Brave and the Bold: Review I Agree With

Reviews I Agree With cover books I’m not reviewing myself (usually because I have nothing to add to what someone else has said well).

Brave and the Bold cover
Brave and the Bold: Lords of Luck
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From John Jakala at Sporadic Sequential (scroll down), discussing this hardcover collection of the first six issues of the series written by Mark Waid and drawn by George Pérez:

In trying to cram so much detail into every single panel, Perez hobbles the overall flow of the works he’s illustrating. Since then, I think I’ve only become more disillusioned with his “pack it all in” style of art, thanks largely to my ever-increasing consumption of manga. In manga, artists know when to turn off the backgrounds so that the reader focuses on the foreground characters; how to vary line weight so that different elements appear to exist in different layers; and how to use stylistic devices to convey motion, force, emotion, and humor. With Perez (and most Western superhero artists) everything lies flat on the same plane so that nothing pops out.

… reading BB: LL felt like doing homework when I’d failed to study all the preparatory material. In the endnotes to the hardcover collection, Waid walks readers through who each character is, even the ones that just appear in a throwaway panel, and where they first appeared, which I guess is a nice touch in terms of providing readers with historical background, but it also makes the comic feel like an assignment for history class.

I’m looking forward to getting my own copy of the collection for just that reason — checking out the endnotes for more information on the historical details and trivia — but that’s an acquired taste. I can’t argue with Jakala’s analysis, and I do wish that this volume ended with more of a conclusion.

Don MacPherson analyzes the sales history and possible future of the series.


3 Responses to “Brave and the Bold: Review I Agree With”

  1. Don MacPherson Says:

    I completely see Jakala’s point about Perez’s artwork. He does occasionally drop backgrounds to drive home the impact of a particular moment, but I don’t think we’ve seen much of that in his work on B&B.

    I remain a fan of Perez’s work in general. I find the detail in his work mesmerizing. As for its effect on the flow of the story, I find I gloss over the detail to a certain degree the first time I read the story. Then I peruse the pages again, with an eye toward drinking in the meticulous linework.

    On another note, thanks for the link, Johanna!

  2. John Jakala Says:

    Don, interesting to hear that you read the comic a second time to soak in Perez’s detail. That was a potential upside to Perez’s art that I mentioned in my review — that comic fans enjoy examining the art in detail, and they feel like they’re getting their money’s worth with so much packed in.

    I tried to “pull back” and gloss over the detail as well when I read it, but I still found the storytelling flow choppy. Maybe another part of it for me is the murky coloring. Everything is so “modeled” and bleeds together that it’s hard for me to pick out what the focal point of each panel & page composition is supposed to be.

    Anyway, interesting to hear another perspective. Thanks!

  3. Chris G. Says:

    Your point about this volume’s conclusion is a good one — I wish the standard for collected editions of comics was thicker, not faster. I’d much rather read a collection of 8 or 9 or, dare I hope, 12 issues than 6. There’s something vaguely depressing about these beautifully produced hardcovers that take less than an hour to read. And I say this as someone who mostly reads collected editions via the library; I can’t imagine what I’d think if I were paying for them.




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