Saturday, July 25, 2009

I have been house-sitting at my mom's house in Pennsauken, New Jersey. I take the bus into Philadelphia, and on these trips I find suburban sprawl hard to navigate. Most of South Jersey is undergoing this trend of development based around "upscale" shopping centers- The shopping center and its attendant large parking lots are a large part of my personal history and what I take as the quintessential New Jersey/suburban America experience, but these centers (elevated from the street, all major chains, with no room at all for small businesses) is something else. They seem to be multiplying exponentially.

But: Somehow, in riding the bus, I discovered a building labeled "JAIN TEMPLE" mere yards from my mom's house. In walking distance. (In suburbia, almost nothing is within walking distance.) I'm going to investigate tomorrow- Sunday, which doesn't necessarily mean "church services," especially for Jains (a faith where some believers do not even enter temples) but it seems like my best bet after I squandered today. This chunk of the post is for my friends, in case the sign that says "Jain Temple" is but a ploy to lure spiritual seekers to their doom. (A possibility that strikes me as more likely than their actually being a Jainist temple in Pennsauken, NJ.)

The rest of the post is pretty much just for Frank Santoro: I am around a bunch of 90s superhero comics and want to highlight Noelle C. Giddings as a colorist of note. She colored for Milestone, which for a while publicized in advertising that all their books had painted color, but her stuff looks the best, to me. Maybe it's the msot restrained. She colored Static and Xombi. Xombi's drawings are pretty stiff, but her work- which resembles watercolor, but might just be airbrush- lets some life in. Xombi was the Milestone comic that was "arty" in a Vertigo-ish way, and even though most Vertigo comics have crappy art, I still think part of Xombi's success is due to the way the colors are so loose. I don't have a lot of issues of these comics, and what I do have is frequently nonconsecutive. The later issues of Static look okay, they have a certain grace to them, but the first issue (the only one of the early issues, drawn by John Paul Leon I have) looks rad. The art is more cartoony than anything Leon would draw in the future: It's real loose, in a lot of small panels, and gives the color a lot of room to carry weight, and delineate form. But because the line-art is so loose and cartoony, the coloring is too. Even though it's painted, it's printed on newsprint, so it's not slick at all. It's sort of smeared: if a nose is drawn by just two marks for nostrils, then the coloring is then just a mark of the rest of the nose. Hair is drawn with chunky lines of black alternating with chunky lines of wavering color. It looks unruly. Another Static art tip is that some middle-period issues were drawn by Wilfred Santiago, later to draw porn, and then a graphic novel, for Fantagraphics. I only have memories of those issues, which I remember looking weird and super-minimal. Further along on the abstraction tip, but by that point I think it was on slick paper and I don't remember how the colors compensated. There's no scans on the internet that do what I'm talking about any justice, as what I can find isn't big enough to convey how idiosyncratic it looks. But on my last few trips here I've just stared at it.


Frank Santoro said...

I'll have to check those out.

Brian said...

Another female colorist!

Brian said...

I was at a store today that contained a trade of the first four issues of Static, as well as a later revival by the same writer and artist that displays how the coloring looked on those early issues quite well, especially in contrast with the considerably duller-looking aughts miniseries.