Thursday, July 02, 2009

Poor cover art for "Western" from Accent UK

By gum, it's been a while since my last complaint.

And man have there been a lot of Western comics lately. Two new anthologies just popped on my radar (this one and Outlaw Territory), and I just saw that they're making a The Good, Bad, and the Ugly comic (the preview doesn't grab me, and I may write a post about the ridiculous break-top 1851 Navy seen in one of the panels).

The subject of today's post is the cover to Western, drawn by Kirk Manley.

My problems are only with the guns. First off, you have the shell ejectors (the tubes along the undersides of the barrels), which, on an actual SAA (the gun I'm assuming Manley is trying to depict), are actually located along the south-western side of the barrel (from this view). The picture below reveals this beautifully.

On later double-action revolvers, where the cylinders swung out, the ejector rod was moved to the position Manley depicted. But on SAAs, you can't push a shell out through the center of the cylinder, so the ejection takes place right there through the open loading gate (as show above). A lot of artists are guilty of substituting double-action revolver characteristics on their cowboy guns (as I've pointed out in the past). While the ejector housing location isn't a huge sin, it still demonstrates a lack of research and reference.

Other minor sins include the fact that the ejector rod looks hollow, like another barrel. The back of the trigger-guard also appears to connect with the grip, which is incorrect for any revolver. It looks like a revolver top welded to a 1911 grip (the pistol on the right is a clearer example). The pattern on the grip, too, was not common on revolvers back then.

But the biggest sin of Manley's should be obvious to the layman. Did you find it yet? Take a look at the grips. Look at where they enter the top of the fist and where they exit out the bottom. See it? It looks like this cowboy is squeezing those grips so hard they're coming out the bottom of his fists like a gooey piece of taffy. It's really obvious on the right side. Doesn't that look horrible? The grips are way too long. Even if they were structured correctly, you wouldn't see that much grip coming out of the bottom of his hand. The length combined with the way they bend forward towards the viewer makes for a really poorly referenced drawing that is glaringly bad once you're aware of it. Not only is the gun anatomically incorrect, but Manley didn't use reference of a hand holding a gun.

I also wonder if Matt will have something to say about the font used for the title. Isn't it that same over-used font that we saw in the Man with No Name comic?


Matt said...

It sure is. Bleeding Cowboys strikes again! It is a real shame, too. I recently purchased a font pack of beautiful western fonts. I was about to suggest that these western comic creators should pay attention to their fonts a little more, but when I see that they don't even care about the accuracy of their guns (which is a fairly major piece of every western I've read or seen!), I guess it all make sense.

You should create a 'how to draw accurate western guns' book, and give me a brief opportunity to talk about the importance of font selection.

Also, nice job calling me out to comment. I was going to post a complaint about you not posting a complaint post, but you redirected my enthusiasm. Well done.

Ryan said...

I think a book on typography for comics could stand on its own for value. I've seen manga "how to" books on guns, but they were all for modern guns, which are easier to fudge because there are so many variations out there. My contribution would be a footnote in your book!

Nobody said...

You're right, the Play-Doh grips are bad, but the shell ejectors bending from the side to the center of the barrel is an optical firearm illusion worthy of the great Liefeld himself.

I never thought I would have a friend who is a gun nut, but your appreciation of them more as design classics than as weapons suits my sensibility I guess.

Though if you ever found an intruder in your house I'm sure you would actually use your pistols rather than try to subdue him with their sheer aesthetic purity.

Ryan said...

"Freeze! I've got a gun here, and it will dazzle you with its beauty of form!"

jeri said...

It strikes me as a font that would get used in a Christian PowerPoint. At least, it would be ONE of the fonts, since apparently they must use at least 5 fonts per slide. Does anyone else see these at their church? They drive me nuts.

Ryan said...

When I was working for a church after graduation, I was in charge of formatting the church bulletin. The choir guy would submit his sections and they would frequently have 3 different (and non-compatible) fonts. I tried to explain to him why that was bad design, but he gave me a look that said, "I'm the ministry guy, just put it in. People like different fonts."

Nobody said...

Do you know of any easy to use online reference materials for font compatibility?

Like if I'm using a particular font but need a quick suggestion for a complementary font for some headings -- Quick, what should I use? -- then I can look it up on this life-saving site.

Ryan said...

Matt might. I'm not a typography expert; the issues I ran into at the church was obvious stuff like combining Comic Sans, Times New Roman, and Impact on the same ad (I think I just heard a graphic designer die!). A thin "hand-written" font, a thin serifed font, and a sans-serif really thick font.

There is probably a lot of theory about font usage that Matt could point you to.