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Making a Bloody Comic? Watch This First.

The latest 'Strip Panel Naked' takes on how to effectively use violence in comics.
This intricate panel captures three distinct moments that all culminate in blood. Panel from The Strange Talent of Luther Strode by Justin Jordan, Tradd Moore, and Felipe Sobreiro. Screencap via

It's a focus on framing violence in this week’s episode of Strip Panel Naked, an essential ongoing mini-masterclass in comic-making. While any old indie can fill its pages with gore to attract attention, some creators are more careful with their craft. Hass Otsmane-Elhaou, comic guru and creator of Strip Panel Naked, sets his sights on the very bloody The Strange Talent of Luther Strode by writer Justin Jordan, illustrator Tradd Moore, and colorist Felipe Sobreiro. Otsmane-Elhaou was interested in exploring this brutal comic, “because it primarily does one thing: violence. It does it a lot.” And though at times, comics are grotesque just to be grotesque, “there's a lot of clever work going into how Strode builds its famously violent moments. So I take a look at how panel borders, pacing, framing and coloring all affect how we perceive these moments of violence.”


Otsmane-Elhaou believes this book, despite its graphic nature, deserves an intense study: “It's very easy to pick up this book, flick through a few pages and think it's just violence and nothing else. But it's done in particular ways which are all intended to build and ramp up as the comic does. So what it adds is moments of emphasis, the first violent images you see in the book really stick in your mind. But as the book continues, and it becomes more and more intense and more and more graphic, you do start to become desensitised somewhat.” This calls into question the very nature of the content of the work as “the moments start to feel much less impressive, because you're getting so much of the violence.”

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Even teeth can be deadly weapons in this comic. Panel from The Strange Talent of Luther Strode by Justin Jordan, Tradd Moore, and Felipe Sobreiro. Screencap via

This week's video also focuses on the use of color to accent and highlight the violence. “It's all about focusing the eye,” says Otsmane-Elhaou. “What [color artist Felipe] Sobreiro does here with these extra highlights is just make you keep your eye on a particular element. Rather than wandering around the page, your eye is always drawn the brightest part of an image, so Sobreiro does the simple thing of brightening these impact points to let you know where to look.” Does all this gore need the extra attention? “Well, it's there for a reason in this book—for you to look at it, and feel impactful. Color is supremely important in making that happen.”

Watch this week’s Strip Panel Naked for yourself, below (but be warned, the comic covered is pretty damn violent):


To watch back episodes of Strip Panel Naked, head to the series' Youtube page. If you like what you see, consider donating to SPN on Patreon.


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