Comics y estilos

Las cualidades de la obra gráfica: su intención, su valor y su categoría a juicio de su público.

Michel Fiffe pasó de ser un artistas de culto a uno de los más reconocidos en la industria de los comics. De carrera meteórica, su serie de acción COPRA le ha dado una proyección y reconocimiento muy merecido.

Con un estilo peculiar, Fiffe captura un trazo de naturaleza burda de gran libertad, pero con el suficiente detalle fino para poblar a sus páginas de layouts de notable inventiva, sentido de asombro y gran escala. El oriundo de Cuba evoca en su trabajo lo mejor de la caricatura underground, la acción disparatada à la Image noventera y la naturaleza offbeat salida de un Vertigo. Sin lugar a dudas su obra puede catalogarse dentro de los exponentes de la corriente denominada “comics fusión”, que le dio al arte secuencial del siglo XXI una frescura sin igual.

Siendo un estudioso del medio, Fiffe ofrece en diversas plataformas online una opinión variada acerca de la historia, la forma y el fondo de los comics, con un entusiasmo y nostalgia realmente contagioso. A continuación presentamos un pequeño ensayo/reflexión acerca de lo que este autor percibe como “el estilo” de un dibujante, siendo aquella cualidad plástica que describe a la obra gráfica, a su intención, a su valor tangible o intangible y que lo categoriza a juicio de su audiencia o mercado potencial.

Fuente: Twitter de Michel Fiffe.

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This is my personal diagram for comic book art styles. Being a list maker and constantly thinking about this topic, I drew it up with all my favorites as examples. And yeah, this is always on my mind, so I wanted to lay it out to give it some shape, to help me understand. (1)

“Messy” relies on the inking. (There must be messy digital inkers, right?) “Realistic” is less about photo-reference, more about naturalism on display. “Cartoony” is as abstract as I put it, but it can certainly be pushed further in unorthodox directions. (2)

Style is so interesting to me. It’s everywhere but in an unspoken agreement kind of way. For starters, fans & pros fundamentally have different tastes. Hence: an artist’s artist. Took me a while to recognize that there are subsets within both camps, all with different values. (3)

Values! Let’s go over a few. Less lines: lazy or elegant? More lines: overkill or enthusiastic? Flat colors: unfinished or design-y? Modern coloring: rich in spectrum or overdoing it? Realistic: stiff or proper? Cartoony: ideal or “kiddie stuff”? (4)

Side bar: is “cartoony” still a bad word? I can’t imagine that it is in a post-Timm/Cooke world. (Within the range of the Wednesday crowd, I mean.) The advantage of the superhero genre is that it can encompass a lot of drawing styles. Like… more than just one. (5)

Everyone on that diagram has influenced me in one way or another. And yet, I constantly fight that influence, as I don’t want their POV to dominate; I want to explore my own. The center area reveals a lot of what I’m constantly going for, tho: a balance of all aspects. (6)

Frank Miller is the one who made the strongest impact, yet I never cite him because it’s *that* deep. When I first saw Miller’s work thru DKR as a kid, I wasn’t put off by his different version of the iconic Batman, I was excited by its uniqueness. That was a pivotal lesson. (7)

I’ve gone on about Miller’s style before, championing his constant evolution in contrast to fandom’s expectations. The subject of aesthetics doesn’t get dissected much. That’s why I made that list-graph, as a step to see what informs my own work. (8)

So funny how people perceive my style. (Which I don’t easily recognize.) Even when I go for a conservative & cleaner approach, it somehow still registers as “weird”. I suppose it is, if your thing is slickly colored hyper-realism or if thick, dirty brush lines turn you off. (9)

I’ve also been described as “retro,” which is odd. My art isn’t decidedly 80s/90s (what even IS an 80s style), neither is my writing (unless thought balloons count as old school which is silly) neither is my coloring. Maybe because I always rave about that era. ‘89 or bust. (10)

We all have our own graphs. Artists, where do you fall on it? Where do you place your favorite creators, and what does that tell you about your preferences? It was fun mapping out this info. I gotta make a bigger diagram next time. Maybe it’ll just be Luke McDonnell’s face. XOXO

P.S. Credits: Cliff Sterrett, Tony Salmons, Charles Burns inks JRJR, Kyle Baker from JLA 50, Negativeland, my 4th grade comic, Batman, Sierra Muerte panel, Gemini, Suicide Squad 16. Pictured: Keith Giffen, Superman Man of Steel 15. Love the discussions springing from this thread!

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