Monday, June 16, 2014

Elsewhere

I recently switched from a once-a-week schedule on PopMatters to an every-other-week one, the same as I have always had with the "1987 And All That" columns, meaning from now on each week I will either be publishing on PopMatters or CSBG but not both. So these Elsewhere posts will probably be bi-weekly for the time being, and include one link to each of those sites.

Two weeks back, I wrote on CSBG about The X-Men vs. the Avengers, a four-issue mini that had its final issue written and drawn by creators not involved in the initial three, making for a bizarre and ill-fitting ending to an otherwise enjoyable story. This week, my PopMatters piece was on Afterlife With Archie, specifically looking at some familiar/clich├ęd elements and how they are used quite effectively in the context of that title.

Something I Failed to Mention
In discussing Afterlife With Archie, I pretty much consistently talked about writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and artist Francesco Francavilla as a team, as opposed to looking at their individual contributions to the book. As is pretty much always the case when Francavilla's involved, though, the art of Afterlife deserves its own examination and praise. What I personally find myself most often impressed with in that series is how few colors Francavilla will use on a given page. Often it is just two, with red/black and orange/black being the most common combinations. Black is always heavily involved, because it's an uber-dark tale and the visuals match. Francavilla has long favored a limited palette, but in this series it feel like he takes it to a new level, almost producing a black-and-white comic yet at the same time using such vibrant, brash, almost invasive hues that it's the furthest thing from black-and-white imaginable. The colors pop, nay, explode on every page, and add a lot of life and detail to the scenes, even though there are never more than, like, four or five different colors at any time, usually fewer. Francavilla's evolution as an artist continues to impress; he was already one of my absolute favorites, and this may be the best of his work that I've ever seen.

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