Thursday, January 10, 2019

Juan Ferreyra's masterful artwork on Killmonger

I've been reading Bryan Hill's miniseries Killmonger and in addition to enjoying the writing, I've been really impressed with the artwork by Juan Ferreyra. In nearly every issue, Ferreyra presents at least one, two-page set of images -- also known as a double-page spread -- that dramatize the action of the narrative through the use of several different, interconnected panels. The most riveting one at this point appears in issue #3, but Hill and Ferreyra offered previous images like these to get us to this point.

[Related: Reading Bryan Hill in 2018]

From Killmonger #1

In issue #1, a scene shows Killmonger assuming the role of sniper and prepares to shoot his nemesis Klaw from afar. At the last minute, Killmonger is interrupted by a character Knight, who disarms him just before he can take an accurate shot. The sequence of actions are presented in 11 different panels, a few overlaying others providing us with close-ups of specific moves.

There's another intense sequence of action scenes in the issue when a group of masked men attempt to attack Killmonger at his apartment. The action is acute, though it's slightly different than that distinguishing blend with close-ups and overlays.

from Killmonger #2

In issue #2, Killmonger and a crew -- Knight, King, and Rook -- attack a group of high-level criminals. The dramatic violence is presented across six different pages. The pairs of pages facing each other, despite the bloodshed and brutality, are visually stimulating. Some of the panels stretch landscape across two pages, while others include smaller squares mixed in.

Within these panels, Ferreyra presents close-ups and images of people taking fire. He shows one character using another as a human shield. He presents a series of images with Killmonger walking forward and shooting people until he reaches a woman who begs for her life. As he pauses, Knight steps in with the kill shot: "SPAK!" As an added gruesome detail, we see Killmonger's reflection in the dead woman's blood. At the bottom of the last two pages in the sequence, a single drawing covers both pages, showing dead bodies sprawled on the ground with the four hired killers walking out.

from Killmonger #3

In issue #3, Ferreyra offers yet another, and certainly the most remarked on set of images from the miniseries. The artist illustrates a fight between Bullseye and Killmonger, with Knight and King stepping in to offer support to their colleague, who is clearly outmatched.

The scene shows Killmonger shooting at and missing Bullseye who nimbly dodges the bullets. Killmonger then charges his foe, takes a hard swing, misses, and is promptly hit with an elbow. Before can strike Kilmonger again, Knight rips a door from a parked car and throws it in the direction of Bullseye. In that moment of distraction, King rushes in and assists Knight and Killmonger in escaping.

All of that action takes place across 2 pages and 21 panels. Those panels include landscape images across two pages, a large square, and several smaller squares and rectangles. We see a stretch -- landscape -- views of the action as well as close-ups facial views of the combatants.

Draft from Killmonger #3 posted by Juan Ferreyra

People commented on the two pages on social media, and Ferreyra generously posted the original image and two drafts -- one a sketch and another one partially colored. It's good seeing the development of those pages, as we get a sense of the processes by which he constructed the images.

Notably, you get a chance to consider the labor and expertise that goes into producing a complex, multi-layered work of art.

Draft from Killmonger #3 posted by Juan Ferreyra

Several months from now in December, after a full year of looking at comics, I hope to return to Killmonger #1 - #3, and see what I think about how this art relates to everything else I've seen during the year. It's quite possible that what Ferreyra has done here will assist in shaping how I approach some of what I view moving forward. It's really masterful work.

A notebook on comic books

1 comment:

Juan Ferreyra said...

Thanks man! great analysis of my spread pages! I started posting int witter all the spreads I did for Green Arrow, and I will post all the spreads I did over my carreer.