Art and Artifice
Alex Nino 1973 - House of Mystery #212
Story: "Oh, Mom! Oh, Dad! You've Sent Me Away to Summer Camp & I'm So Sad!" By Michael Fleisher and Maxene Fabe
Artwork by Alex Nino
Nino has a loose, sweeping cartoon style that stays within limits to get the story across efficiently. On page 5 (shown here) Nino has developed the "happy, sunny" scenery of this grotesque children's tale and has now begun to emphasis the isolation of the wheelchair bound little hero. His obsessive pen style both completes basic demands of the comics art form (i.e., telegraphing the story points to the reader, and hopefully pleasing the eye with handsome or at least interesting forms) and then pushes them to extremes, such as the bulbous child's head in panel three with its detailed delineation of the hair. The page design is the very basic six-panel grid that interferes none at all with storytelling, though it can certainly look staid and boring on it's own merits.
Nino's unique style has long been a favorite of mine. I admire his word balloons in particular, along with his ability to silouhette figures without blacking them out entirely.
The Fleisher story has a twist ending, though one that is spelled out early as one of two possible - - it's not a question of guessing the end as such as a question of picking the correct one of two obvious possibilities. Fleisher went on to script the 1970s revival of The Spectre for DC, where his dark take on that golden age superhero raised more than a few hackles.
Our page about Nino's art in House of Secrets #115 (1974).
A page with various Nino artwork and his unique story title designs here.
More on Nino can be seen (including a photo of the man!) at the Philippine Comic Art Museum.
Randy Valiente has written a multi-part article on Alex Nino (in conjunction with analysis of Filipino artist Nestor Redondo) here at his blog usapang-komiks. [Note: I believe it is written in Tagalog, the Filipino language. However, if you do not read Tagalog, you can still look at the various samples Valiente has included.]
Written by Erik Weems ©2004-2006
Artwork is by Alex Nino Copyright© DC Comics
Original Page 2005 | Updated November 2012