I’m taking a few days off from my serialized posting of the original art pages to my uncollected 1994 graphic novel, “The Mark In America” to post and blog about one of the highlights of my collection, the complete set of all 9 pages of original artwork, by Lee Elias, to “Banker’s Holiday”, starring the Black Cat. The story was first printed in “Black Cat” #2, published by Harvey Comics in August/September 1946, reprinted in “Black Cat” #10 (1948), and still later in “The Original Black Cat” #5, published by Lorne-Harvey in 1991. This is page #4.
This page is fantastic for the spotting of blacks. The entire page works beautifully as a single image, but each panel can be isolated and studied individually with great pleasure.
Panel #1: The second beautifully composed and inked crowd scene, highlighting Elias’s skill with manipulating layers of depth.
Panel #2: The Black Cat on the prowl, giving Elias a chance to strut his Good Girl drawing stuff.
Panel #3: Is this cool or what? The dark interior of the bank, with the iconic shadow of the cat on the wall in the BG; in the FG we have The Black Cat, basically a white silhouette on a black BG. Unfortunately the coolness of this graphic was, I imagine, somewhat lost in the printed version due to the dark blue colors on Ms. B.C.’s uniform.
Panel #4: another virtuoso display of black spotting: the circular open bank vault ROCKS, both is its overall shape and the details of hardware picked out in bits of white.
Panel #5: the circular motif is echoed in cropped form, creating waves of ‘C’s spreading left to right across the panel. This repetition, in panels 4 and 5, gives the entire page a pleasing quality I mentioned earlier. The other repetition/variation is, panels 2, 3, 4 and 5 all foreground similarly sized small figures framed by ominous looming black shapes, resolving in:
Panel #6: where we have a pleasing medium shot of our heroine noticing the still-lit cigarette. I find the streaky black ink brushwork partially filling the background to be an interesting, somewhat incongruous effect. I would have filled the whole area with black, picking out the front edge of the desk with a white highlight. I presume Mr. Elias reasoned that Black Cat’s costume would disappear into a completely black BG. I notice he didn’t have a similar problem in panel 3 (or, at least, didn’t acknowledge it). It would be interesting to see what the colorist did with this page.
This is page #4 of 9 from “Banker’s Holiday”, starring Black Cat, from Black Cat #2, published by Harvey Comics in 1946.