Virtually all comic artists have little signature approaches to their work, tiny tell-tale aspects in their drawing style or composition which, once you spot, you can never unsee. It can be how they depict difficult-to-draw bits of anatomy, such as hands or feet, or the way they craft facial features or big action scenes, every artist’s art is their ultimate signature.
“Wanna know the EASIEST way to show the EMOTION of a character in a fairly short amount of time?? Draw a close-up panel on the eye (I told you it was easy).” The Image comics founder revealed, before confessing, “this became a trademark of mine when I was trying to set the stage for what could otherwise been a VERY slow page in the overall story.”
The post is accompanied by a page of the artist’s work from “Amazing Spider-Man” #318. The page, containing one of these classic ocular close-ups, comes as part of a simple three-panel layout that stars the elderly Marvel villain Justin Hammer. Hammer is explaining to the reader his motives for supplying Mac Gargan, A.K.A. the Scorpion, with a new super-suit. With little scope for dynamic action to depict, McFarlane instead shifts the focus onto how he frames the villain.
Although it is difficult to judge exactly which emotion is being expressed by Hammer’s eye, even with the aid of an impressively fierce eyebrow, the panel certainly adds some visual interest into what could otherwise have simply been a splash page of an old man in a fancy apartment.
As McFarlane puts it, despite “being on a deadline, I didn’t have to compromise the art AND it looked COOL (cuz you know I like things that look cool).”
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