Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Paradoxes Of Sequential Art

(i) A nonverbal panel may be an instantaneous snap shot whereas a panel with a speech balloon represents the period of time during which a character spoke those words.

(ii) A panel with speed lines after a moving vehicle or flying superhero represents the period of time during which the motion occurred.

(iii) We understand that a winged superhero, angel or demon flies by flapping their wings but, because the art, although sequential, remains static, we never see the wings flapping. We might instead imagine that the character is gliding. I have not seen JLA animations with Hawkman or -woman flying. Presumably, they do show the flapping. Live action films would now be able to do it with special effects.

(iv) Some comic readers, used to reading texts, read the speech balloons and captions, then move on, missing any information that is purely visual. In Watchmen, Rorscharch's face had been before us from page 2 but I didn't recognise him when he was unmasked.

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