In what will be an ongoing feature on this site, I’m going to take a rather in depth look at some of my favorite and most inspirational individual pages throughout the great pantheon of my lazily-strewn-about-my-office comics collection.
From The Punisher #13 by Rick Remender, Tony Moore, Mike Hawthorne, Dan Brown, and Joe Caramagna
In a medium that gets its fair share of bad raps, the latest storyline in The Punisher gets its own volatile breed of bad rapsterism from many fans. Write Rick Remender had the audacity to kill Frank Castle, gritty urban vigilante, and turn him into a Frankenstein’s Monster. Remender had been tasked with integrating Castle into the Marvel Universe proper, which is the same where a family of weirdos has the biggest building in the city and keeps like four or five black holes in its sub-basement. This particular issue has Frank defending an underground city of monsters from an elite team of samurai monster killers.
I chose this page for reasons that should probably be pretty obvious. What probably catches the eye first is the fantastic line art of Tony Moore and Mike Hawthorne. Detailed, expressive, and in no way afraid to be completely and luxuriously exaggerated, it’s a fantastic style. And Dan Brown’s colors simply enhance it. Dig a little deeper, though (as I am frequently wont to do), and you notice the simple but wildly effective rhythm of the panel to panel storytelling. Each image is a perfect segment of an even, 4/4 beat of action and sound (aided by the often overlooked art of lettering, here by Joe Caramagna). Thus, Remender is almost unfairly aided in the delivery of this incredibly stark but snappy bon mot from Frank Castle.
Yes, there’s a huge explosion on the following page, and yes, it is awesome. But I like to linger on this one sequence, this one moment. Frozen in amber, the joke can often carry as much weight, or even more, than the punchline itself.
And those are just a few of the reasons why these four panels, in sequence, form one of the Great Pages In Comic Book History.