Graphic Novel Review: Bobby Brown

An example of Closure from Trees, by Warren Elis and Jason Howard.

The graphic novel that I chose to checkout from the WSU libraries was Trees by Warren Elis and Jason Howard. This graphic novel tells the story of an alien invasion on Earth: a bunch of black alien columns landed on Earth ten years ago and have done nothing except loom silently over cities, and occasionally leak a fluid into the planets biosphere. The story follows a good ten different characters, who are spread all over the world. The majority of the story focuses on protagonist Dr. Joanne Creasy, who is researching at the Artic Circle why the trees are beginning to produce black poppies. The iconography behind Trees is somewhat different than the work of McCloud’s Understanding Comics, as the art is more focused on a “realistic” yet muted art style, rather than colorful and flashy. Jason Howard focuses on the attention to detail with his illustrations, and personally I really appreciated them while I was reading this novel. They do a great job of tying together the text and story into a whole, and considering the nature of Tree’s story, I think the illustrations work perfectly. While there are many different things this novel did well that relate to the topics of Understanding Comic’s, the one I felt it did the best was both the use of closure, and time frames. This example I picked from my novel is a prime example of closure, and I feels it falls best under action-to-action. The idea of the character looking down at his phone to see the news while all of the action is happening across the two pages in the “gutter,” is a very efficient use of the space on the page.

An example of an animated transition in Scott McCloud’s web comic, The Right Number: Part Two.

When it came to reading comics in a digital format rather than on paper, I found it interesting how the authors decided to present their work. With Franklin’s work, she chose to use the amount of screen space available to present her work in different ways. In “Bikram Addict” she uses different colored backgrounds to signify the mood of her comic, and section it out. McCloud’s “The Right Number,” specifically part two, he uses a transition right at the end of the of his comic, where the panel has an animated transition into his eye, signifying his thoughts afterwards are either flashbacks and/or internal thoughts. Franklin also uses animations with a few gifs in “Long Term Relationship.” Overall I enjoyed reading comics online in a digital format, but I think I still prefer reading them in a physical form. Even though there are aspects of digital comics such as animations that cannot be achieved via physical media, I still enjoy being able to flip through pages and take in the story on a full page.

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