Ex Machina

I’ve been reading some comics lately – I started reading Saga on my sister’s recommendation. Since I lean writerly, even in comics, that led me to look back at other work by Brian K. Vaughan (this is how newbie I am with comics, is ComicVine like the IMDB? I can’t seem to find a standard). I’d started (but not finished, an important theme in my media consumption habits) Y: The Last Man, which I’d started but not finished (repeat of that) and then back again to Ex Machina.

First Hundred Days Cover
First Hundred Days Cover

It’s an interesting mix of superhero and politics. Because it flashes and back and forth in time it literally works through superhero adventures while flashing forward to the same guy being the mayor in the future and how hard the politics are to deal with. That stuff it does pretty well.

I started noticing that the art was different from other comics I’d read lately. For example, Sin City, a new benchmark for abstract or artful use of light and dark (maybe along with 30 Days of Night?) this was much more straightforward in style. It looked like they could have just used models. Well, LO AND BEHOLD that’s what they did. In a cool DVD-extra type addition to the first book it shows this process. They have a cast list (the people they shot along with the characters they modeled for) and a couple of example starting with the photographs and ending with the inked panels. It’s really fascinating to see this process as I think about my own basic animation stuff.

The limitation of this approach, that some of the frames look like posed actors, is likely made up in time saved by having models to work from. I was also surprised at how well they took characters and changed race and size. I went back in my mind about other comics that might have used this process – and which haven’t.

Model to Drawing
Model to Drawing
Model to Drawing
Model to Drawing
images of Ex Machina characters with the actors who modeled
Ex Machina Cast List

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