Black History Month 2011: Trevor Von Eeden

February 7th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

Trevor Von Eeden
Selected Works: Blood Syndicate 1, The Original Johnson Volume 1, The Original Johnson Volume 2

I came to Trevor Von Eeden very late. He’d done Thriller the year that I was born, and Power Man & Iron Fist before that. On top of that, the majority of his work was done at DC Comics, a company I generally didn’t read as a kid. It was a mix of not knowing anyone past Superman and Batman and Marvel having all of the hot artists of the time. I almost definitely saw his work on the first issue of Blood Syndicate, but I was definitely too young to get the significance.

As it turns out, Von Eeden is a dude who was worth paying attention to. He has an interesting approach to panel layouts in comics. Each panel is a specific moment in time, and how you move from panel helps dictate the pace and mood of a comic. Watchmen was a hard nine panel grid, with a few exceptions, throughout, and everything in it feels inevitable. Like, bam-bam-bam–you can’t escape its pace. It moves along at the same speed. Layouts are vitally important, and if you get them wrong, you can wreck a comic.

In Thriller in particular, his work with Robert Loren Fleming, Von Eeden takes that most basic part of the comics page and starts playing with time travel. There are pages that depict one very short moment in time, broken up across several panels. Others have panels that don’t just read left to right. They bounce back and forth across the page, creating a zigzag of storytelling. Other pages have one moment per panel, and then a huge splash of several moments.

It’s an interesting technique to utilize, and while it isn’t necessarily uncommon, seeing it done as well as it is in Thriller is nice. What’s nicer would be a digital comics release, of course.

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