Losers Week

[Originally written for my Comic Cartography image blog.]

In case it wasn’t obvious, all the posts this week are from the Vertigo series The Losers. Written by Andy Diggle and with art mostly from Jock, it was an entertaining and well-plotted espionage book.

With art assists by Shawn Martinbrough, Nick Dragotta, Alé Garza, Ben Oliver, and Colin Wilson (who is one artist I always wish I could see more from), it was a book with a distinct look. The Lee Loughridge colors unified the whole book beautifully, and I was especially impressed with the blocky, geometrical shapes his colors took on for the flashback arc that ran through issues 14 to 17.

Maps play an interesting role in The Losers (and in other espionage books). In fantasy or sci-fi titles, the maps are most often for the reader’s benefit–they serve to orient us to a strange land filled with alien names. The characters in those stories usually know much more about their world than we do.

In espionage books, though, the characters’ world is similar to our own, so the maps aren’t for us–the maps are for the characters. In a fantasy world, maps might indicate a dangerous forest or a foreboding mountain. In espionage, the danger is often hidden in the next country over or the next floor up, and with information at a premium, a good map can be the difference between life and death.

Many of the maps on this blog serve us, the readers; the maps in The Losers serve the characters.