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The Patron Saint of Superheroes

Chris Gavaler Explores the Multiverse of Comics, Pop Culture, and Politics

I learned the term “tronie” from Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earing. It likely comes from the French word “trogne,” which rougly means a grotesque or comic face. When applied to Vermeer and other 16th and 17th century Dutch artists, the term is a way of distinguishing the depicted figure from a portrait of a specific person. Which is how I’m using it. The images below also continue my “textured” series because they all include text from the last chapter of my next book, The Comics Form: The Art Sequenced Images (I submitted final copyedits the last week of the semester). Sometimes the text is obvious and (almost) legible; sometimes I layer and manipulate it until it devolves into a thick gray (and sometimes unexpectedly purple and blue) pattern. As usual, all of the marks originate in the technologically obsolete yet creatively inspiring MS Paint. I completed a couple of them while quarantening after Thanksgiving with Covid. It was a long semester. I’m hoping for a better 2022.

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