Great comic book art: Aparo "twitches"

I've always loved Jim Aparo's art. His Brave and Bold was a favorite of mine and, for my money, he's one of the best-ever Batman artists: Right up there with Dick Sprang, Carmine Infantino, Neal Adams and Marshall Rogers.

His graphic storytelling was dramatic and easy to follow. His figure work and use of blacks and whites was superb--hearkening back the great newspaper strip art of Milt Caniff, Alex Raymond and others. Much of the time, he inked and even lettered his own work--great stuff.

But one thing I never paid much explicit attention to until recently was Aparo's deft use of lines to express emotion.

Sure, lines are often used to evoke motion and speed in comic books. But look at Aparo's art and you'll see lines meant to express a character's emotional frame of mind: anger, surprise, disappointment, excitement, disorientation.

These lines don't show what a character is doing--they express how a character is feeling.

For lack of a better word, I call them "twitches."

Aparo did it all the time, and he did it so well. It's crystal clear how these characters are feeling. And conveying that sort of emotion with lines on paper is pretty remarkable.

Offhand, I can't think of many other American comic book artists who do/did this sort of thing. It's something manga artists use a lot, but seems rare in American comics.

Yet another example of what made Aparo such a master, and an underrated one at that.

Here are some example of what I'm talking about, all from DC Comic's "Showcase Presents the Phantom Stranger Vol. 1."

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