A Gorgeous Comic
Metalzoic by Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill is one of the most visually beautiful comics I have ever seen. It was one of DC’s original graphic novels, published in 1986. Like other early graphic novels by Marvel and DC, the pages were magazine size, allowing for panoramic panels and generally more detailed illustrations. The interiors are drawn and watercolor-painted by the great Kevin O’Neill, best know for his work on The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
I won’t recount the plot in too much detail, because the focus for this post is the visual aspect of the book. But in hope that you will want to read the book for yourself, here is a short synopsis: in the future, the earth’s magnetic field goes wonky. Nearly all humans die out, the earth enters a new ice age, and robot animals evolve to become dominant species. There is one robot in particular, a megalomaniacal “gorilla” named Armageddon, who has upgraded his own body and is trying to become a new “god beast.” The plot largely follows Armageddon’s big match against Amok, a “mastodon” and rival robot.
Please click on this link to view an original page, including close-ups of the artwork. From a distance, the robots look so precise and complicated. But when you zoom in on a detail, you see that O’Neill uses a loose, fluid line. It is that balance between precision and fluidity that I find so appealing. Nothing feels over-drawn, in spite of the mass of visual information in each panel. This, folks, is how it is done.
Tomorrow: Mind-blowing Comic