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What goes through the mind of Jonny Negron?
Hell if I know. I’ve never met the guy, but I was fortunate enough to get handed a pile of his comics.
At first glance, I am faced with what appears to be a nude woman: spread legs, on her back with hair strands brushed across her forehead and tiny vinyl record-looking nipples.
And yes I thought, “What is this guy some sort of fantasy sex-deviant?”
Which could very well be true, but Negron does have a distinct style in representing female characters in his work. I would call it subtle in detail, but definitely not subtle in content. These female figures are overly sexualized and voluptuous, but with Negron’s use of thin strokes and usual lack of extreme shading, there is a peculiar balance between the heavy visuals and the light details in color and lines.
With their smoldering stares and flushed cheeks, the woman of Negron’s work will definitely allow your mind to wander, or at least your hand…
But besides large-breasted, thick-thighed feminine forms, Negron has many other artistic motifs that make his work notable.
Negron presents his comics with an interesting attention to time. A simple gesture such as a handkerchief dropping from a man’s hand, floating through the air, and gently laying across a dead man’s face is spread out among five frames, which could have easily been short and meaningless, but this extended action heightens storyline and drama, adding an almost film-like quality.
On the other hand, Negron also utilizes the completely opposite strategy of placing multiple actions in one frame. In Violence City, you watch as the Michael Jackson-dressed protagonist propels himself through a gang of malicious thugs and as your eyes move across the frame with each punch thrown, the color gradient from dark to light conveys the passing of time.
And this may be a bad analogy, but this style makes me think of the way Street Fighter video games show combos.
Overall, when I read a Jonny Negron comic, it feels like a dream.
I don’t know where the hell I am. Everything seems to make sense at first and then turns into confusion. Sometimes it’s lighthearted and sometimes dark. But in my opinion it works. His art exaggerates detail and makes a conscious effort to dramatically pause or speed through time, disambiguate shadows and figures, and throw you for a trip. Whatever psychedelic, erotic, or twisted impression Negron tries to illustrate will definitely last.