For Every Action...

By | Thursday, November 02, 2006 Leave a Comment
Okay, somewhere out in the blogosphere (and I can't seem to retrace my steps now) I stumbled across an image of Batman backhanding some woman who... well, I don't know who she was or what the context of the story was. But the image showed Batman swinging his right arm out in an arc behind him, tagging her on the jaw; she was falling back to her right and some blood/spit/liquid was arcing out of her mouth.

Let me repeat that: "she was falling back to her right".

That just annoys me to no end. If someone gets punched or kicked or otherwise physically assaulted, they will NOT -- let me repeat: NOT -- fall into the direction of the attack. Let's take a look at two covers that feature people getting hit:

In Sub-Mariner #40, we see that Namor is getting whacked across the jaw with a large ball and chain. We're shown the arc of the ball and where in it's arc that it struck Namor. This makes sense given the positions and stances of Turalla and Namor. However, you will note that Namor's head -- indeed, his whole torso -- is twisting towards the viewer -- that is, INTO the path of the swinging ball. You've heard of people "rolling with the punch" to help lessen an impact? Sub-Mariner #40 (and that Batman image I described above) are the opposite of that.

Silver Surfer #18 shows how it should work. Galactus has taken his left fist, swung from his left to right, and struck the In-Betweener. Again, we're shown exactly what the arc of his fist was and exactly where along that arc that In-Betweener was struck. The In-Betweener's head and torso are twisting toward the viewer not unlike the Sub-Mariner. The difference, though, is HOW they are struck. Galactus' fist is effectively pushing the In-Betweener's face toward the viewer with the In-Betweener's body following along, whereas Turalla's attack should be pushing Namor away from the viewer.

This is rudimentary science that most of us learned as kids on the playground. Sure, I could get into an extended essay on Netwon's third law of motion, but there's an inherent "naturalness" to the world that everyone recognizes at an instinctual level. If you push an object, it moves in the direction you pushed it. That trained comic book artists screw this up EVER bothers me to no end. That it happens with any regularity is downright frightening!

So, do me a favor: if you see artists drawing unnatural fisticuffs, let them know they're screwing up. They might not like to hear the criticism, but if they take a moment to actually listen to it, they'll become better artists and we'll all be better off.
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