One of the best things about Netflix‘s Marvel shows thus far has been the creativity of the opening credits; each set of titles properly reflects the mindset of the hero in question, and the different ways they perceive the same Hell’s Kitchen world they all live in. Daredevil drips blood to form sculptures, and Jessica Jones‘ delivers the haze of a city at night distorted by alcohol and mind-tampering.
Inspired by the Alias comic-book artwork of David W. Mack, along with Hitchcock’s Rear Window and paintings by Edward Hopper and Gerhard Richter, the title sequence features a combination of painted elements and live action, fused and layered by digital animators. Speaking to Art of the Title, Mack and Imaginary Forces’ Michelle Dougherty (Creative Director) and Arisu Kashiwagi (Lead Designer) discuss their influences and how the final product came about:
Arisu: I am based in Manhattan and my windows look out to a very classic New York-style building, so I was naturally inspired by all the changing activity and vignettes within those rows of windows — the patterns of light, colour, narratives, and graphic silhouettes. It is pretty amazing how much you can see and the number of windows out there with wide open shades. Though I’ve never witnessed half of the activities Jessica sees, I could understand our innate fascination with the rear window and that discomforting pleasure when catching a small sliver of a private act. So when I was brought into the Imaginary Forces LA studio for the project, I used all that as my personal inspiration to create my paintings.
Since there are so many painterly sequences already, we wanted this one to have a more modern, abstract look while also embracing the spirit of David Mack’s watercolour paintings from the original Jessica Jones comic books…
We based the concept off of Jessica’s PTSD and alcoholism, her blurry, unreliable point of view, and translated that visually using paint strokes that smear and obfuscate the scenes. We wanted her visions and memories to be triggered by light, and floating in black negative space. So the scenes would appear only in small sections of the frame, either blocked by a foreground element or contained inside of a silhouetted framing device.
The full interview with all three features multiple videos to illustrate their points and is well worth reading in its entirety. Since we’re not Kilgrave, we won’t order you to read it; instead, we’ll suggest that, like the next shot of bourbon in Jesssica’s indestructible gullet (obligatory reminder: she has a super-liver, and you don’t), it will make the rest of the day better when you take it in. It also makes you wonder if opening credits will change in subsequent seasons, as the character evolves. I guess we’ll get a hint when the next round of Daredevil episodes show up.
Do you think they nailed it? What, if anything, would you have done differently with the credits? Unleash your inner painter and give us a picture in words with a comment below.