The Cipher 05/11/11: The Adventures of Bomb Freak and Gun Nut

May 11th, 2011 Posted by david brothers


Buy these digital comics! Read this digital news! Do as I say!

Khari Evans’s work on Carbon Grey is pretty neat

Here is the only list you need to read of the top 25 comics movies, imoo (in my objective opinion).


-Been thinking a lot about what comics can’t do lately. There are some things that require something more than comics can give–silence, for example.

-Silence is the absence of sound. It’s tough to portray silence in comics. It’s not the same as wordlessness, not really. If you’ve ever seen a scene in a movie where the music drops out and every word hits like a hammer to the skull–that’s so powerful thanks to silence. It dials your attention down to a single point. It turns “It tastes like you but sweeter!” from a mean diss into a gunshot.

-Car chases, too. You can do them in comics, sure, but I don’t think you can top what you’d see in Bullitt or Dirty Harry. Car chases need motion, the blur of scenery, and jockeying for position. They need squeals. It never feels right in comics. Kenichi Sonoda’s Gunsmith Cats had some good car chase bits, but the most memorable one took place on an empty highway.

-Foot chases in comics, though? Those are great. Frank Miller on Daredevil, for example. Comics made rooftops magical. I got mad when I grew up and found out how hard it was to get to the roof of buildings.

-Slow walks toward the camera always look corny in comics, too. You can do the slow stroll, but you can’t do it head-on.

-What am I forgetting? Have there been good chases in comics?

-Speaking of Gunsmith Cats, here’s a bit I like from the first volume, which involves something like a car chase:

-One thing Sonoda seems to understand is how limited comics are when it comes to car chases. He always adds some sauce, whether it’s a three-way race, gun battles, or civilians getting in the way. In a later volume, Rally and Bean are faced with the choice of pasting a dude on the highway or wrecking. Instead, they share a glance, jerk their wheels toward each other, and lock their tires, causing their cars to set up on two wheels each in an arc over the dude.

-This bit, though, is really good, underage panties aside. This is how you put a proper chase scene in comics. Sonoda binged on making the cars real and showing progressive damage. The big impact panel features the side mirror on the Lotus breaking off and flying across their windshield. The Mercedes grille is flawless.

-Slipping the girl through the car’s doors is clever, too. It’s the sort of thing Spider-Man should be doing all the time. I’ve seen a couple similar things in movies, like this bit from the otherwise aight Red:

-You have a limitation: motion is limited in comics and sound is portrayed differently. Your goal: how do you surpass the limitations?

-Comics/cartoons crossover: I’ve been watching old episodes of Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball. I’ve only seen a little of the show, though I own the whole manga. I’d forgotten how Dr. Slump-y it got. Poop jokes, dick jokes, boob jokes… it’s got everything I love. I knew there was a reason I liked it more than DBZ.

-Anyway, the cartoon does something I thought was interesting. Whenever something explodes, the cloud of dust has a “BOM!” sound effect over it. There are a couple others that are used, some in Japanese, some in English, but it’s so interesting to see comics transplanted directly to film like that.

-It makes the show feel very kiddy, if I can say that without having to get all “pow! zoom!” It’s the font they use and the way it appears. It’s very fun, very friendly.

-Another bit from GSC that I liked, though not for any formal reasons.

-I like how much attention Sonoda pays to Rally loading the gun in that first tier of panels. It’s quietly menacing. 2.1 is great, too, with those speed lines Sonoda just throws onto Rally’s arms. The pose and the motion are all good. You can instantly recognize what she just did, and he flips it again for 3.3.

-I really, really enjoy seeing how comics artists solve things like this. How do you show someone spinning a cylinder? Show the thumb and then a blur? Focus on the cylinder? Cheat and draw it all static? Afterimages?

-That lettering is pretty good, too.

This behind the scenes post on Dark Horse’s branding is good.

