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April 24, 2008 3:42 PM   Subscribe

Fritz Langs M as adapted by comicbook artist Jon J Muth.
posted by Artw (34 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Okay ... someone help me out here. Is he actually rendering these in anything close to the traditional manner, or is he creating this in software; doing something like jazzing up scanned photos in PS, etc.
posted by RavinDave at 3:51 PM on April 24, 2008


I love the imagery, but the balloons are all wrong. Too intrusive. Too...? What?
Anybody feel similar?
posted by Dizzy at 3:51 PM on April 24, 2008


As a kid, I loved Muth's work on the Havok and Wolverine's Meltdown four-parter. Beautiful photorealistic art.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:57 PM on April 24, 2008


In the Hall of the Mountain King, you've done it again.
posted by dgaicun at 3:58 PM on April 24, 2008


And I've loved Muth ever since Meltdown and Moonshadow, back in the old Epic days, but this treatment... ehh.

If I wanted to watch the movie, I'd watch the movie.

But this is a little too photo-real; the movie as a series of stills with pastel shading. And I agree with you, Dizzy -- the font choice for the word balloons is really overwrought, and it reads like a first-pass translation from the German, and it feels intrusive to me as well.
posted by Shepherd at 4:02 PM on April 24, 2008


RavinDave - AFAIK it's all watercolours, like most of his work. I suspect some photoreffing may be involved, possibly using a lightbox.
posted by Artw at 4:05 PM on April 24, 2008


Oh shit, check that out. Fritz Lang's M is up on on teh Utoobz:

I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI
posted by dgaicun at 4:05 PM on April 24, 2008


Muth did this at least 10 years ago, i have the original series somewhere in the house and I recall reading either in the afterword or somewhere else how he created the images.

He drew them, pure and simple, because he's that good of an artist. Excellent drafting skills with a good eye for color and expressive line.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:07 PM on April 24, 2008


Pretty, but pretty much ruined by the clashingly mechanical word balloons and lettering.
posted by interrobang at 4:10 PM on April 24, 2008


Here's a link to more of Muth's stuff. Him, Dave McKean, Kent Williams and Bill Sienkiewicz did some great comic books.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:12 PM on April 24, 2008


I bought this when it came out. It's of a piece with his Dracula: A Symphony in Moonlight & Nightmares, also from about that time, also rooted in somewhat monochromatic and vividly drawn portraiture. I liked looking at them, but they didn;t move me as storytelling.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:13 PM on April 24, 2008


Actually, he's not photorealistic, now that I think about it. He just captures shadows and lighting so well that it somehow feels more real than real. I have to say this post brought a little tear to my eye, reminding me of the kid I once was, doodling in high school, envying his gift to make lighting bring out the drama and emotion of the subject.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:14 PM on April 24, 2008


@Artw ... yeah, I kinda thought so. It doesn't diminish my admiration in the least, I was just curious. Indeed, it's sort of crazy NOT to use technology to expand your repertoire.

@interrobang ... You pretty much nailed it. The dreamy noirish quality is pretty much shattered by the klutzy lettering; an idea that (no doubt) sounded great on paper.
posted by RavinDave at 4:14 PM on April 24, 2008


Bill Sienkiewicz

Oh man, The Shadow and Batman. I was in heaven. Comics were so much better in the late 80s.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:19 PM on April 24, 2008


RavinDave - AFAIK it's all watercolours, like most of his work. I suspect some photoreffing may be involved, possibly using a lightbox.

No, he didn't trace anything. He looked at stills and drew from there. And I believe he used silverpoint and something else, can't remember. Some pastels maybe, conte and charcoal?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:25 PM on April 24, 2008


Excellent post, thank you. Reminded me that my fiancee hasn't yet seen the movie; something to do this weekend!
posted by voltairemodern at 4:26 PM on April 24, 2008


Here we go:

"In the book, Muth adds his own elements to the story to create not a movie on paper but a graphic novel that stands on its own. Muth used his own photography of friends and family as well as his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, to recreate the film’s story. He then used different illustrating techniques such as drawing in silverpoint and graphite to give the art a distinctive look."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:29 PM on April 24, 2008


Page 5
"Elsie?"
...

Page 6
"Elsie?"
...

Page 7
"Elsie?"
...

Page 8
"Elsie?"
...

Page 9
"Elsie?"
...

Page 10
"Elsie?"
...

Page 11
"Elsie?"
...

Page 12
"Elsie?"
...

/film theory nerd joke
posted by SassHat at 4:31 PM on April 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Neat post! This has also accomplished two things.

1) I want to watch this movie now.

