Expressive Lettering Fills in the Gaps in Despicable Deadpool 298

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

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“All that people care about is the look. There’s figures on this: 70% of what people react to is the look, 20% is how you sound, and only 10% is what you say.”

-Eddie Izzard, Dressed to Kill

Here’s something that’s true about comics: it’s a medium full of speaking characters that we will never actually hear speaking. By Izzard’s math, that means there’s a full fifth of a character’s essence we’re never really going to get through images and words on the page. As Deadpool pulls out all the stops to finally achieve suicide-by-mercenary, so too does the creative team pull out all the stops to express the height of his desperation. All the usual gears are spinning perfectly: Gerry Duggan’s writing is as simultaneously tight and chaotic as ever, and Mike Hawthorne’s impeccable layouts convey an almost grueling understanding of the setting of this issue-long brawl. But I want to focus on that elusive final 20% — “how you sound” — with Joe Sabino’s excellent lettering in this issue. Continue reading

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How Lettering Sells the Loss in Deadpool 34

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Comic book creators have so many tools at their disposal for exploring sadness. There’s the acting of the characters, the framing of a panel, setting, color and even dialogue if it comes down to it. Throughout their run with The Merc With the Mouth, writer Gerry Duggan and artist Matteo Lolli have utilized every one of these tools to convey the extreme despair at the center of Wade’s life, and his climatic battle with Preston is no exception. The sky turns red, and all other color disappears, in the abandoned town of Pleasant Hill, setting a strong emotional tone for the battle. The previous issue saw Preston turning off her emotions (literally — she’s a robot and can just mute those things), but Lolli’s insistence on her steely visage actually ends up communicating more about the fatalism driving Wade’s fall from grace. Continue reading

Deadpool 24

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Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Deadpool 24, originally released January 11th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Spencer: What lengths would you go to to save your family? What sacrifices and compromises would you be willing to make? That’s a question we quite often ask of our heroes (comic book or otherwise), but that question usually implies that a character has some sort of ethics, values, or morals they’d have to struggle about breaking or abandoning in the first place. Deadpool doesn’t really have any of those things, though; what he has to give up to save his family is something far different, but just as important to him. Continue reading

Deadpool 21

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Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Deadpool 21, originally released October 26th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Taylor: The Music Box Theater in Chicago has an ongoing series of film showings called “Is It Still Funny?” The premise of the event is that viewers go and watch an older comedy film and then listen to a discussion that begs the questions “is this film even funny anymore?” It’s an interesting idea and I think it works because unlike other genres, comedy tends to not age well. There’s a slew of reasons for that and here is not really the place to get into it, but the question is interesting when applied to a character like Deadpool. At what point do all of his antics fail to amuse and humor? More importantly, at what point do they begin to put innocent lives in danger?

Continue reading

Deadpool 45

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Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Deadpool 45, originally released April 8th, 2015.

Taylor: At the risk of sounding trite, a funeral is an event where people come together to celebrate the life of someone who has passed on. Even though most funerals are more somber than celebratory, the very nature of the event is to recognize someone who has died and to give those who remain closure. The much heralded Deadpool 45 is the issue where Deadpool dies and in many ways it acts like a funeral for Deadpool, even before the man himself has died. It offers closure to those who have read the series the past couple years and also reminds us just how much we ware going to miss the Merc With the Mouth, even if we know he won’t be gone for long. Continue reading

Thor 4

Alternating Currents: Thor 4, Spencer and Drew

Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Thor 4, originally released January 28th, 2014.

Spencer: Would my life be different if I had a different name? Back in high school I thought Spencer was a nerdy sounding name and that it gave me an automatic handicap when it came to being “cool,” but now that I’ve matured I’ve come to realize that my name didn’t dictate my personality or path in life. Still, as I’ve grown to love and appreciate my name it’s come to feel like an intrinsic part of my personality; it may not have shaped my life, but it’s grown with me and absorbed my qualities, and if somebody took my name away from me, it would feel like I was losing a part of myself. That’s the exact situation Thor Odinson finds himself facing in Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman’s Thor 4, an issue that firmly establishes the new Thor while also showing just exactly what that means for the old one. Continue reading

Thor 3

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Thor 3, originally released November 12th, 2014.

Taylor: Despite what you may think of them, the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies are amazing for one thing in particular. No, I’m not talking about the infinite pools of blue that are Orlando Bloom’s eyes, I’m talking about the insane amount of detail present in each installment. From swords wielded by extras on down to the authentic briar used to create Gandalf’s pipe, it all is produced with detail and realism in mind. And while Thor may not be known for its realism, the series does possess a staggering amount of detail which I find positively delightful. Thor 3 is an exemplar of this and is another solid installment in this run. Continue reading

Thor 2

thor 2Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Thor 2, originally released November 12th, 2014.

Taylor: One of the best (and if I’m being totally honest with myself, the very best) parts of visiting a comic book convention is seeing the costumes donned by the attendees. It’s rare that you get to see grown men and women enthusiastically dressed in costumes which reference their pastimes. In particular, I’ve always enjoyed the gender-swapped costumes which many an industrious con-goer has crafted. It speaks to a reader’s dedication when they take the time to craft a costume that is at once recognizable as being the character in question, but also bold enough to envision that character as a different gender. The reboot of Thor, with a lady acting as the titular character, seems to have taken ques from the bold women who have gender swapped heroes in the past. In similar fashion, this She-Thor doesn’t take guff from anyone and is at once assured and powerful. Continue reading

Deadpool 26

Alternating Currents: Deadpool 26, Drew and Shelby

Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Deadpool 26, originally released March 26th, 2014

Drew: Third-person omniscient perspective is perhaps the most common in all of storytelling, but it’s also the weirdest. That kind of birds-eye-view of a situation we’re otherwise not involved in is utterly unnatural, yet we almost never question it when we read it. Who is it that’s telling us this story? Why are they telling it? Sometimes these questions are addressed in-narrative, but more often than not, we’re meant to accept that our narrator is not a character at all, but some mysterious force that reveals this story to us just for the sake of it. This can get even more complicated in visual media, like comics and film, where the visual narrator can exist independent of the voiceover narration. Deadpool 26 takes gleeful advantage of that complexity, creating a comic that very explicitly feels like a comic, effectively challenging all of our notions as to what exactly that means.

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Thor: God of Thunder 8

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Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 8, originally released May 8th, 2013.

Patrick: I’ve got a story I like to tell about the end of my tequilla renaissance. Shelby and Taylor were there, they can tell you that I made some bad decisions that evening where booze was concerned. I’ll spare you all the theatricality of it, but highlights include: leading my friends in an incoherent late-night jam of Mario Bros. music in our apartment building; crying naked in the bathroom; and vomiting in the bed. What can I say – I’m a classy guy. If only I’d been accompanied by two more-experienced versions of myself-from-the-future, maybe I could have made less impulsive decisions that night. Maybe. Let’s see how that same line of thinking applies to Thor. Continue reading