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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Ming Doyle, and the story is “The Spinster” from Womanthology: Heroic, which was published by IDW and is cover dated December 2011. Enjoy!
Womanthology is a pretty cool giant hardcover featuring all-female stories (including one written by our very own Kelly Thompson) along with a lot of neat extras. Doyle and colorist Jordie Bellaire, who has become the only colorist working on Doyle’s work these days, collaborated (along with letterer Rachel Deering) on this story, which is only two pages long but which shows some nice development in Doyle’s art. Here are the two pages:
Doyle’s layout on the first page is very nice. She overlays the big first panel with smaller, circular panels that lead us down and to the left, so that we take in the big panel, with the Spinster swooping down on the gun-toting punks, but are diverted back up to the circles by the pistol that points up and to the right. Doyle links that gun with the first small circle, in which Maude kicks the gun away before socking a dude in the jaw, and then the circle in the center of the page links the two larger panels, leading us down to the tied-up punks, the bags of money, and the Spinster swinging away. In a two-page story, the use of space is critical, and Doyle does a nice job with it. The second page is a bit more traditionally laid out, but that’s fine – Doyle doesn’t need to cram as much visual information into it, so she can relax just a bit.
I wrote that Doyle had some issues with action in yesterday’s post, and here we can see she’s made some strides. The pose of the Spinster as she swings down is a bit more lithe than what we saw yesterday, even though it’s still a static pose. The second circular panel, with Maude belting the bad guy in the jaw, is far better than what we saw yesterday when Kurt punched the MC. Doyle draws it from a slightly different angle, but she still shows the fist connecting with the jaw much more realistically, and the bad guy’s face looks like it’s been punched, as opposed to the lack of impact Kurt’s fist had. Doyle distorts his face very nicely, creating a good feeling of pain. Part of drawing good action is making sure the violence has impact, and making the characters look like they’re feeling something. Doyle has started to figure that out here, which is pretty keen.
The second page is more sedate, of course, but Doyle does nice work with it. Once again we see her attention to detail with regard to fashion – Evelyn looks very much like a socialite from the 1930s/1940s. Doyle makes Maude a slightly older woman – it’s always hard to discern the ages of people in old photographs and movies, because people dressed more “maturely” back in those days, but Maude doesn’t look like an ingenue, which is keeping in line with the name of the story. Obviously, a slightly older woman would be less impressed with going to the social club, and just by looking at Maude, we can get an idea of someone who has moved past that kind of life. Doyle gives her a nice look of embarrassment and scorn in Panel 3, as if she’s trying to pretend that she wishes she liked the nightlife more but can’t be bothered to hide her disdain for it too much.
Doyle seems to be getting more comfortable with fewer inking lines, too, which is always smart. She still inks fairly heavily, but if we compare this with the work she did on Girl Comics, it appears she’s being more judicious with the thick black lines, which adds some impact to the ones that remain. Will this continue over the next few days? Well, we’ll just have to see, won’t we?
Tomorrow we’ll check out the first really big project that Doyle tackled. If you don’t get lost in the archives, I encourage you to come back and see what it is!
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