An advantage that comics possess over prose literature is the cinematic aspects talented artists can bring to the page; indeed, a talented cartoonist can impart motion and menace to the page. Tom Siddell has managed to capture these elements in the last couple of updates for his contemporary fantasy webcomic Gunnerkrigg Court as Antimony has fled from a maddened Ysengrin. I couldn’t help but compare some pages to the animated film “Princess Mononoke” (specifically, the scenes at the start with the demonic spirit that attacks the protagonist).
But it was the middle and second-to-last panel in today’s comic that especially hit home; Siddell did a superb job with shading with Ysengrin glaring out from the brush at Antimony, while there was a genuine sense of ominous motion as Ysengrin climbed down the embankment. Extra care was given for those panels (especially when you consider the rest of the panels, with Antimony having minimal shading, outside of highlights in her hair, to those other panels). Even as Ysengrin crawls down the embankment toward her, there is full lighting effect with him… but not Antimony.
I can’t help but wonder if Siddell had a specific artistic purpose for the differences between Antimony and the environment around her. While Antimony has grown to love the Wood (and even appears to have a boyfriend among its residents), she’s an outsider and not one of them. Though when you think of it, there is a certain bit of irony in depicting Antimony artistically as a fairly flat, unshaded cartoon amidst the textured world of the Wood around her, seeing that she is the comic’s protagonist. But this could be Siddell’s method of subtly depicting that Antimony is not really of the world of the Court or the Wood; instead, she is Other, much as she was when the comic first began.
Addendum note: Considering that even Eglamore is shaded but Antimony remains mostly flat colors with no shading? I’m probably onto something here.