Monday, November 12, 2012

30 in 30: Someplace Strange

#12: Someplace Strange
Storytellers: Ann Nocenti & John Bolton
Publisher: Epic Comics
Year Of Publication: 1988
Page Count (can be approximate or in # of issues format): 64 pages

I really liked the use of thought balloons and captions in this.  In the opening of the story, the older brother chases his younger one to – we assume – beat him up for messing with his experiment, and the younger brother narrates the chase as if it were an adventure serial. It works to not only add characterization, but it also adds whimsy to the story. And toward the end, Nocenti utilizes the caption boxes to infuse a cinematic aspect to the story – one time directing readers to “start at the feet then raise your eyes slowly, stopping at the head…just like they do in movies,” when the hero is created in the dream world, and a few pages later a caption instructs readers to “quick, run to your stereo and put on ‘the charge of the light brigade,’ stand at attention, send shivers down your spine…and swell with emotion.”  It’s fun and appropriate for the type of story being told here.

One – with an artist as talented as Bolton, having him switch styles depending upon the tenor of a scene works very well in a story that is mainly told in a dreamland.  He not only utilizes his photorealistic painting style, but also incorporates psychedelia, black and white parts, a less detailed “crayon” style, and others to great effect.
Two- utilize the whole page.  On many of the pages, Bolton would anthropomorphize the numbers at the bottom of the page to mirror actions within the main narrative, providing subtle emphasis for the main thrust of the narrative scenes.  It was fun and appropriate for this story.  

and a detail of the flying page number at the bottom:


I don’t know how many years I’ve had this, probably since the 1990s.  Ever since Nocenti’s run on Daredevil with JRJr, I’ve been a fan of hers and picked this up because of that – having Bolton doing the art is just a nice extra.  And now that I’ve read it, I wonder why it took me so long.  This was really entertaining, and I expect I’ll re-read it someday.

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