Thursday, December 3, 2020

31 Days Of CCS, #3: Mercedes Campos Lopez

Mercedes Campos Lopez's entry is a good old-fashioned, 28-page comic book titled Professor Ghost. It's an absolute delight. Lopez's aesthetic sense is fully-formed, as she keeps her line simple and relies on color and her clever layouts to tell her story. The comic has a Dell or Gold Key flavor to it, as a college student named Emily tries to find out more about her mysterious English professor: Professor Ghost. He's an actual ghost in a suit of armor who needs a TA to do things like set out books and turn the pages of things he wants to read or grade. 

The story is a sweet one, as the ghost is reluctant to discuss how he died, yet betrays a tremendous sense of loneliness. Emily can't leave well enough alone but winds up helping him connect to someone in the end. The mystery angle is a funny one with an unexpected twist that makes this a relatable, human story. Lopez pulls out a lot of stops in telling the story, embracing clarity and simplicity above all else. Her line is emotionally expressive despite its simplicity, especially with a character like Professor Ghost whose face remains hidden throughout the comic. The use of body language and gesture allows Lopez to create the book's emotional narrative, which is the whole crux of the story. Lopez's color fills sometimes felt jarring, however, like a dark green on some pages that sucked up the line. The computer colors often felt artificial and even detracted from the story on occasion, as they took me out of the narrative. A bit more detail with regard to the line art to add more weight to each pane might have allowed her to back off on trying to make the colors do much of the heavy lifting narrative as well as provide backgrounds. Her line is definitely strong enough to take a more prominent role in her work. Lopez has a future doing YA comics, if she wants to go that route.

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