Friday, 2 October 2015

Deep Sequencing: Red Runnin' Rebs

Or a look at the use of red in Southern Bastards Vol. 2
by Jason Aaron, Jason Latour and Jared K Fletcher; Image Comics

Southern Bastards Vol. 2 is a brutal comic that tells the backstory of Coach Euless Boss: the high school football coach who runs Craw County with an iron fist. The comic fleshes out the man showing a glimpse of the determination, poverty, and pain that drove him to become the impressive, perhaps even monstrous, force of Southern Bastards. It's a really compelling story. 

It's also comic that does some really effective things with the colour red.

There will be *SPOILERS* for Southern Bastards Vol. 2 below.

On the most basic level the colour red is used to distinguish things happening in the present day from the memories of Euless Boss. Present day events are depicted in the muted, slightly desaturated tones that capture the stark, vaguely rustic feel of Southern Bastards. The memory sequences are done in a muted red-sepia that is distinct from the main part of the comic. This choice maintains a common aesthetic across the comic, but also keeps everything neat and tidy from a reader's perspective.

The thing about the colour red though, is that it's a pretty emotionally charged colour. It isn't just red. It's red! The colour of blood, pain, passion, and anger! Which imparts the memory sequences in Southern Bastards with a certain violent emotional palette. An angry emotional pitch that throttles up and down with the intensity of the red in the story: a muted palette in the quiet moments and a brilliant scarlet in the most painful, most striking, perhaps the most defining moments of Boss' story. It's an involving choice that, I think, really imparts the core of anger that forged Boss.

The other thing about the colour red is that it's the team colour of the Runnin' Rebs. This does a whole bunch of pretty nuanced things. For one thing it ties the Euless Boss memories thematically to the football team which is at the heart of his story. Boss' history is indelibly stained in the colour of his team. This choice is also interesting in how Boss continues to clothe himself in Runnin' Reb red: it's like he is clothed in his backstory. Which to me translates to Boss proudly displaying the adversity he's overcome and a sense that Euless Boss is still marked, still traumatized and controlled by his painful past. This is using colour to really develop character, which is properly cool comics.

Deep Sequencing: Southern Bastard Faces

Southern Bastards Vol. 1
Southern Bastards Vol. 2

No comments:

Post a Comment