how strongly he feels about epilepsy and the state of his brother's disease, and the best thing is that he doesn't mention the correlation between the monster and epilepsy in his text. He leaves it up to us to deduce that metaphoric relationship. Furthermore, when someone is angry or frustrated, he doesn't elaborate on it in the text. He uses art: often, the lines on the character's face become more bold, sketchy and angular. The words and art compliment each other, each one contributing to the story.

In other graphic novels, like Fun Home, the text dominates and the art just doesn't seem to add much to the story. In Ghost World and Watchmen, I feel that it's the color scheme that contributes to the story by creating a mood, not the actual drawings themselves. Or maybe I'm being to critical and unobservant? What do you all think?

1 comment:

Dana said...

I loved the artistic style of Epileptic too. It was almost my favorite, until we read Jimmy Corrigan. Ware’s sense of color is amazing, for one thing, but what caught my attention the most was the comics-specific stuff- the moment-to-moment transitions, the tiny panels, and the intricate diagrams seemed really new and interesting to me.

I’m with you on Fun Home: it felt more like an illustrated story than a graphic novel. I thought that Watchmen communicated a lot through images, though. The accumulated details like the smiley face badge made the story feel more cohesive, and a lot of information was half-hidden in the pictures: the newspaper headlines, advertisements, and graffiti, for example.
I thought that the characters’ body language in Watchmen added a lot to the story as well, especially in the panels that showed large groups. I don’t have the book anymore, so I can’t point out anything specific, but I remember having the feeling that something was going on between Sally Jupiter and the Comedian before the text acknowledged it.