Between a big project deadline and what feels like the creeping tentacles of the flu, I sort of lost a couple of days. So let’s pretend like today is Tuesday, and “Comics, Covered” isn’t late.
Obsession No. 1: The Pirates of Coney Island
Normally I write about cover art, but I’m going to make an exception for The Pirates of Coney Island. Oh, I like the covers well enough — both those by Vasilis Lolos, and the variants by Becky Cloonan — but I’m particularly taken with Lolos’ interior work. Specifically, his use of color.
The pure cyans and magentas and muted pinks and purples on those covers only hint at what is going on inside. Lolos bathes his pages in color: The opening of Issue 1 — a tense night episode featuring runaway-protagonist Patrick — is drenched in pink and purple, with flashes of yellow and blue occasionally fighting to break through in the form of the flame from a lighter or the color of a character’s hair.
Lolos carries the purple into the first few panels of the next scene, using color to ease the transition. Here, though, orange dominates as a bookie counts money in the office of a pizza parlor, the hues interrupted, at least initially, only by the green of the bills.
Then purple creeps into the orange-tinted pizzeria, signaling danger and, ultimately, death. In a jarring page turn, tangerine gives way to red, the color of blood — I won’t blow the scene entirely — before, almost as abruptly, the scene leaps from dark and violent to light and joyous.
The reds and purples of the blood-soaked pizza parlor disappear, leaving a sun-drenched boardwalk. The worries of Coney Island at night are replaced by happy screams from the roller coaster. Note, though, that red is carried through in the traffic light and on the sign, rails and cars of the Cyclone.
The first two issues of The Pirates of Coney Island are like this throughout, with Lolos expertly, and quirkily, utilizing color to move the story. Here it’s not just decoration; it’s an integrated, essential element. It’s color as storytelling device.
In a post from July on his website, Lolos says he and writer Rick Spears are bringing on a colorist beginning with this month’s Issue 3. That makes me a little nervous, but I’m hoping the new addition will be as skillful and bold as Lolos.
Obsession No. 2: Phonogram covers
Last month I wrote about Jamie McKelvie’s pop-music homages for the covers of Phonogram, his Image miniseries with Kieron Gillon. McKelvie has paid tribute to Elastica, Black Grape, Blur, Suede, Manic Street Preachers and Oasis.
Of course, the woman on the Pulp cover didn’t have a trident sticking out of her back …
Paul Pope is blogging
Chris Butcher has a good analysis of the evolution of the covers to Bone, by Jeff Smith, from the original versions to the new Scholastic editions.