Iconic Art Post – The Manhatten Projects by Nick Pitarra & Jordie Bellaire

The Manhattan Projects is an excellent book with I have previously reviewed but the artwork I think is simple but effective. I do not mean to demean the artist with that statement but what I mean is that there is no elaborate background or colouring but the panels are incredibly effective. The  characters faces are drawn in great detail but the expressions are extremely important. These panels show the same scene but in a different time period and it works very poignantly.

The character Helmutt Grottrup being spoken down to and having all hope dashed by two different leaders. His frown together with his closed eyes shows he is expecting to be rejected and his despair. He is then asked to open his eyes as he is told he is a cog simply performing a task, his expression does not change. As we move to the lower panels we can see an older Helmutt with a swastika stamp to his forehead with the exact same expression. The colour change helps us to distinguish the sequences and appreciate a scene at a different time and place. This time another stranger looking taskmaster is telling him he is invaluable and his work is important. Once again his expression does not change; he has been here before and knows that he cannot escape and that he will continue as he is. Two different masters using two different communication styles to make Helmutt stay but his face remains dejected all the same. The final page cements his continued incarceration. 

These two pages are brilliant in their communication to the reader of Helmutt’s cynicism and unhappiness. It also shows that he has been trapped for a long period of time and that all he wishes is to escape and be free. There is so much information in such few panels. These pages summarise the whole comic and tell the story and I just adore the simplicity.

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