Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 338: Jenny Finn #2
Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. As it’s now December, I will be examining the LAST pages of random comics, so watch out for SPOILERS! Today’s page is from Jenny Finn #2, which was published by Oni Press and is cover dated September 1999. This scan is from Jenny Finn: Doom Messiah, the trade paperback published by Boom! Studios in 2008. Enjoy!
Mike Mignola’s Jenny Finn is an odd, Lovecraftian, Victorian, steampunk horror story, and it’s pretty keen. Unfortunately, while both artists working on it – Troy Nixey and Farel Dalrymple – are quite good, the shift in style from Nixey’s work on the first three chapters and Dalrymple’s on the fourth is kind of weird. I guess that’s what happens when a comic takes six years to come out, though. This page is drawn by Nixey, however, and that’s what we’re here for!
In Panel 1, the dude – Joe – is backing away from something around the corner. We know it’s Jenny Finn herself, and something strange happened to her on the previous page. So Joe is freaking out a bit, and Nixey shows us just his reaction, which is effective because on the previous page, we just caught a glimpse of what was going on, and this helps create an atmosphere where our imaginations do most of the work. As Joe is facing right, we’re oriented that way, leading us to Panel 2. Joe comes into the foreground, and Mignola lets us know that Joe is unsure about what he’s seen, while Nixey continues to lead us to the right. Joe is running to the left, but his gaze is backward over his left shoulder, so our eyes naturally move that way. In Panel 3, we’re still angled to the right – Joe ends up standing outside a dead-end alley, and his gaze leads us right and back so we can take in the entire scene. If we don’t notice the water at his feet, we notice it in Panel 4, as tentacles begin to rise from it. Nixey shadows Joe’s face and the buildings on either side of the puddle to highlight the tentacles and also to create a mood of blackness and terror. Tentacles are pretty darned creepy in their own right, and Nixey helps us along with the way the panel is shaded. In Panel 5, he zooms in on Joe’s face, showing his stark terror as he realizes that things are certainly not right in his world. Even with the close-up, Nixey still manages to move our eyes across the panel – Joe’s left eye is slightly lighter and off-center, moving us to the right, and his face is slightly pushed to the right as well. For Panel 6, Nixey goes with a standard horror cliché – we get the close-up of the victim, and then something happens that we don’t see, because the shot is from further out and simply shows the buildings around whatever event is occurring. Nixey or letterer Pat Brosseau adds the “Doooooom …” sound effect, so we know something horrible has probably happened to Joe, but again, it’s better for us to imagine it. And then, of course, the issue ends, so we don’t find out what happened to Joe, and if you read the single issues, you had to wait six years to find out. That had to suck.
This is a nice little horror book, and it’s certainly worth a look. Mignola knows how to write these things, of course, and Nixey does a fine job with the artwork. This is a nifty way to end an issue, if nothing else!
Next: A recently-cancelled series that I enjoyed quite a bit. But will the final page of on of its issues work for me? You’ll have to find out tomorrow! Meanwhile, please indulge in the archives!