No Day

September 28th, 2012 | daybook

It’s turned into One Of Those Days, if not One Of Those Weeks, so we’re skipping today.  Back Monday full force, as I continue to add more posts per day, and probably a SPEKTRMODULE on Friday.  Have a good weekend.

Infographics in Hickman’s PAX ROMANA

September 27th, 2012 | comics talk


As I mentioned previously, Jonathan Hickman, who was an actual graphic designer before he got into comics, has done the lion’s share of the most striking recent use of infographics in comics. Check out his first series, THE NIGHTLY NEWS.  This, which I think was his second or third book, dials their use back – but it’s worth looking at how he uses them here, folding them more sparingly, but more effectively into the service of narrative.

There’s a real fusion starting to happen here.  He could have done this with Google Maps screenshots and some clipart, but the connective marks are clearly from infographics.

I don’t think I have a lot to say about this, as such: it’s more about looking at how he does this, how he creates graphical associations.  It’s easier when you clip out things and place them together.

In this single image, an army is being sent back in time.  The story to this point, and the narrative panels on either side of it, contextualise it so that he can do this work in a single panel.

(There’s probably a whole other conversation to be had about Hickman’s use of colour, too.)

And then, there are the maps.


I love books with maps.  One of my favourite things about CRECY was getting to put maps in it.

This map gets repeated later in the book, changed, but that’s a spoiler.  I mention this only because I want to get across that this is a narrative element.  It repeats, with changes, in service of the story.

And then there’s this:

(much larger)

Note how the art element, the jagged stream, associates with the time-travel panel above.

I clumsily whited out a balloon here because it felt like spoiler.  But, again, see: narrative element.

Everything connects, everything reflects something else, and the book develops its own smooth language.  He doesn’t use these elements to jar.  Except when, in my favourite bit of infographic fun in the book, he does.  This still makes me smile.  And, yes, it’s a mild spoiler, but fuck it, it’s glorious:

It’s a single panel, less obviously impressive than many of the pieces above, but this is the audacious bit: it’s beautifully presented, utterly playful superfluous information that yet somehow enriches the panel.  This is the audacious bit, that harks back to Chaykin and Bruzenak, or Talbot in ARKWRIGHT: there is no need for it to be there, but it’s pretty and it adds something artistic and it makes me smile.  There’s a little bit of baroque nuttiness in Hickman’s otherwise clean-lined designer’s mind that I greatly enjoy.


September 26th, 2012 | people I know

Kevin Margo, as he notes, comes from my friends Blur Studio.

One astronaut’s journey through space and life ends on a hostile exosolar planet. Grounded is a metaphorical account of the experience, inviting unique interpretation and reflection by the viewer. Themes of aging, inheritance, paternal approval, cyclic trajectories, and behaviors passed on through generations are explored against an ethereal backdrop.

Grounded VFX Breakdowns from Kevin Margo on Vimeo.

Today’s Probably Going To Be A Wash

September 26th, 2012 | daybook

So here’s a picture of Julian Bleecker poking an Enigma machine.

Back later, after I’ve given all my money to the taxpeople.

My Tumblr

September 25th, 2012 | daybook

I think not all of my readers are aware that I have a Tumblr too.  I use it as a visual notebook.  If you’re on my Facebook page, you get most of this automagically thrown into your timeline anyway (at least, I hope that hasn’t broken for everybody there).

In some respects, Tumblr’s been turning into the new LiveJournal over the last year or two: there seems to be a lot more drama and crazy than there used to be.  But it remains a marvellous service.  It’s been weird to see it grow up as a spinoff from the original tumblelogs, and for a while there I wasn’t sure it’d stick around.  Glad it did.

Anyway, it amused me to spend two minutes sticking together a mosaic of some of the stuff I’ve found and pasted into the notebook recently.