The webcomics blog about webcomics

From Legibility to Legerdemain to Legitimately Great

Once you’ve mastered the art of Legibility that my cohort is illustrating for you (at great length, no less), you can start to hope to reach the act of sheer magic that is Jenn Manley Lee‘s Dicebox.

The artwork in Dicebox is simply exquisite, and it’s no wonder. Her process could only be described as insane did it not produce such amazing works. Notice that she casually mentions printing bluelines on Bristol. She goes from sketchbook to computer back to paper and then back to computer again! And then takes the time to create customized color palettes for each of her characters and it still on average only takes her 14 hours or so to create a page! No wonder Dicebox was nominated for an Ignatz Award, but it’s really too bad she didn’t win.

The artwork is only half of what makes Dicebox so very very well done. The other half of the story, if you’ll forgive me, is the way she tells the story itself. Each chapter seemingly illustrates only the middle part of the events that take place. Most chapters picks up several days or more after the end of the last chapter. Granted, some of this is merely a device to skip endless pages of sitting in a spaceship travelling around. But there’s still the sense that important moments in the lives of and in the relationship between Griffen and Molly have occurred. These are real people, with real lives that go on whether you’re watching or not. They eat, and bleed and fight and have sex. (so, yeah. Not safe for work.)

This is a comic that could survive on just the artwork or just the story. But together, they are just sublime.

Sublime is the right word exactly. “Dicebox” is one of those stories thtat’s so good that in inspires me to want to keep making comics, while at the same making me question why I should even bother–since I’ll never be able to compete with that kind of talent. Seriously wonderful work.

[...] The art is detailed, with specific colors for each character, and has been talked about before. Jenn even outlines it for the readers. I’m more interested in the story telling – and the way that Dicebox is driven by character dialogue. Griffen and Molly have the most impressive dialogue, which shows the intimacy between them in the details that are left out (because they don’t need to say them). [...]

[...] Fleen review [...]

[...] every panel (see the piece written by my erstwhile cohort Jeff Lowrey more than five years ago on this very page), and it’s been going on for so long, one just assumes the brilliance is obvious and takes it [...]

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