Apr 20, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - The Weekly Graphic Novel: Week 43 - Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, 2005


Before I talk about the graphic novel this week, I need to show you something. Today's featured creator is Inker Dexter Vines. What I want to show you, for those who might not understand what an inker does, is an example:

What we see here are Ed McGuinness's pencils on the left, and an inked version of the page by a Deviant Art member named "dubbery" on the right. What an inker does on a comic, essentially, is controls light and darkness. The common misconception is that an inker simply traces over a penciller's work, and while there is that aspect to it, a delineation process, the control over light and shadow, over how prominent or not a particular piece of the art will be, these are important considerations in storytelling. And this is what Dexter Vines does to great effect in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.

I'll be honest: I love this book so much. McGuiness and Vines' Superman is easily one of my favourite interpretations of the character, and the Batman-Superman interaction in this comic is handled with such love and grace by writer Jeph Loeb. Though the look of the book can be considered a bit cartoon-y, in that McGuiness errs on the side of the stylized, rather than the realistic, the dialogue by and between the two main heroes is measured and thoughtful. We may be looking at a stylized version artistically, but a realistic one verbally. Or something. I just think it captures, from both a verbal and visual perspective, something really fundamental about these characters, and about their relationship with one another. And to capture the nuance of a relationship is a special feat.


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