Thursday, January 11, 2007

Influences: Marc Hansen

In the 80s, Marc Hansen created "Ralph Snart Adventures" which, oddly enough, my mom actually discovered for me. She was on a trip to Toronto and stopped in a comic book store (I presume it was the Beguiling) to pick me up a present. She came back with "Ralph Snart" #2 and "Flaming Carrot" #12; suffice to say my mind was blown.

I immediately loved that Ralph Snart Adventures had a cartoony, appealing style but still kept an overall sense of genre adventure. It felt like the worlds were a little more real than average, even though it was apparently all a fevered dream taking place inside the head of a comatose mental patient.

There was also a sense of weight to his art style, making even the rubbery characters seem like they had mass, and could convincingly exist in the world he'd created.

His use of bizarre sound effects, poetic turns of phrase, and exaggerated gyrations of pain influenced me to loosen up my fairly tight stylistic range and add some more cartoonish elements to the adventure stuff that I was trying to do.

Later, in the 90s, he created a monster comic called "Weird Melvin" which had a number of the great things about Ralph Snart going for it (minus, unfortunately, his superb lettering; he replaced it with that godawful Whizbang font), such as the great sense of atmosphere and weight, the loonball dialogue and plotlines, and the excellent character designs (paying homage to Ed "Big Daddy" Roth with most of his hot-rodding monsters).

Marc Hansen's work stands out to me most of all because in his storytelling he so perfectly balances words and pictures, with neither one winning out over the other. A word balloon will have as much weight in a panel as a character, and that's just how it should be, if you ask me.



At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Jesse said...

One of the first comics I ever bought was Ralphsnart in 3d!!!!

It was sorta rad. In a wicked way.

Yes. I liked it.

At 7:51 AM, Anonymous danno said...

I was really into WEIRD MELVIN when he was in Comic Buyers Guide.

It was a sad, strange time in my life when I thought Rob Liefeld, Erik Larson, and Jim Lee were gods(okay, i still think Jim Lee is good in that chunky, everyonelooksthesame way), but I was also branching out to things like Weird Melvin, the aforementioned Flaming Carrot, and Radioactive Blackbelt Hampsters.
You know, the GIANTS!

Speaking of Flaming Carrot, is there anyone who didnt find something magical about Bob Burdens retro-style?

At 9:45 AM, Blogger Zander Cannon said...

I certainly did. I wouldn't say he was necessarily an influence, but only because I had no idea how he did any of his art (for a while I theorized that it was all cut paper, since all of the lines were so straight).

I might still have Flaming Carrot #12 memorized, like I did when I was 13-14-- it stuck in my mind that much.


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