This page’s pencils were terrible; I’m glad that the final version turned out okay. I blame the books—details look a lot like talent if you don’t think about it. My only regret is I should’ve given Anthem something more exciting to wear; I wanted her plainly dressed here, but you don’t get any sense of what she’s wearing.


Anyway, I’m reading Al Williamson’s Flash Gordon: A Lifelong Vision of the Heroic. I liked Williamson even before I knew what he is, because his line-art appeared in the D6 Star Wars role-playing game, which I played (and played, and played) in high school. His black and white line art is what I picture when I think of Star Wars.

Reading Simonson’s Flash Gordon, it’s interesting to see what he uses and what he doesn’t. Simonson uses regular speech balloons, thought balloons, and captions. Absent are sound FX and most motion lines and impact flashes.

The lack of sound FX is refreshing, especially for something drawn in the early 60s. WPK, of course, doesn’t use thought balloons (because they are apparently a dirty, dirty sin that exposes you as a dirty, dirty hack, like writing a fantasy novel in third person omniscient), nor does it use sound FX. The latter is due 1) to reading a lot of Watchmen (it’s where I get the 3×3 grid) and 2) I never liked Eisner.

Scott McCloud (Understanding Comics) talks about Eisner–he really talks up Eisner, with his blending of words and pictures to produce something that can’t be distilled into one or the other. And while I’ve tried to adapt some of that—that’s why seemingly random words in the text get bolded, to make the words look more like pictures—I have this almost visceral dislike to Eisner’s mix of near-caricature character art and over-eager lettering. Williamson, by contrast, is refreshingly minimalist, with clean lines of action extensively captioned to carry events from one panel to another. It’s a comic storytelling style that doesn’t really exist anymore. Maybe it was too literary, or not literary enough.