2) Thanks to dgaicun and that mountain king link I now know where the audio clip at the beginning of a Wumpscut comes from. huh.
posted by Stunt at 4:35 PM on April 24, 2008


*wumpscut SONG. I swear to god, my typing is horrible today. I blame that damned racecar typing game.
posted by Stunt at 4:36 PM on April 24, 2008


God, I love that movie, though.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:46 PM on April 24, 2008


Interesting note: Photoshop came out in 1990, the same year that Eclipse published the original series. So not only did Muth not use Photoshop, there probably wasn't a computer around that could do what he was doing. Funny how quickly the technology progressed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:50 PM on April 24, 2008


Dear sweet Jesus: 36 versions of Hall of the Mountain King, from WFMU blog!

I can't even take a light stroll through Google anymore without stumbling over giants gobs of free, quality media.
posted by dgaicun at 5:03 PM on April 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'll never hear that song the same way again.

(Not that there are now 36 different versions to listen to!)
posted by WalterMitty at 5:33 PM on April 24, 2008


The original Muth version came with Hall of the Mountain King on a little plastic 7". I have no idea where my copy went.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:37 PM on April 24, 2008


The film is a masterpiece. Go to the source and ignore this twee derivative.
posted by Wolof at 5:37 PM on April 24, 2008


The comic is great, but stuff like this always pisses me off:

"helping to usher in an era of comics that make gestures toward high art"

I read that as something like "helping provide some High Art stamp of approval that made it OK for Serious Intellectual People like me to appreciate them as art even though they always had been. Like how 'Maus' made it OK to actually think comics might tell stories!".
posted by freebird at 5:39 PM on April 24, 2008


You can download M from archive.org.
posted by octothorpe at 5:48 PM on April 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I reviewed M as part of my attempt to watch all of the Criterion Collection films. I put a bunch of links to good stuff about the film at the bottom of the post [self-link].
posted by sciurus at 6:46 PM on April 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I love M, the film. I don't mind different media adaptations but I instantly disliked this one. Not that that means I'm shitting on talent or style here it's just not M to me, but I admire the impetus nonetheless. However it reminds me of the rumour about Spielberg making a live adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, except, well, this one might respect the original whereas if Spielberg has any respect for GiTS, he won't make a live action version.

Just don't. Please.
posted by juiceCake at 8:11 PM on April 24, 2008


I just saw the film for the first time a few days ago. Thanks for the timely post!
posted by ducksauce at 9:16 PM on April 24, 2008


M was a spectacular movie, it was the first German talkie and it made much better use of audio to tell its story than any of the earliest american talkies did. That it was what introduced non-German audiences to Peter Lorre's incomparable talent isn't surprising. What is surprising is how little his talent for high drama was fully utilised afterward, despite having worked with Hitchcock and Huston.

I'd never heard of this adaptation before, despite being a comics fan, and I'm kind of blown away by how much modern dramatic comics owe to this guy. I mean, Sandman, (anything else with Dave McKean) Kingdom Come, the early black and white Brian Michael Bendis noirs (he also drew based on photos of friends in costume), ... the list goes on.
posted by shmegegge at 10:24 AM on April 25, 2008


I'd never heard of this adaptation before, despite being a comics fan, and I'm kind of blown away by how much modern dramatic comics owe to this guy. I mean, Sandman, (anything else with Dave McKean) Kingdom Come, the early black and white Brian Michael Bendis noirs (he also drew based on photos of friends in costume), ... the list goes on.

Hmm. you might want to go back and check Violent Cases or Black Orchid. Or the work of Bill Sienkiewicz, particularly Stray Toasters.

Photoreffing for comics actually goes back way earlier than that. British TV tie in comics of the 70s by the likes of Arthur Ranson were heavily photoreffed.

It’s a bit of a mixed blessing really – it can look really good, but when the image matches the photo too closely, particularly if it’s been lightboxed, the who thing can end up being a little stiff and distancing. Even realistic looking characters benefits from a little cartoonyness to give them expression on the page, something that seems to parallel the uncanny valley effect. Also when combined with heavy rendering, like the painted look, it really slows things down – something that’s fine for an atmospheric piece like M, but that can be death for a faster paced story.

Weirdly there was a really good explanation of uncanny valley, complete with the diagram from Wikipedia, on 30 rock last night.
posted by Artw at 10:49 AM on April 25, 2008


Okay, I just now finally watched M (after getting it from archive.org, boo 10 hour downloads). Wow. Yeah, I should have seen that years ago. The entire movie was great, but I especially loved the underworld trial scene near the end.

This comic would make a fantastic gift for a friend of mine who loves all things realted to either 1) serial killers or 2) old movies. Once again, Metafilter assists with awesome birthday purchasings. Glee!
posted by Stunt at 3:00 PM on April 26, 2008


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