Apr 9, 2010

Sgt. Fury, Pg. 4

I think it's fun to take a single Kirby page, approach it as an individual piece of storytelling, and look at what Jack was trying to achieve. Yesterday I zoomed into a close-up of Nick Fury because I think Fury is the character that looks the most visually like Kirby. That image came from page 2, of Sgt. Fury #4, and was inked by George Roussos (under the pen name of George Bell). Although not one of Jack's most iconic pages, it's an example of how even Jack's less spectacular work was still very solid.

Here is a scan of the page photographed from the original art.

Panel one: is an extreme-long-shot. You have 2 soldiers in the foreground. One points upwards, leading the eye towards the sky and all of the various aircraft in the distance. Notice the buildings are all standing, and you can see pedestrians hustling to get off the streets. Throughout the whole page notice how foreground characters are on the left, and background characters are on the right, leading your eye across the page left-to-right.

Panel two: is a long-shot. Fury is the focus of the image, pumping his fist at the heavens. Note Dum Dum running for cover.

Jack would leave space at the top of a panel so Lee could add text. I wonder if as Jack composed this page he thought Dum Dum should be saying something comical as he runs out of the frame, then Fury would speak. It may be that Lee decided that instead of two dialogue balloons he would only include one to capture the impact of Jack's explosive composition. Notice how the other three panels have captions at the top creating a frame in the bottom 2/3 of the image, but here Dum Dum shatters that pattern, and it's almost tempting to get out of his way as he makes a run for it.

How many times have you seen a scene like this in a contemporary movie? In action films, it's almost a cliche now to have the obligatory shot of the hero running toward the viewer as a massive explosion fills the frame in the background.

Panel three: Another long-shot. I zoomed into the image to show that Lee does a nice job here not inserting too much dialogue; he let's the desolation of the background in the image speak for itself. Note George Roussos's use of line variety to add different textures to the buildings and smoke. The devastation is a stark contrast to panel one. Also look closely at how the three characters hands are very nicley rendered and highlighted by background elements, and the three characters create a triangle.

Panel four: a medium shot, and a three-shot. Kirby moves in so we can see Fury's face as well as the young lady who appears to be a nurse. We can't see the young man's face, but from Fury's expression we can assume the prognosis is not good.

I wonder if Samuel L. Jackson will be able to capture that kind of compassion when he plays Kirby's Nick Fury in the upcoming film scheduled for 2011.