Best Sequential Art Ever (This Week): Dustin Nguyen, Glyn Dillon
The comic book, animation, illustration, pinup, mashup, fan art and design communities are generating amazing artwork of myriad styles and tastes, all of which ends up on the Internet and filtered into ComicsAlliance’s Best Art Ever (This Week). These images convey senses of mood and character — not to mention artistic skill — but comic books are specifically a medium of sequential narratives, and great sequential art has to be both beautiful (totally subjective!) and clear in its storytelling (not so subjective!). The words and the pictures need to work together to tell the story and create whatever tone, emotion and indeed world the story requires. The contributions of every person on a creative team, from the writer to the artist(s) to the letterers, are necessary to achieving a great page of sequential storytelling.
It is the special nature of comic books that we’re celebrating in this all-new recurring feature: Best Sequential Art Ever (This Week).
Batman Black and White #4 [pages 20-21]
Story and Art: Dustin Nguyen
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Dustin Nguyen excels at a lot of things, but this spread hit me as a bit of a surprise. There is a break-neck speed to the events shown that isn’t what I would’ve counted as one of Nguyen’s strongest points. There is a LOT going on here — there are 18 different panels on the page, which is a lot for a double page spread of this sort. Still, the action flies by in a second. The eye moves easily to where it needs to go, the action is clear, and the slanted panel borders add to the feeling of speed. And ultimately, this spread does something even cooler — with minimal copy and only 2 pages, it shows exactly what Batman’s all about.
Nao of Brown [page 84]
Story and Art: Glyn Dillon
All of Nao of Brown features amazing storytelling, but this page is indicative of what makes the book so great. This is a true collaboration between words and images — the story is only half told with one or the other. The awkwardness of the characters sitting together is clear in their body language and especially in their facial expressions but you don’t know why unless you read the balloons. Dillon draws the best, most clear, most realistic facial expressions I’ve ever seen. He is also very skilled in drawing the little details that make up real life, from the two bar stools that are slightly out of order on this page to work and household clutter on other pages. The storytelling is clear throughout, with an easy flow of balloons to the framing of the characters.