Best Sequential Art Ever (This Week): Anne Simon, Jesus Saiz
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).
Obviously any page that involves a giant banner that says "Freud Hates Women!" is going to catch my eye. Add in some naked women cavorting around a giant phallus and you've really got my attention. But that's not why this page is a great piece of storytelling. Every even panel is set in reality while every odd panel is a glimpse into Freud's mind. It's artfully and subtly done but nonetheless it's a great use of Freud's inner thoughts to show the ridiculousness of how he perceives the world. The final panel is particularly great, as once the women have become psychoanalysts they're no longer cavorting naked and are now clothed and seated in chairs while a smug Freud beams at them. It's a perfectly set up panel that, without words, expresses Freud's shift in opinions and how pleased he is with himself.
Jesus Saiz is so incredibly talented and this page is a perfect example of how well he can tell a story in a fairly unique way. The panels at the top of the page are all set over the same background which is also part of the larger full-page panel. It's very clear how the story progresses thanks to the storytelling from panel to panel. Even when the long panel in the middle nearly touches the final panel of the page, it's still entirely clear that the eye isn't supposed to go there yet. Matthew Wilson's excellent colors also deserve a share of the credit, as the red panel borders really pop against the browns, greys, and greens of the page. And despite the constant earth tones of this book, it never looks muddy or blends together.