Making The Panel Work For Its Supper: Chin Music #1 by Steve Niles and Tony Harris

Tomorrow sees the publication of Ten Grand #1 by JMS and Ben Templesmith, published by Image. I talked about it here. A private investigator in an undetermined city being hired to deal with crime, demons and angels, under the surface.

Well next week, Image also publish Chin Music #1, featuring a man in Chicago dealing with crime and demons, under the surface.

But they approach comics in remarkably different fashions.

Ten Grand goes for the private dick potboiler, given a rich, oppressive and depressing location that could be anywhere, events superseding the form. Gutters are black, you can’t see the borders, the panels burst out from the darkness in standard rectangles. Lit from behind.

chin1

Chin Music goes to the past, Chicago during the prohibition with Ness and Capone, but also Ancient Eqypt, giving the comic book temporal layers, reflected in the use of the comic book form. Here, the panel borders becomes objects of art in and of themselves, less borders but frames, there to spotlight, to isolate, to highlight characters and events as specific points, stringing them together in the book like an album. Just as the comic has magical symbols, so the very panels seem to take that structure on. They change depending on the time period they are in, reflecting contemporary styles, but always working as a narrative. The comic takes its time as well, moments are slow and detailed, where Ben Templesmith blurs, giving impressions, letting the reader fill in the grimness in their heads, Tony Harris brings it all out in sharp detail, an almost pornographic obsessions with flesh in forced perspective, and then hangs the results almost above the page. It’s similar to what Jae Lee achieved in Before Watchmen: Ozymandias, but with more obvious uses of design. There’s even a touch of the superhero, suddenly and unexpectedly, yet a natural progression of sudden bursts of action.

chin2

The comic treats its moment of schlock horror with the same reverence it accords to slow moments of bullet being slowly carved. Events being recorded, preserved, lingered upon, with the horror of the voyeur who can’t look away. Even in that, and especially given the moments of slowness in some parts of the comic, it also finds incredibly efficient and inventive ways to move the narrative on at a lick of a pace.

chin3

There’s a relatively simple narrative I can grab in Ten Grand. But in Chin Music, there are disconnected scenes, set centuries apart, but beautifully strung together. I haven’t a hell of an idea what’s going on but, right now, I don’t need to. I’m looking forward to discovering more.

Enough chin music, I’m going to go and read it again.

Chin Music #1 by Steve Niles and Tony Harris is published next week by Image Comics.

Fox News Compares Last Month’s Superman To Ferguson

Webwitch1

Matt Martin Talks Webwitch And The Overwhelming Fan Support

les.jpg

Why There Is Every Chance The Fantastic Four Will Work As A Movie

Spider-Gwen Creators Can’t Officially Create New Characters For The Series? (Robbi Rodriguez UPDATE)

unnamed-1

Monty Python And The Holy Grail POP! Vinyls To Release This November

Step Aside, Pops Vs. The Bizarre Adventures Of Gilbert & Sullivan

JCWoM10-Cov-A-Casas

Cover Change For John Carter: Warlord Of Mars #10

NINJAK_006_COVER_A_SUAYAN

The Shadow Wars Kicks Off In Ninjak #6

Pathfinder01CovScalera

Free On Bleeding Cool – Pathfinder #1 By Zub And Huerta

The Super Awesome Comic Review Show – Sex Criminals, Southern Bastards, Lazarus, Help Us Great Warrior!, Star Wars, And More