By some strange coincidence, my posts comparing two artists illustrating the comic strip Gil Thorpe happened just at the right time. On Monday, when my initial post went up, Frank Bolle debuted as the strip's new artist, replacing Frank McGlaughlin.
While I sometimes write posts on the fly in reaction to events (like this one), for the most part, I normally jot down topics as they occur to me, and fill them out at a later date. That's what happened with my last two posts. I had been meaning to write about Steve Bryant's tryout strips for a week or so. According to Bryant's blog, he had been asked to submit some samples, but he had no details about if -- or even when -- the Chicago Tribune Syndicate wanted to replace McGlaughlin.
We can't do a direct comparison, but here's Bolle's depiction of high school basketball action placed against Bryant's.
Zowie. I think I prefer Bryant's snapshot style (panel 2) to Bolle's attempt to show action with speed lines (panel 1). It just makes all the players look like they're trembling.
Bolle is an experienced comic strip artist, which I'm sure was an important part of the syndicate's decision. They know he'll produce on deadline and at a certain minimum level of quality on a consistent basis.
But compared to Bryant, his style looks a little flat to me. Plus, Bolle is really experienced -- he's 83. Bryant's almost half that age.
It seems strange to me that they would bring in a new artist who's near the end of his career. Every artist change disrupts the readership somewhat. To have to do this again little ways down the road seems short-sighted, somehow.