STUDYGROUP blog

OLD COMICS WEDNESDAY: Alcatena y Barreiro’s ULRICK, part two

So, when last we left them, Enrique “Quique” Alcatena and Ricardo Barreiro had taken the legendary viking mariner Ulrich through a haunted-boat Alien retread that only sparked up a bit once we got to the hot Viking-on-Alien action. Appropriately for an ancient seafaring epic, the rest of the album shifts into a more episodic, scattershot narrative, freeing Quique to do what he loves/does best ….

… really cool designs, presented in startlingly clear vignettes.

Literally every page-spread of the book’s second half features one of these bravura scene/tone-setters.

I can’t quite put my finger on why these work so well for me and similar pin-up-style panels don’t — I guess it’s the level of detail, which shows that it clearly wasn’t done to cut corners and save drawing time, the sheer volume of thinking that went into rendering the textures and weights of the figures and objects, like a wispy precision in drawing a perfect block & tackle rig that would be barely visible in the construction panel above. It’s all deliberate, almost adamant when these panels don’t necessarily move the story forward much.

At times, Quique’s inks in this half often achieve a look that’s confident but somehow rough and delicate at the same time, like Joe Kubert inking P. Craig Russell and making that work.

GUNSHOW! Here are a few full pages to give a sense of these showstopper panels in context. The amount of texture given to the walrus-mustachioed guy’s cloak, in a panel with at least three other figures plus a decorated roof and a picture window — it just kills me.

Toward the end, these more integrated chapter pages start appearing — perhaps the earlier ones were cut from the serialized original to this collection, I don’t know — and they’re quite effective. Although that LEMURIA looks like something out of a ’70s APA.

At this point, I no longer understand what the hell is going on in the story, and I don’t care. They could have tipped-in a handwritten note reading “Hey Milo, we’re just going to fucking pelt your eyeballs with one amazing image after another until we run out of pages. Is that OK with you?”

[✓ ] Yes [ ] No

and

and

That’s right, smiling dolphin-headed creatures in cloaks, observing an aquatic Gotterdammerung. If you made it this far, this should not be a dealbreaker.

“….. I thought I was having a dream …..”

I like this panel because it reminds me of the brief period in Mike Mignola’s development when his core style was set but he still squiggled quite a bit in his inking. The End.

1 comment
  1. ant says: 12/09/201216:26

    FFUUUUUUUUUCK

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