Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nick Spencer, comicdom's answer to Ingmar Bergman, part 2

Back by popular demand...

From Iron Man 2.0#3 (2011), page 2, art by Carmine Di Giandomenico:

Iron Man 2.0! The cutting edge in comics about old men sitting in desks -- and getting up from them!

Here we see some cinematic technique, but not comics storytelling. Please read Miguel's post on comics storytelling for some cogent thoughts on these trends.

Obviously, this page is taken out of context; in context, this is the 2nd of 5 pages rendered without captions, dialogue or sound effects. War Machine has just been caught in a nuclear explosion and the general (above) is reacting to the news (the following two pages show different characters reacting). Since the pills he takes have no apparent purpose here (or in future issues), this could have been easily summarized in just one panel, rather than a full page. Also, note how three panels depict the General's computer screen, but nothing is really visible on the monitor. In this age of hot-to-trot Photoshop effects, surely this was a missed opportunity to convey something to the reader, such as exposition? (ie, a newsfeed crawl along the bottom of the screen declaring "War Machine hit by nuclear blast -- Emergency crews respond")

4 comments:

Colin Smith said...

I'm constantly being told that NS is a brilliant writer, but experience constantly brings me the impression of a bloke who neither respects his readers enough to offer them a dense reading experience OR one which even makes very much sense.

To manage to say so very little and to yet do so obscurely is some kind of skill, but only in Bizarro World. And I'll save you a rant about the blatant cheesecakery of Morning Glories.

I wonder how long it takes to write the type of script that went along with, for example, T.h.u.n.d.e.r Agents # 9?

I'm sure he's a lovely bloke. But the Emperor's new clothes ...

Miguel Rosa said...

Michael, thanks for the promotion.

I'm glad you remembered my request to post more pages by Nick Spencer. This really is problematic: it's basically one page with almost no information. And you say this goes on for five pages?

I don't even have a problem with silent pages, if they're done well, if the backgrounds contain information, if the facial expressions show anything of importance. I understand silence can be just as effective as talking heads. But I think this is extreme.

Miguel Rosa said...

"I'm constantly being told that NS is a brilliant writer, but experience constantly brings me the impression of a bloke who neither respects his readers enough to offer them a dense reading experience OR one which even makes very much sense."

Hi, Colin.

I'm now feeling bad because it was me who asked Michael to post more pages. And I don't want to start demonizing him yet, but what I see isn't encouraging. I've been curious about Morning Glories, though: many are raving about that series.

"And I'll save you a rant about the blatant cheesecakery of Morning Glories."

Well, when it comes to cheesecake, always remember the great Greg Land: sometimes writers are just powerless to stop their artists' impulses to swipe Hustler centerfolds :-)

Michael Hoskin said...

As Miguel says, we shouldn't stoop to demonizing Spencer; my fear is he's only been in comic books for about 2 years, yet he's being courted as though he were already a top drawer talent - some months he's had 6 books on the stands! Apparently he's learned to save time scripting by leaving pages blank...