En su difunto blog, “Death to the Universe”, el crítico y artista visual Matt Séneca exploró considerablemente a la historia del comic del siglo XX y la época contemporánea en búsqueda de sus bloques fundamentales; sus axiomas, su léxico, sus representantes definitivos y los pioneros de su revolución narrativa. “Action Comics” es un breve ensayo que examina a uno de los aspectos más emblemáticos del arte secuencial: la capacidad de plasmar poderío y “movimiento” sobre la figura estática en el papel a través de desplantes de acción estilizada, y cuyo dominio solo le pertenece a unos cuantos. Enjoy.

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Action Comics
Matt Séneca
Publicado originalmente entre 2010-2011.

Frank King’s horizontally-oriented panoramas were solidly based in the strip format, which pulls the eyes right across the art anyway. Action comics, however, have chiefly been the province of the comic book, vertical in orientation. Flip open a 20th-century action comic; at least half, usually more, of the panels will be taller than they are wide, which makes it basically impossible to employ King’s trick. More than that, action comics as they’ve traditionally been drawn downright glory in the frozen moment, ideally suited as it is for depicting the action/reaction transitions that power bangin’ fight scenes.

Action panels aren’t there to read through—they hit, pop out at you before you move on to the next one which does the same thing again. In the best Kirbyist tradition, they’re pure stop-motion, an accretion of gestures across a page rather than a panel à la King. There’ve been dissenting voices in the past few decades, from Howard Chaykin’s stretched-out vistas to Frank Miller’s balletic fight choreography to the “widescreen” comics of Bryan Hitch, but only Frank Quitely put all those together, and only Quitely ended up with his shoes planted squarely in King’s footsteps.

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