Best Sequential Art Ever (This Week): Jamie McKelvie, David Lasky
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).
Some of the work spotlighted here will be from comics that came out just this week and some will be from older comics that we just happen to be reading at the moment. If you want to submit sequential art that you think is great, shoot us an email at comicsalliance-at-gmail-dot-com with “Best Sequential Art” in the subject line. Artists, writers and editors are welcome to submit their own work — we won’t tell.
Most issues of Young Avengers include some sort of awesome and wacky storytelling of the sort that Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie do so well as a team. The best storytelling in this issue of YA is the spread on pages 17-18. This spread stands out because it does something many action spreads in superhero comics fail to do: it leads the reader’s eye across the page easily, leaving absolutely no confusion regarding what panel comes next. This is especially impressive because the curve of the panel borders doesn’t follow what is the easiest path for a spread. The initial shot of the action shows each person’s placement in the scene, allowing the reader to place each character in his or her location throughout the page. The lettering follows the curves of the panel borders beautifully, the coloring is fantastic, the lines are gorgeously clean, and of course everyone looks very, very pretty.
Every inch of this story is familiar to comics readers. Superman is created, he is wildly successful as a character, and his creators die without the rights to the work or an equitable share in the fortune their work brings in. In one six-panel page, David Lasky delivers the necessary emotional gut punches this story requires. The solid blacks add to the mood and weight of the story. The simple layout allows the content of the panels breathe. Even the lettering choices are thoughtful, with typical superhero style captions and balloons for the first four panels that are set within the comics and another balloon and lettering style for a quote from Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel. It is a compelling page, not despite its simplicity but because of it.