Today’s panel comes from one of my all-time favorite single-issue stories, Demo volume 1, issue 5, written by Brian Wood and illustrated by Becky Cloonan. This is panel 1 from page 23, and may be sort of a cheat for this blog, as it’s the only panel on the page. I’m the judge here, so I’ll allow it.
In this story, Wood and Cloonan examine the difference between the person you see in the mirror and the persona that outsiders project upon you. In a way, it’s a battle between introversion and extroversion through the tale of this young woman, Kate. Here, Kate stands on the steps of a bus as she realizes that she can be guilty of prejudging others, just as others have done to her.
Along with the fantastic story being told here, I love the way Becky Cloonan drew this panel. The choice to cant the image slightly makes the composition far more interesting to my eye. Cloonan’s use of medium close up allows her to show Kate’s crossed arms, almost as if she’s hugging herself, while still focusing mainly on Kate’s face. Kate’s expression is one of unpleasant understanding, but not one of sadness. At the same time, are those the beginnings of tears or just raindrops beneath Kate’s eyes, as on her forehead, neck, cheek, and hands? Could be either, could be both.
Finally, I love the way Cloonan depicts the rain, illuminated against the darkness by the light from the bus. I’m guessing here, but I believe this was done with white paint (or whiteout) on a dry brush. The long, thick streaks, combined with some smaller lines and the curves of the bouncing raindrops creates a feel of authenticity to the rain. Perhaps it’s an odd association, but it reminds me of the shots of illuminated rainfall shown every time a baseball game has a rain delay.
All that makes this panel the standout from an outstanding story.