As we've been working on M. Tillieux's Murder by High Tide I've become gripped by Tillieux's cartooning, especially his panel composition and pitch-perfect, push-pull blend of "naturalist" and "cartoony" figure work. What follows are a series of panels from Catch as Catch Can (the second story featured in Murder by High Tide) that I've been particularly struck by. Note: these panels, in their finished form, will be colored and lettered.
This panel reminds me of Toth or Xaime, what with how the acting, lighting and composition leads the eye to read Gil Jordan's darkened face and arm as he slowly creeps the door open to… what???
That's Gil Jordan dashing into the shadows as he's hot on the heels of Joe The Syringe. This panel stopped me cold.
I love this panel. I half expect to see my reflection in the rearview mirror. I used to think panels like this didn't work… or that you had to be Xaime to make them work, but time and time again Tilleux subtly or overtly places the reader's sightline in such a way to immerse your eye into Gil Jordan's four color world.
What could've easily been a throwaway panel graciously offers Tillieux's masterful drawing as acting equals cartooning!
Bonus! Six panel action sequence from Catch as Catch Can. (Click to see bigger.)
Tillieux's best work stands tensely between Hergé's ligne claire and Franquin's reverent bounce. It's the hearing-the-ice-crack tension of Tillieux's ink that brings it for me as it flawlessly meets the gestalt of the mystery thriller genre. And if that weren't enough, Tillieux, like American film director Howard Hawks, is a master of characterization and letting the scene play out. As a fan of the comfortable character interaction of Hawks' Rio Bravo and Hatari, I could spend all day hanging out with Gil Jordan and his assistant, Crackerjack!