q. i. f.?

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visual effect

Mignola’s graphic style in the H.B. and BPRD books evolves quite a bit in the titles’ first few years. That’s a common enough observation, and nothing specially to do with Mignola as an artist or a writer, for that matter. (Take, e.g., my cartooning idol Richard Thompson: the way he drew Cul de Sac — already at the height of his career as a cartoonist and illustrator, his style well established — underwent a similar period of refinement and simplification after it began in the Post Sunday magazine, and then again after he took it to syndication as a daily.) I’m interested in talking more, sometime, about the evolution of Mignola’s graphic approach in relation to his evolving approach to the stories, but for the moment, let’s just look at an isolated aspect or two of the change, in very brief terms.

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The last two posts here cracked open the door, just a bit, to some discussion of visual stereotyping and race. I didn’t have any definite plan to open that door further, but it’s interesting stuff, to say the least, and a good way to go for a wider historical field on the subject of graphics and human figure. So let’s just push it open and encounter the dangers within as we may.

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I may not draw a lot these days, but it’s no real exaggeration to say I think about drawing all the time. What I think about — or have in back of mind at least — particularly is the problem of representing human form, not so much in the sense of portrayal and its possibilities, but in the sense of iconography, visual language, linear phraseology. It’s what makes comics and cartooning so compelling for me, I believe, in spite of my general feeling of disappointment with the medium’s evolution.

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I’ve been reading Grant Morrison’s gushy-trippy memoirish, Supergods, lately — since about a week after learning of it by way of this post in Darrell’s series meandering among the pagans, currently in progress. (Go take a look.) I mention in a comment there that I hadn’t heard of the book. Actually, I had no idea who Morrison was before reading that post. That tells you something about extent of my appreciation of comic book culture.

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I seem not to have much use for this site anymore but to post very occasional HB sketches. If I really were a great Mignola fan, that might be alright, but I don’t think I am. I’m a middling Mignola fan at best, and I have plenty of other stuff to keep my mind occupied. Still, something I feel I ought to be able to do here — though I won’t take time for it now or probably anytime soon — is talk about the appeal this character has for me in spite of Mignola’s apparently shallow conception (as interviews with him generally seem, to my mind anyway, to attest) of him and his little story world.

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Scratchy little (~ 3 1/2” high) red pen Hellboy on 3 × 5 card. Drawing very infrequently these days. Interest in Mignola stories flagged a while back & has stayed low. But I still like the idea of playing with this.

I added a few squiggles to the little H.B. head from the other day.

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Still the occasional light noodling & doodling (in ballpoint, here) on Mignola characters. Male ones, that is. I haven’t come up with the nerve to fool around with his female characters yet — though they’re key, no question, to what makes the stories appealing.

Flannery O’Connor by Jesse Hamm

Just came across (though it appears to have been around forever) this illustrators’ site. Have a look: eye candy for book lovers.

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