By Darryl Ayo
Sometimes people who like comics get embarrassed by comics. One thing that has happened to me is that I have embraced the stupidness in the comic medium. In Andrea Juno’s book of artist interviews, Dangerous Drawings, the multiple-award-winning cartoonist Chris Ware said of comics’ visual vocabulary that “we are trying to communicate complex, deep stories using tools designed to tell jokes.” Or something to that effect.
In the interview, Ware was making a joke but I often think “why not?” Why shouldn’t cartoonists take advantage of the rich heritage of visual signs, gags, puns and tropes available in the comics toolbox? Of course there is always a question of appropriate tone for a given story, but from silly and irreverent comedies to stoic, naturalistic dramas, comics always have available to them an array of tricks that can give an extra significance to an idea.
I’m sorry, there’s a lot of glowing colors on this page, and zapping lights every which-a-way. What I’m looking at is the very comics-specific way that Doug Mahnke used to illustrate the sudden rush of memories that the character Green Lantern experiences on this page. We can see that this page is in the middle of a chaotic scene with multiple characters, but that panel takes the reader, just for a moment, into the fractured mind of the protagonist.
And here’s another example:
I feel a little brave, asking for audience participation, but here it goes: come on in and talk about some of your favorite comics-specific visual effects and what they mean to you. Posts pictures or links to stuff so that we can all join in and discuss!
Art: (c) Makoto Yukimura; (c) DC Comics