Comic Book Art and comic panels. Such a thing is continuously evolving. It never stops and the manner that they change just reflects the tastes of its real fans. From small panels of illustrations with a lot of dialogue, comic book artists have tried to put in as much detail as they can to express the mood.
George Perez is the champion of tiny illustrations, if you remember the “Death of Supergirl” in the 12-issue mini-series “Crisis on Infinite Earths”. Artists have made their mark in the history of comics.
However there are three ace artists that I will forever remember as the ones who really took the concept of comic book splash pages to express the raw intensity and emotions of a comic book. A lot of artists have tried, but I do think only these three have succeeded.
Their work in truly portraying an epic battle that reflected the true meaning of heroism, courage and even determination. It is quite curious that when an attempt at a truly ambitious task comes, the artist is usually also the writer.
welcome to my favorite renditions of full-page comic book illustrations!
THE MIGHTY THOR # 380 “MJOLNIR’S SONG” for Marvel Comics
Thor Odinson after being cursed by the death goddess Hela with brittle bones that can easily be broken, dons enchanted asgardian armor to keep his body whole. Because of the Frost giants; hatred for the God of Thunder, they call upon Jormungand, the World Serpent’ the monstrous snake that encircles the world, the son of Loki and Thor’s destined enemy at the end of times to do battle with the son of Odin. Thinking that the child of Loki would have the advantage, Jormungand calls the Thunderer to battle. Thor takes on the world serpent and Walter Simonson rightfully brings the battle to life with the use of the “splash pages”.
“Mjolnir’s Song” is truly an exercise in drama. It is a fine portrayal of an epic battle of wills between the Hero and his Foe. Simonson uses each page to show the enormous size of the World Serpent and the courage of the god of thunder. The reader can feel the impact of the blows and Simonson narrates the story based on the “Prose Edda” that further gives the comic book a feeling of poetry in heroism.
Credits: Walt Simonson (Script), Walt Simonson (Pencils), Sal Buscema (Inks), Christie Scheele (Colors), John Workman (Letters).
SUPERMAN # 75 “The Death of Superman” for DC Comics
Inspired by Simonson’s “Mjolnir’s Song”, Jurgens takes the Man of Steel in his final stand against the monster called “Doomsday”. The illustrations are dramatic and very brutal as the reader is taken to the place where Superman is destined to make his ultimate sacrifice. Jurgens is able to reflect the pain in the encounter and the fear that the man of steel may be experiencing. The splash page is quite fitting for something as huge as Superman’s last stand in Metropolis. Jurgens did a very good job in the panels but I do think that the scenes may be a little too forced and a little too “in your face”.
Despite some flaws in the script and some scenes felt a little rushed, Jurgens was successful in delivering the drama of Superman’s death.
Credits: Dan Jurgens (Script), Dan Jurgens (Pencils), Brett Breeding (Inks), Glenn Whitmore (Colors), John Costanza (Letters).
THE SAVAGE DRAGON # 7- untitled for Image Comics
Officer Dragon is a green-skinned cop with a fin on his head who also possesses superhuman strength, healing powers and a degree of invulnerability. The story goes something like this: Overlord is the biggest criminal figurehead in Chicago and Dragon has finally gotten a warrant for his arrest after the capture of Cyberface. Well, getting a warrant and arresting Overlord are two different things. What happens is a drag-out brawl that is just violent, full of sharp-tongued dialogue and brutal drama as Dragon takes on the nigh-powerful Overlord.
Dragon gets his ass handed to him...
Credits: Erik Larsen (script and pencils), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Reuben Rude (colorist)
So who illustrated the best splash page panels in the history of comics? Simonson did everything the old fashioned way, while Jurgens had minor computer aid and Larsen definitely had the advantage of digital coloring. Both Jurgens and Larsen have stated in the end of their comic books that Simonson kicked their asses; I agree. After all, the struggle between Thor and the monstrous “World Serpent” is fitting for a comic book with giant panels…Simonson made the full page illustrations a part of his story.
I love comic “Splash Pages”!
Ok this photo of the Psylocke statue has nothing to do with anything...but it sure looks COOL!