xkcd, webcomic
Randall Munroe

As some of you know, I like to rant blog about the art aspect of the comics I read. I love JH Williams and I love Alphonse Mucha and Caravaggio, and from this, one might reasonably suppose that I abhor a lot of art.

Which I do. But I also love a lot of art. The great thing about successful art is that it communicates. Art doesn’t have to be perfectly anatomically correct, pure of line, based on divine proportion, or created with pigments ground from semi-precious stones in order to make the reader sigh, laugh, or feel that moment of beauty. It just has to work.

Check this out:

I love this. The art is simple, but it’s got a kind of silly grace to it that makes it perfect for its subject matter. There’s no weird lumpy anatomy getting in the way of the joke or the compassion. There’s just the guy on his deck and the woodpecker.

And this, titled “Duty Calls”:

Come on, who hasn’t been there?

The anatomy is perfect. Yes, I know it’s a stick figure, but work with me here. The impact on the keys. The forward focus. The flat screen and the computer chair.

This doesn’t depend on anatomy, but it does depend on perspective and layout. It’s also funny and sweet and warming. I like it.

See, I think there’s a lot to be said for simplicity and humor and just plain getting the point across. The art needs to serve the point of the communication. Some of the, hmmm, shall we say overmuscled super hero comics seem to miss the idea that the art needs to communicate as much as the words do. I often wonder what would happen if the dialog was removed from the mainstream comics I have been reading. Would anyone still look at it? I’m not so sure.

But back to xkcd. It’s funny. And I love that. I am going to leave you with one of my absolute favorite comics of all time, which I have been tempted to buy in tee shirt form. (I have not, as yet, ever been tempted to buy another comic in shirt form.)

This is really better large, so here’s the link.

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