Monday, May 26, 2008

Batman SNOW 192 page 16

I don't have a black and white image of this page, though it is one of the pages in the library exhibit. So I am posting the color page. When this comic book first came out, this was the one page that all the critics mentioned. (No, critique is not limited to "serious" books.) Some people thought the smoke coming from the ears of the police detective was wonderfully expressive, and some thought it was too far from the sort of artwork they expected of a Batman comic. Drawing a cultural icon like Batman comes with its own set of difficulties, as we know. Seth was given more leeway than some artists because this series was a flashback to the beginning of Batman’s career, not part of an ongoing story.
The smoke coming from the detective’s ears is something that readers of manga (Japanese comic books) would be familiar with. That sort of physical expression of an emotional state is common in manga, as are the carefully detailed and realistic backgrounds that Seth also liked to draw.
The bottom panel tells nothing about what is happening in the story, but it is a beautiful abstract design. Seth has made Batman’s cape look like wings (though clearly still a cape), so he is like a bat, flying alongside a real bat, just so we won’t miss the comparison. (The cape was one of the few areas where Seth felt that he could make his Batman different from others. His cape seems to be made of yards and yards of lightweight material, not a narrow felt cape like the one Superman wears.) We see Batman and the building from below and tilted, giving him the look of being off balance and flying, though his pose shows him in complete control. Batman's swan dive pose is like the one on the cover of the first of this series, as well as the one that was chosen for the trade paperback SNOW.

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