“Hearts Bled Crimson”
Writer: Ben Raab
Pencils: Salvador Larocca
Inks: Scott Koblish
Colours: Kevin Tinsely & Graphic Color Works
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Editors: Matt Idelson & Paul Tutrone
Original Publication date: June 1997
We’re back spending probably too much time and effort unpacking Salvador Larocca’s choices which are sometimes weird but definitely choices in Excalibur #110, “Hearts Bled Crimson,” with the help of the eagle-eyed superstar comics scholar Dr. Barbara Postema! Plus, our supersex addled brains have lots to say about that scene where everyone watches with shock and awe—and, in Kitty Pryde’s case disappointment—as Meggan and Brian’s “deep impassioned love” explodes to save the world.
“Comics ask for an active way of reading… all stories have gaps, but in comics, the gaps are so very literal.” -Barbara
“Raab wants this to be deep, but it’s really a book about people throwing punches and being pretty. When he allows it to be the second thing, it’s actually more interesting.” -Mav
On looking cool:
“It’s sometimes hard to teach mainstream, monthly comics because we want students to appreciate every choice as intentional. But in a comic like this, a lot of choices are just made in the interests of ‘looking cool.’” -Anna
On difficult gaps:
“It looks like an attempt at iconostasis, but some things match up and some don’t, so it looks like Brian is punching himself?” -Barbara
“We’ve criticized other artists for not making choices. But Larocca is certainly making choices. They’re sometimes weird choices, but they’re definitely choices.” -Mav
“There’s a kind of sex saving the world thing going on here which I like, in theory…” -Anna
“Brian is very passive aggressive here, especially since he’s spent the past two dozen issues saying he just wants to be a scientist who builds flying cars. Well, here’s your opportunity!” -Mav
Want more Barbara Postema?
Dr. Barbara Postema is known for publications on wordless comics, on Canadian and American comics, and on form and narratology. Her work has been recognized by associations in the US, Brasil, New Zealand, and Germany, leading to invitations to present keynote lectures and to the translation of her monograph, Narrative Structure in Comics: Making Sense of Fragments, into Brazilian Portuguese.
Barbara is a former president of the Canadian Society of the Study of Comics and a founding member of the Comics Studies Society. She is also a co-editor of the Wilfrid Laurier UP book series Crossing Lines.