Sunday, February 13, 2005

Kane: Greetings From New Eden - Black & White And Should Be Read All Over

PAD has to love me now. I even put a pun in an entry title!!!

Anyhow, here is the latest installment in "You Decide - 2005," the trade collecting the first few issues of Paul Grist's police drama, Kane.

Kane is an interesting approach to a cop drama. Grist hits all the familiar notes - new partner, crime boss, renegade cop...but he hits them in a different rhythm, to make them feel fresh.

In addition, there are times when Grist uses the familiarity of the setting to us to make fun of the setting itself. For instance, the young wife of a rich man whose son has been kidnapped weeps broadly on television, and when the cameras are off, she asks if she emoted enough. Little comedic bits of social satire like that are interspersed throughout the series.

But while the writing is good (and it is), it is not the writing that stars in this book.

Not by a long shot.

It is Grist's amazing art.

Often, a creator will use black and white because they HAVE to (financial reasons), but in this case, you could not imagine this book being in anything but black and white.

Just like how the great black and white film directors used shadow as their co-director, so does Grist. It's often breathtaking how he works in and out of the shadows...really amazing work.

Once, in remarking on Batman: Black & White (the backup series they used to do in Gotham Knights), a critic pointed out that very few of the black & white backups were truly drawn in black & white, but rather, they were simply uncolored.

That is certainly not the case in Kane. It's one of the most colorful black & white book you are ever likely to see.


Blogger Brian Cronin said...

So, does the Kane story progress any better than the first trade?

Do they add important new characters, or do they just spotlight the characters from the first trade more?

2/13/2005 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Why do I hate Grist's art so much? It looks like something my two-year-old could draw. Am I missing some subtle subtext that makes him freakin' Picasso? Help!

Hence, I've never read Kane. Good review, though.

2/13/2005 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Wanna know a secret, Greg?

I actually read this trade awhile back...and I actually sorta agreed with you.

I mean, his art seemed kinda sketchy, and not all that impressive...but I will admit that I was not exactly paying much attention to it (it was a friend's copy, and I read it fairly quickly).

This second time, I picked up a lot of the subtle writing things that I missed the first time, but in addition, I really came to realize how well he used black in the comic.

How many comic artists today really use black that well, in black and white?

Whether you like his actual character drawings (and I could easily see someone taking issue with the way he draws characters), the way he works in the just amazed me, especially when looking at it a little slower than I did at first.

2/14/2005 01:24:00 AM  
Blogger alex said...

greg said:
"Why do I hate Grist's art so much? It looks like something my two-year-old could draw."

Wow. I'd like to see that 2 year old go.

I love Grist's art- he's like a cros between Alex Toth and Kevin O'Neill... and he knows how to lay out a page as well as anyone working.


2/14/2005 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

While I absolutely agree with you, Alex, that it is amazing how Grist lays out a page, I think Greg's critique was not taking the amazing lay outs into consideration, and more, the character drawings.

For instance, you mention O'Neill, who is also a great artist, but in both O' Neill and Grist's case, their actual figures that they draw are not "conventionally attractive," ya know?

So I can see someone having an issue with the characters of both Grist and O'Neill.

2/14/2005 04:27:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Another impressive thing about Grist is his willingess (this ties back into the black thing) to do the "natural lighting upon people's faces" routine.

It's rare to see a writer do that.

2/14/2005 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

Paul Grist is a comics master. I think I like Kane even more than Jack Staff, but it's hard to say. Those books just got better and better, in my opinion. The Marv/Sin City crossover was choice.

2/14/2005 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

So the Kane storylines DO get better as the series goes on, Joe?

Good to know.

I think I like Grist's art on Kane more than I do on Jack Staff, but Jack Staff is a bit funner of a story.

2/14/2005 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger Brad Curran said...

It took me a little while to get used to Grist's work in Jack Staff, but I do think he's a hell of a storyteller. Kane's on a long list of series that I need to try out. I did by the first issue of Burglar Bill a couple months ago, and I may wind up following it, too, if I can ever find the second issue.

2/16/2005 03:45:00 PM  

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