For my inaugural entry (in what we can all safely assume will be the penultimate compendium of though-provoking sassafrass from one of the countless millions of self-aggrandizing know-it-alls on the internet), I thought I'd take a second to talk about something important:
Words and PICTURES.
In the hands of the storyteller, words are a wonder-charged spectral carnival of cotton candy to be digested ravenously by the masses starved for new and exciting entertainment. But in the hands of the ARTIST, words are blueprints for narration, interpretation and style.
What does that mean Karl?
That’s an excellent question, I’m tickled pink that you asked. For comics writers (and frankly, for film as well) the words in a script operate as a map to guide the visual execution (in comics’ case, THE ARTIST, dig). Whether that script be plot-style (loosely guided action beats with key bits of dialogue- much like older Marvel comics) or detail-oriented line-by-line transcripts (including EVERY detail in EACH panel, see ANYTHING written by Alan Moore).
Scripts (typically) are open to interpretation by the artist based on how much or how little the writer details, so the finished pages are often a culmination of a few things: comprehension, emphasis, and personal style. Ignoring my yappy-yap, let’s illustrate (pun intended) this with some material that’s pretty universally recognized: this popcorn space movie that people have strong opinions about online.
Still a pretty dope way to open a movie if you ask me.
With the assumption that the various comic book iterations that have seen publication since the 70’s were in some way adapted from the original script by that Lucas guy, let’s take a look at how FOUR VERY DIFFERENT ARTISTS interpret this same exact scene:
Style and design aside, it’s an interesting study of execution. What moments get punctuated/emphasized? What shots take priority to move the story? What camera angles elevate the action and tension? What layout best suits the pacing, while simultaneously LEADING THE EYE? Each have elements that effectively tell the story, but the majority of how WE READ the story is dictated by the artists’ decisions on the page.
Now apply that to your weekly comics intake and reconsider how much impact that artist’s visuals have on your complete reading experience.