Friday, 4 September 2015

Breaking Down Batgril #43

Or a look at the little details in Batgril #43 
by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr, Juan Castro, Michel Lacombe, Serge Lapointe, Steve Wands; DC Comics

I think if there is one central thesis to this website it's that details matter in comics. Everything you see on the page is made of creative choices, from the layout to the font choice, which combine to create the final narrative experience. Every aspect of the book contributes to how the story is portrayed, which means that even the smallest seeming choice is helping make things work. Like hobbits. And like hobbits, sometimes these small, almost trivial looking choices, end up making a substantial difference to how the final comic reads or feels. And sometimes these choices can be really interesting.

Specifically, I want to look at how margin space and colour palettes combine to create a really distinct separation between caped and civilian story sections.

There will be *SPOILERS* for Batgril #43 below.

Batgril #43 has two very distinct style of pages. One style of pages depicts Bab's civilian life and the subplots of Alysia's impending wedding and Barbara's work life. These pages have a generally light colour palette, using mostly warm and bright pastel colours to give everything a bright daytime feeling. This is enhanced by the standard, white gutter space which brightens the pages further. In contrast the superheroics of the issue, the parts of the comic that depict the batgirl and mysterious villain sections of the story, have a darker palette using cooler blues and greys and greens to give this part of the comic a more nocturnal feeling. What I love about this, is the gutters on these pages are all black, which significantly darkens the page and really ramps up the emotion sense of night. It's a great touch.

What this does is create a stark, almost binary separation between the civilian and superheroic portions of the issue. Which in turn helps distinguish the different feelings of the different sections of the story. It also really sells the conflict that exists between Bab's private and cape life, since the issue itself looks divided against itself. It's a really small choice using comic space which is often taken for granted, but it has a tangible effect on story experience and really improves the comic.

Which brings me back to the thesis: details really matter.

Batgirl #35: the tech issue
Batgril #36: in motion 

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