Grid Talk

My good friend Derrick Fish and I recently got online to critique each other’s new artwork and talk about random shit.  This is what happens when artists try to trade ideas…

Amor: So since you’ve got WELLKEEPER in the works, and that’s pretty much horror-fantasy, I HIGHLY recommend getting the first trade for Locke and Key. I stake my nerd cred on it. It’s got the most clever paneling I’ve seen in years. Gabriel Rodriguez is a bastard.

Fish: Now THAT’S a tough one for me. After years of doing a comic strip, I’ve all but forgotten how to lay out a page in anything but a grid.

Amor: Not necessarily a bad thing though, right? Grids work. But no… I don’t mean L&K does overlapping shit. It’s also mostly grids in that, but the angles and figure placement, man… fucking brilliant.

Fish: That’s also what I’m thinking of. My staging is bland compared to the stuff I did just out of high school, and that’s not good. I’m getting a little of my groove back on “The Line” setting the camera at more than just eye level, but I feel like it’s a muscle I haven’t flexed properly in too long. I want to find a good balance between interesting and clear. I don’t want camera work SO clever that it kicks readers out of the story, or so straightforward that it puts them to sleep.

Amor: I understand that. It actually pisses me off when people do all these “clever” angles when they’re just doing a conversation scene, like with the camera in-between the first and second knuckle… and looking up at the subject. Whatever, man. It’s just… pedantic to me.

Fish: Haha! It draws attention to itself. Is the knuckle important? Why are we looking through knuckles?!?

Amor: Because we caaaaaaaan!!!

Fish: Now, maybe the person talking is a bruiser and his knuckles are battered… but if the conversation is between Aunt May and Mary Jane… Why be clever just to show how clever you are?

Amor: Exactly.

John Amor and Derrick Fish

Fish: In film, a good example of this was in “Panic Room”, where Fincher kept zooming the faux camera through every crack in the wall for a “Wooooshy” shot.

Amor: See… on the street… away from you and your fancy films… me and my boys just call it the Mortal Kombat effect.

Fish: Elaborate…

Amor: “Wooooshy” is too technical a term for us, good sir. MK the movie would have these two-minute cut scenes where we’d circle a CGI castle and then whoosh in through the window or some shit. And I appreciate that they were trying to imply scale and grandeur, but it totally sucked me out of the movie.

Fish: OH MY LORD, I know what you’re talking about. God, that can get irritating.

Amor: It sorta happened in King Kong, but Jackson caught himself, I think. He was all, “Shit… I’m totally Mortal Kombatting this fucking bigiature scene.”

Fish: Indeed. And I LOVED King Kong but he totally did that. “LOOOOOKKKK…. a big WALL!!! Wooooosh!!!”

Amor: YES!!! Ah well…but you summed it up, why be clever just to show how clever you are? Fuck you and your astute summations.

Fish: My thoughts on that are if you can’t make a move with your REAL camera, don’t make it with your digital CGI camera. It just SCREAMS “COMPUTER EFFECT!!! NOT REAL!!!” That’s one of the millions of reasons I loved Iron Man. No Mortal Kombat camera wooshes.

Amor: Oh oh… Crystal Skull.


Amor: Hahaha!

Fish: Especially when Sam Witwicky becomes fucking Tarzan. Yeesh!

Amor: I know, right? Then the whole fencing-on-two-jeeps sequence. I felt sorry for that scene. You know a movie’s bad when you actually feel an undeniable amount of lurid sympathy for it.

Fish: Spielberg’s first idea was to shoot it with the same techniques and practical effects that the other three were made with and Lucas talked him out of it. That was a cool enough IDEA, but ruined in the execution. I SOOO wish Spielberg would have gone with his first instinct.

Amor: What’s funny is I could tell the color palette was off… and I’m practically colorblind.

Fish: Hahahaha! There was too much “Here’s reality” and “Here’s CGI.”

Amor: It felt like the Mummy.

Fish: Indeed. And not even the FIRST Mummy when it was still kinda under control. But the shitty Mummy Returns with the video game Scorpion King. I’m trying to think of other good comic book examples, but movies are so much easier.

Amor: See… I feel like there’s a rule about CGI. If it’s gonna be for something simple like… a tidal wave or a big car crash… then it better be good. If it’s gonna be bad… then at least make the creature or robot design fucking awesome.

Fish: Indeed.

Amor: We’re such nerds.