Below is the second of four installments on my favorite print-based visual storytelling work, where I provide choice images and cleaned-up notes on why I love these works so much. Read the first installment along with the story of how I did this. I encourage you to consider where you come from creatively by revisiting and reflecting on your favorite and most foundational influences.
Note: The rights of these works belong to the creators and their publishers; blemishes in the image quality of the shots below are meant to acknowledge and respect that. If you want a better look at any of these works, go out and buy them! ;-)
Jon J. Muth (Art) | Marc DeMatteis (Story)
Gesture is exciting and well observed from real-life models (though I think Calvin & Hobbes’ use is stronger overall). There’s a wonderful softness and impressionism in the characters and forms through use of water-based media. Faces and forms almost emerge “accidentally”; it’s clear that they’re ultimately “just” well-executed marks and shapes, but they invite the reader to believe they’re alive.
The figures are beautiful—the protagonist in particular, as he’s depicted as a sensitive male who naturally embodies “feminine” qualities himself.
Ira deserves special mention: a lewd, ill-tempered man-sized muppet with super strength and no discernable face, and yet he’s somehow consistently a draw of attention and just buckets of fun to look at.
The story is something special as well. The focus is on a sensitive lost boy who makes an otherworldly, dreamlike journey while in search of friends and family. Through these experiences he grows up in light of difficult trials. It’s a tale of both beauty and horror told with great intelligence.
Stay tuned for the next post in my Influences series.
All images referenced in this post are from The Compleat Moonshadow (1998) from DC Comics.