Monday 28 November 2011



Art by Jim Lee and Scott Williams, colouring by Alex Sinclair, lettering by Patrick Brosseau

 Justice League #1. Cover date October 2011

Jim Lee draws smoke bombs exploding.  Well, I think that’s what happens.  There’s a sound effect, and in the previous panel Batman fired some things at the helicopters, and there’s black smoke in the air around the helicopters, so we’ll guess that Jim Lee has drawn a smoke bomb exploding.  Granted, it must be hard to draw a smoke bomb exploding.

Monday 28 March 2011

V escapes

Cover to V For Vendetta issue 1

Art by David Lloyd, V For Vendetta #3. Cover dated November 1988

And so we have the first cover, and the first of what I suspect will be a number of images from Alan Moore and David Lloyd's V For Vendetta.  It's a beautiful cover, the glow of the explosion hiding the profile of V's face purposefully. While that fits with the story, it also pushes the reader to the idea that V's character is explosive and battle hardened. The burning man to the right and nearer the explosion than V flails helplessly, and is studiously ignored by our hero, whom Lloyd has posed in an art deco Superman manner, reminiscent of the Fleisher animated series.

The foregrounding work by the leaning iron bar in the bottom left of the cover is impeccable; it floats above the scene itself and makes you want to reach out and move it. Like the Doom Patrol panel from last week, this is another image that can easily have existed in real life, and while it draws from art deco stylings there's also a sense of the atrocities of World War II. V's shadow pulls us into the picture, and although we cannot see where he is looking, we are aware that he is confidently striding into a wasteland in a direction straight towards chaos; this is the first instance yet of a character moving, unhurriedly and purposefully, towards an explosion.

Sunday 27 March 2011

Sunday links

Here's a few links to catch if you've missed them being broadcast elsewhere:

Eddie Campbell is interviewed at the Hooded Utilitarian

Jim Shooter has a blog

FPI review Dylan Horrock's masterpiece Hicksville

Steve Finch creates covers for comic books as if they were 1960's paperbacks

Pat Mills is interviewed at FPI here and here

Saturday 26 March 2011

What's it all about?

 Hi. I didn't really imagine when I started posting explosions that the world would suddenly follow suit and bombs would start falling, but then again, I'm left scratching my head trying to imagine a time when bombs haven't been falling. So what's it all about?

I had intended to launch a blog which covered my thoughts on pop culture, taking in anything from my thoughts on music through comics to film.  But the more I tried, the more I couldn't see how I wouldn't end up replicating something already out there. And I had become very taken with blogs such as Four Color Process and thought I'd try something in a similar vein.  Seeing as I'd registered this domain name and made a stab at something already, I decided I should keep it as a going concern, and so my mind turned to explosions.

Friday 25 March 2011


Art by Frank Quitely, New X-Men #115. August 2001

Quitely and a couple of parachuting X-Men. I wanted to round out the week with a fairly contemporary image, something which spoke of colour to contrast the black and white of Eastman's Turtles.  I really should have credited colorist Hi Fi Design, because a lot of what makes this image work is due to the colour.  Which is to take nothing away from Quitely's composition, with the James Bond styling of Cyclops just right of the epicentre, pulling our eye to the glare on his, well I think we'll call that his backside. Quitely has Cyclop's feet at different angles, yet maintains the image in the reader's mind that Cyclops is a character that is all about control; he's a character who knows which way his feet are pointing. And Quitely has managed to pack all four elemental forces in here: the wind implied by the parachute which holds Cyclops in the air forcefully against the blast; fire raging from the explosion itself; rock enclosing the course of the river; and that waterfall. What a brave line Quitely uses to separate fire and water, it's a very thick line which implies either a sheer drop or a viewer blinded by an explosion.

Thursday 24 March 2011

City at War

Art by Kevin Eastman

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles volume 1 #50. August 1992

Following on from Gibbons is a two page scene from Kevin Eastman and the other major comic book sensation of the 1980's, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. To my mind this is the least accomplished image I have so far used. The buildings, while accurately rendered, lack character, and the explosive force feels lacking around the doorway, with not enough debris blasted outwards.  The store sign hangs too lumpen in the air and the blasts from the top windows seem too stylised, too glossily blasting up rather than outwards. And yet... there's the way Eastman has used tonality to inform the white heat of the explosion, the way the door hangs in the air, taking the brunt of the force and blunting its anger through the heaviness Eastman's lines have leant it. And the dissolve to blackness on the second page of the spread, truncating the image and propelling us forwards into the story.  I like this scene, and I think most of the flaws are probably in my eye; I can't help but feel the perspective is a little forced and we're looking at an unflattering angle. 

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Just a Dream


Art by Dave Gibbons, Watchmen #7. March 1987

From the wide screen to the narrow dream sequence panel.  Gibbons image manages to conjure the surreality demanded of the script through the lack of grounding; the explosion hangs in the air having burst in from some distant vanishing point. It's a very lucid scene, defined by the white starkness of the background creating silhouetted skeletons and the juxtaposition of the loving embrace composed of long-dead bodies. And the narrowness of the image adds to idea that it's a half glimpsed nightmare.