Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Daredevil (volume 2) #13, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated October 2000. Enjoy!
I’ll tell you what – I’m kind of in love with this splash page. This is after Marvel rebooted Daredevil with the Kevin Smith story, and then the book went through a bunch of writers before Bendis took it over. This issue is written by David Mack, inked by Mark Morales (he gets an “introducing” tag on the next page), colored by Richard Isanove (before he disappeared down the “Dark Tower Rabbit Hole”), and lettered by Richard Starkings, and it’s drawn by someone named Joe Quesada, which sounds like a made-up name, if you ask me. “Quesada” does a nice job with this page, though – I wonder whatever happened to him.
Several elements make this a successful splash page. It’s part of the story – DD has been fighting David Mack’s Echo character in the previous issue, and she got the drop on him. So the center square shows her holding a gun at DD’s head. Quesada angles the drawing from the upper left to the lower right, leading us straight from the barrel of the gun down through DD’s face. This is the only unfortunate part of the page – DD looks constipated, which I doubt is what Quesada was going for. Frankly, Quesada comes from the “X-Treeeeeem” tradition of the Nineties, where a lot of angry faces looked constipated, so he’s not the only one who does this. Starkings and his minions place the word balloons off to the right, which is odd when we turn the page because the onlookers aren’t actually standing there, but it’s a good choice because if they were anyplace else, they’d interrupt the flow of the drawing. Mack implies that the onlookers aren’t exactly taking this seriously, and that’s because they think Echo and DD are actors. The dialogue contrasts nicely with the gun and DD’s “serious” face.
I don’t know if Mack laid out this page, but the border is wonderful. The name of the story arc, “Part of a Hole,” isn’t terribly prominent, but the way Mack and Quesada get us up to speed on DD’s predicament is nicely done. Any time you can’t read a comic in the “traditional” way, I’m immediately intrigued, and while this isn’t that crazy, it’s still a more interesting way to tell us about Daredevil’s powers than most. For someone who drew a lot of “serious” comics, Quesada has a very good cartoony style, which we see in the border. I’m not sure if Quesada drew the name of the issue and Isanove colored it like crayons or if one or the other did the entire thing, but it’s very cool. Morales and Isanove drench Matt’s face a bit too much in black, which doesn’t help the “Must Poop Face!” that Matt is sporting, but the border makes up for it.
I can’t imagine this page would drive readers away. It gives us information about the hero, it features an intriguing image at the center, and it’s designed very well. Maybe it would make people read it while enjoying a bran muffin, but they would still enjoy it!
Next: It’s June, and that means another theme month! I’ll get into it tomorrow, but I think you’ll enjoy it! Seek out the comfort of the archives if you’re scared of the bold new world of June!
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