-This pic is insanely good. I found it on a tumblr that is wild nsfw, but has some really great pictures, including what I thought was a really classy ’70s nude girl but turned out to be from the ’90s. It came from FreshJive.

-Smoking is one of my favorite things in media. It looks unbelievably cool, and in the hands of a proper actor and director, can really enhance a scene. Ladies with cigarette holders breathing clouds into the air while dismissing would-be suitors, thugs lurking in alleys with just the tip of their noses lit by the cigarette, or dudes in an apartment, making murder plans in clouds of smoke… yeah, I love all that.

-Smoking is great for pacing a conversation, too, and it works just as well, if not better, in comics.

-I got like four or five new albums yesterday, but those’ll have to wait. I haven’t had a chance to dig into them just yet, beyond Tyler, the Creator’s Goblin. Expect a big music post, maybe? I like buying music, so probably, yes.

-Oh yeah, I mentioned a Frank Miller piece I couldn’t find last week. Quote:

-There’s this piece Miller did of Miho for some magazine or another. It’s in The Art of Sin City, at any rate. It’s sparse, hardly any details but Miho’s face and pubic hair. It sounds perverted, but it really doesn’t come off like that way. It’s sexy, but not like… gross.

-Turns out I had it sitting on my computer the entire time in my big folder full of Frank Miller Stuff. Click here to see it, but keep in mind that it’s probably nsfw, depending on how your job feels about negative space boobs. It’s from Tripwire apparently. No idea which issue.


David: hates comics this week
Esther: Mais oui! Batgirl 21/ Oui: Birds of Prey 12. Est Possible: Doc Savage 14 (I like the crocodile on the cover.)
Gavin: Batman Incorporated 6, FF 3, Incredible Hulks 628, New Avengers 12, Punisher MAX 12

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Pretty Girls: Kenichi Sonoda

August 27th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

Kenichi Sonoda: Wiki, imdb, a pretty good summary of his career, and an impossibly ancient shrine
Books: Gunsmith Cats, Gunsmith Cats: Burst
Why? The thing about cheesecake is that there’s exactly two types. There’s the trite, ugly, boring, unattractive, and lame stuff–your Ed Beneses, Zenescopers, and the like. They take a by the numbers approach to sexiness that actually saps any sexiness from the image. Two Boobs + Two Butt Cheeks+ Flimsy Thong Plus Arched Back = Any Given Issue of Birds of Prey. The other kind, the stuff that comes from your Frank Chos, Adam Hughes, Amanda Conners, and Adam Warrens, has a certain care and spontaneity that the other stuff doesn’t. The difference is that the latter group actually cares about what they’re doing. That care led to them really pushing and getting good at what they do.

I’d put Kenichi Sonoda in the latter group. He has his quirks/fetishes/interests (they are guns, cars, girls, and girls who wear pantyhose, in that order), he has his downsides (the occasional flagrant panty shot, prizing sexiness over sensibility, Minnie May), and he is absolutely technically proficient, but what raises him above artists like Benes is that he’s clearly put a tremendous amount of thought into what he’s doing. His style is probably exactly what you think of when someone says anime or manga (big eyes, small mouth, big boobs, small waists), but he’s not as generic as he might seem at first glance. He’s got a great grasp of body language (ks-sleepy.jpg, look at her slump!), he can actually work facial expressions (look at that saleslady in ks-asteal.jpg and tell me you can’t see the “cha-ching!” in her face), and the women wear actual, if occasional impractical, clothes (Rally in ks-copkilla.jpg, for example). He’s not just an artist drawing empty T&A. He’s making an effort to make his characters real. He’s drawing typical cute stuff, but with just a little more talent and care than you’d expect.

An aside: Gunsmith Cats is really, really good stuff, but Minnie May, and what she represents, makes me real uncomfortable. Without her, it’s a rocking manga about girls, guns, and fast cards. With her, well… you’re gonna get some funny looks if you read this funnybook in public. (no pedo)

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