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Every day this month, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Jon Sable, Freelance #9, which was published by First Comics (although this scan is from the Omnibus edition published by IDW) and is cover dated February 1984. Enjoy!
Mike Grell writes and draws this, because he can! Janice Cohen colored it and Pete Iro lettered it. Let’s check it out!
Grell doesn’t quite go nuts with page layouts as he often does, but he does have some fun with it. The page goes from the top left, slanting downward slightly to the right, then zig-zagging back to the left. It’s a natural movement for the eye to make, but Grell does goose us a little bit. Then, of course, we go straight down and then right. In case that’s not enough, look at Sonny’s arm as he massages Trina’s shoulders. The arm flows right to Trina’s eyes, which look downward to her word balloon, and then of course to the panel below it. It’s a nifty little trick.
We get a decent amount of information, too. Jon Sable is trying to clear Trina of a crime (safecracking), and Sonny forwarded a package to him, but it’s been a while since they’ve heard anything. Sonny knows that Jon is a smart dude, and if anyone can help her, it’s him. Not a bad bunch of things to know if you’re coming to this issue cold.
As this is relatively early in Grell’s career (about a decade into it, but still), he doesn’t experiment too much with the style, but the impressionistic trees outside Jon’s apartment building and the way Sonny appears in the final panel (which is, of course, as much due to Cohen as it is Grell) show that he’s trying some stuff that leads into more interesting artwork even later in this series. Throughout the early part of this series, you can see Grell working through some stuff, and this is just a small example.
I’m not sure if this is the most exciting first page in the universe (the second page is much more exciting), but Grell does set us up nicely for the rest of the issue. That’s not a bad thing!
Next: Alan Moore takes the stage!
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