Wednesday, November 14

The therapeutic value of comics

DUE TO A RECENT operation on my knee I haven't been blogging much. I did mention that creativity and energy levels are intertwined. My surgery tends to prove that to be true.

While recovering I indulged myself and purchased several comic book collections. One of my favorites was the Batman collection, volume 1, by Neal Adams. Not only is Adams an amazing draftsman but his sense of staging is highly entertaining. I got a lot of great ideas for the upcoming Subterranean comic. Adams really pushes perspective and camera angles and has a very cinematic approach.  In the upcoming Subterranean you'll see a panel inspired by Adams that is a silhouette in which you only see the glow of The Subterranean's goggles. Adams really expanded comics' visual syntax. I highly recommend studying his work.

Another great volume was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Gary Gianni. It has a subtle steampunk vibe and is rendered in a beautiful woodcut-like technique somewhat akin to Franklin Booth or Bernie Wrightson. Gianni's staging is a bit more conventional, as you might expect, and yet he keeps the pages lively with a strong sense of design. The main thing I learned from Gianni is just simply to go for it and have fun with drawing. Scratchboard technique can be time-consuming but it is also very powerful.

Another inspiration was Paul Chadwick's Concrete, volume 1, entitled Depths. Chadwick has a unique visual style using lots of black to lead the eye through each page. His storytelling style is unique as well and I really enjoyed the rich narrative. You can read most comics in a matter of minutes, generally under an hour. Not so with this volume. Chadwick packs in a lot of storytelling entertainment. I picked up some ideas from Chadwick as well. You will see in the upcoming Subterranean #4 a series of very small panels depicting the seismic oscillators placed around New York City. I got the idea from one of Chadwick's pages that had 30 small pantomime panels. I found the sequence quite intriguing. I highly recommend studying Concrete for it's excellent story telling as well its fascinating fusion of art and the written word.

I was introduced to comics as a young child when my father brought home a large volume of classic comics, mostly Superman and Batman, while I was recovering from the mumps. Having a few volumes of comics on my nightstand while I recovered from surgery was a nostalgic experience for me. My doctor says I'm making a rapid recovery. Perhaps comics have therapeutic value.

Brad Teare 14 November 2012


  1. Brad-

    I didn't even know you had surgery. Get well.


    1. Thanks, Steve. I'm all better now.


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