21 October 2013

Battling for Space

On Saturday a bunch of us were standing around the Million Year Picnic comics store looking at my newly purchased copy of Paul Pope’s Battling Boy, volume 1. (Okay, one of us was Jeff Smith.)

We were struck by the book’s size: 6 inches wide by 8.5 tall. That’s what publisher First Second has chosen as its “typical trim size.” (This spring the company tried 7 by 9 inches for the first time on a book for younger readers, more like a picture book.)

We weren’t convinced that size was ideal for Battling Boy. It’s an epic story of, basically, a godling come to Earth to fight huge monsters. Pope’s draftsmanship combines small details and messy chaos. Likewise, his lettering is too full of energy to be crisp. Those pages might have much more impact at a larger size.

But there is hope. According to this interview with Bleeding Cool, Pope and First Second are planning “a black and white oversized artists edition” for his 1990s THB comic, and:
We might even do this with Battling Boy depending on how the popularity is. My drawings are huge and a lot of the artists I meet in the industry give me the only complaint I’ve heard about Battling Boy which is that they wish it was black and white like THB where they can really see the line work.
Until then, maybe one quality that makes Battling Boy a comic for kids is that their eyes can get more out of it than us readers on the aging side.

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