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. 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 Zot! #12, which was published by Eclipse and is cover dated March 1987. This scan is from Zot! 1987-1991: The Complete Black and White Collection, which was published by HarperCollins in 2008. Enjoy!
Scott McCloud’s Zot! is a brilliant comic, at least from issue #11 onward (I don’t own issues #1-10 – they’re not collected here, and McCloud writes in the introduction that they’re pretty much a different comic completely, so while I may track them down one day, I’m in no hurry), and issue #12 ends with this beautiful page, as Zot, who’s from another dimension, thinks about going back home because his world is so much brighter and more fun than this one. He’s just gone through a traumatic experience, and he wants to leave, and his girlfriend, Jenny, tells him to shove off, basically. On the page before, she tells him that there isn’t anything in this world that he needs, which causes him to reach out to her in Panel 1 and tell her she’s wrong. That leads to a fairly standard grand romantic scene, but McCloud sells it very well. Notice that because Zot is standing in front of the portal to his world, the light from it shines through and illuminates Jenny, while Zot remains dark because he’s backlit. The implication is clear – Zot has experienced darkness, which has changed him, but his love for Jenny will rescue him. It’s obvious, of course, but it works. McCloud actually darkens Zot even more as he draws Jenny closer, and the fade to black is particularly effective – as McCloud zooms in, he doesn’t show us Zot and Jenny kissing, but ends the book on that wonderful moment right before the kiss, when the anticipation is almost unbearable. Notice that Jenny’s eye slowly closes as Zot draws her to him, again showing her anticipation of the kiss. McCloud even adds wind to the page, blowing Zot away from his world and toward Jenny – another nice touch. It’s a gorgeous page, and it’s not surprising that McCloud still has the original art – he resisted offers to buy it and gave it to the woman he married.
Zot! is a superb comic, and this collection is listed at $25 for the best part of it, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t read this sucker. Go on now!
Next: The first comic by a current Marvel superstar! What could it be? You won’t find it in the archives!
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