Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 347: Echo #20
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 Echo #20, which was published by Abstract Studios and is cover dated March 2010. This scan if from Echo: The Complete Edition, which was published in 2011. Enjoy!
Terry Moore’s Echo is a very cool comic, and it has a lot of neat moments like this. We don’t even need to know anything about that dude and it’s STILL an effective page. Check it out: On the previous page, a plane exploded, knocking Ivy and Julie unconscious. That’s Ivy on the ground, with the flames in the background. Moore moves out slightly in Panel 2, so that we see Julie’s sneaker on the right side of the panel … although note in Panel 3 that she looks further away from Ivy than she would be in Panel 2 if we can see her sneaker. Anyway, the shadow falls across Ivy’s body from the right, so that we’re naturally inclined to move that way, leading us to Panel 3. There we see Hong Liu from the back, and we can tell already that there’s something seriously wrong with him. His neck is very strange, and the tuft of hair on top of his head is not freaky, but it is a bit bizarre. Notice the word balloon – the type looks like it’s from an old dot matrix printer, and the tail is jagged, so we already know something is off about this dude. Moore places him to the left of the panel, so that our eyes wander to Ivy lying on the ground and the wreckage in the background. Then we get the big reveal in Panel 4, as Hong Liu has been through quite a bit. He appears to have a big hole in his head, and his jaw is completely missing. He speaks with a voice box, which is why the lettering is like that, and it’s tying together a bunch of tendons dangling from his head. Moore wisely backlights him from the flames of the wreckage, which makes his appearance more dramatic. In Panel 3, his back is white because the flames are behind him, but in Panel 4, his front is black because there’s no light source, so Moore is able to show the darkness in his soul with a simple trick. That’s why Moore knows how to make comics!
Moore’s a good artist, so this is a nice-looking page. But although the layout is simple, Moore is still able to build quite a bit of tension into the page. We’ve seen previously that Hong Liu has already gone ’round the bend, but this is the first time we’ve seen how much he’s changed (obviously, he didn’t always look like this). So it’s a good “cinematic” reveal, and it certainly makes you want to buy the next issue!
Next: Well, it’s not this dude’s weirdest work, but when everything he does is plenty weird already, that’s not saying much! I can’t believe he hasn’t shown up yet in the archives!