Pulphope (2007), page 32. Paul Pope.
In my previous weekly nuts 'n' bolts of comics art column, I skipped installment #13 just to be on the safe side. But my Robot 6 column knows no superstition. This week I went over a beautiful Paul Pope page. It's not necessarily "abstract comics" -- you can tell that there's figurative action going on easily enough -- but it works against many of the same problems that abstract comics do. Pope's attempt here is making line move rather than lie still on the page, to create movement outside the limits of the typical Kirbyist "dynamism". He's a useful artist to examine those ideas with, given that he has such a fluid, calligraphic line. I said this in a podcast once, but I haven't put it in print: one of my favorite things about Pope's work is how you can look at it as figurative drawing, but there's enough going on in his linework to kind of zone out in it and let your eye take his backgrounds or cityscapes in as successful abstract art. On this page he actually goes abstract, or at least literalist: the lines are lines, and the comic is left to get by on their strength alone. It's a fascinating bit of comics art, and I wrote what I think is a pretty solid writeup of it. Go read! Starts like this:
Creating the illusion of movement is one of the main goals of comics art. It’s what sequence is there for. That said, it’s not the hardest thing to do when the movement in question is that of human figures or familiar machines. Dynamic posing and composition work quite nicely much of the time, even when it isn’t quite certain where the movement is being directed, or how. Comics have a library of stock gestures and shot transitions for artists to pull from in order to sell their action. Creating a sense of real life on the page is one thing, but to simply put some jump in the pictures, two words — “copy Kirby” — are often all that’s needed. However, that’s only true as long as the artist is dealing with easily recognizable forms. Read more