June 22, 2009

Flappy Toy!

Artwork by Mark Bagley and Scott McDaniel for Trinity #37
Discussed: Scott McDaniel, Mark Bagley, Alex Nino and Frank Frazetta

Trinity #37
DC Comics Feb. 2009 Cover Date
$2.99 Cover Price

Image below is a page from Trinity #37. Artwork by Scott McDaniel.
Scott McDaniel Trinity Punch and Jewelee
Click image to view enlarged version

(See the main Trinity Page here)


The art by Scott McDaniel for the back-up tale in Trinity #37 is effective and eye-catching. The lettering for the story title is under-developed, to say the least, and makes me pine for the days of yore when the artists who drew the rampaging heroes and heroines careening across the pages also usually had nice logo styling skills, if not expert lettering skills (like Jim Aparo, or Jack Kirby, for example, or see the sample below of Alex Nino title page art and letter styling from Old Samurai Never Die, Weird War Tales #13 from DC Comics 1972).

Alex Nino Panel Old Samurai
Click to enlarge to see entire page of Alex Nino Artwork.

A lot of those old comics were hand lettered with a brush by Ben Oda. I remember Frank Frazetta who said ink brush work is a young man's skill, because it takes such control and, I guess, an athletic kind of instinct (drawing and athletics are fairly similar, both are physical in an extreme sense, both supercede mere training but require some element of talent, which is hard to explain or even pinpoint.)*

Speaking of Frazetta, his fluid inks and expert drawing style somehow looks stiff and almost like a book illustration compared to the wildly flowing forms of artists Scott McDaniel and Mark Bagley in this issue of Trinity #37. They're no match whatsoever for the amount of information Frazetta puts into a drawing, but the "Michelangelo of Phantasy Art" seems restrained by comparison. Styles have changed.

Frank Frazetta panel from Untamed Love. Click to enlarge.
Frank Frazetta Untamed Love

Frazetta art from Squeeze Play from EC Comics Shock SuspenStories #13
Frazetta artwork
Click to enlarge this Frazetta panel to a larger size.


McDaniel has several nice moments in the story. His page design either works or is too crazy: I don't mean just hit-and-miss artwork, but designs that just don't make a lot of sense for telling a story. Maybe McDaniel is heading toward a semi-pure abstract sense. On the other hand, the story (by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza) is taking place within the mind of Batman arch-fiend-marketing-payday The Joker. Since he is written as crazy, maybe the gooey page designs (they sometimes look like the panels are melting or are dripping) fits.

Joker by Scott McDaniel

"Happiness is a warm puppy" pens writer Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza for this backup feature in Trinity #37. Basically a ride through the Joker's demonic mind, the artwork and storytelling is kept much lighter than what you would find in many of the other DC Comics 'Joker' books which seem to have gone overboard trying to keep up with the The Dark Knight Returns movie from Christopher Nolan and his brother Jonathan. Busiek's Joker is fiendishly goofy and dangerous, pointing at the mayhem and bloodshed without throwing it all around, more or less in the same vein as the Paul Dini Batman/Joker.
Warm Puppy
Click to view this page larger. Art by Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens.


The lead feature in Trinity #37 is of course the teaming of Batman - Superman - Wonder Woman (or, as they're called in this tale "Atmahn, Dinanna, Kellel").

Trinity is a in a 52 issue story arc that is trying to take on the idea of religion and mythology wrapped up in a DC alternative universe setting with their three most important properties. The religious thinking in the series is pretty goofy, a combination of quasi-Greek mythology and Christianity with much else tossed in besides.

The beings in this alternative place are analogous of earth human beings, except depicted here as nearly puppet like in actions and sameness.

Mark Bagley artwork from Trinity #37.Click to enlarge.

After several pages of bloodshed and rampaging (wrath of the gods, I guess), suddenly the "trinity of hero gods' realize that violence isn't the way and love is, so they stop and lament all the damage that's been done. This change spins up so quickly in the tale there is no explanation for it, and the dialogue, which had been like a weird riff on bloodthirsty saga poetry becomes PC monologues of inner self-actualization (and self-absorbtion).

With 52 issues in which to tell the tale, why do the plot turns have to be so clumsy and machine-like? What do editors at DC Comics do exactly? Do they say "make it more wooden?" If so, complete success has been achieved.

Below Mark Bagley panels from Trinity #37. Click to enlarge.
Mark Bagley Superman Batman Wonder Woman

*(One difference, though, is that I doubt steroids will boost a drawing skill much, though seems to play havoc with the record books in pro sports.)

Related: Wonder Woman index

Scott McDaniel

Trinity #37, Feb 11 2009, Review

Trinity #37, Feb 11 2009, Scott McDaniel Joker Puppy Page

Trinity #37, Feb 11 2009, Scott McDaniel Joker Page

Trinity #37, Feb 11 2009, Scott McDaniel Joker Page 2

Detective Comics #867, Sept 2010, Scott McDaniel page

Detective Comics #867, Sept 2010, Scott McDaniel spread

Detective Comics #867, Sept 2010, Scott McDaniel Joker Gang

Detective Comics #870, Dec 2010, 2-page Spread by Scott McDaniel

Detective Comics #870, Dec 2010, Guardian Bats by Scott McDaniel

Countdown Arena #3, Feb 2008, Review

Countdown Arena #3, Feb 2008, Scott McDaniel Wonder Woman

Countdown Arena #3, Feb 2008, Multiple Wonder Woman

Countdown Arena #3, Feb 2008, Scott McDaniel Superman

Batman Confidential #22, Dec 2008, Review

Batman Confidential #22, Dec 2008, Scott McDaniel Splash Page

Batman Confidential #22, Dec 2008, Joker Mugshot Page




Trinity Vol 1 Trinity Vol 2 Trinity Vol 3

Wonder Woman Transformation 1978

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