Well gang, only two weeks remain before we close up on Issue 2! Wonder if Cally will get that ten-page paper done before that!
This is one of those pages where we break a “rule” of comic-storytelling– mainly in the regard that we switch scenes mid-page. That said, rules are meant to be broken, and we pulled a little “trick” to make it work– I’ll explain:
You really never want to switch locations or story beats mid-page– it’s very jarring for the reader to, say– have Clark Kent in the Daily Planet for panels 1 and 2; but in Panel 3– it’s Superman in the fortress of Solitude, and we round out with Jimmy Olsen on the scene for panel 4.
Unless you’re in a montage, a page like this is going to make your reader’s head spin.
That’s not to say these types of pages didn’t exist– in fact, if you go back to some of the Golden Age era comics, you’ll see that mid-page scene transitions were quite commonplace. But as the vocabulary of comics has evolved through the years, so has the pacing of the page.
Still, there are times where it’s necessary to pull a mid-page transition. In the case of page 20, we’re coming off of Cally zoning out in class on Page 19-- in order to create/continue the illusion that Cally has REALLY zoned out, we need a page break.
I’ve mentioned before that the “magic” of comic panels is how it creates the illusion of time and movement between the panels (actually, I didn’t come up with this, Scott McCloud did)– continuing on with that thought, page breaks do the same thing– again, in this instance, we don’t know how long Cally has been zoning…or, if she did that thing when you’re sleeping in class where your leg jerks…we’ve all done that, haven’t we?
I knew we needed to extend the Mr. Everett bit past one page– and at the same time, I’m looking at our current page count and knowing that we need to boogie to get our issue wrapped with our cliffhanger scene– c’mon, you know a cliffhanger is comin’, right? So, we needed to get a jump on our next scene. There’s two little “tricks” here– one you see, and one you don’t:
The first is a dialogue jump: In Panel 3, we have Mr. Everett start a sentence, and Cally finish it. Not revolutionary or anything, film and TV shows have used it as a gag for ages– and for a reason: it’s really useful for getting from one place to another.
The other, you can’t see– at least in this version. With our “web” version, you’re just seeing one page at a time, whereas if you were reading a print version, you’d have the book open and see two– granted, you only read one at a time, but you’re subconsciously aware of what’s happening on the next page.
Comic writers are always aware of the page count– knowing that even pages (such as page 20) are on the right side, and odd pages are on the left…It’s important because in a print version, the reader will turn the page and their eyes will instantly gravitate towards the odd page. Obviously, since that’s the first thing they see–
This can be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on how you use it– if we were trying to pull a massive “what the–” moment and placed it on the odd page, it might lose it’s impact. Again this can be used to either an advantage or a disadvantage– depending on how you use it.
On the other hand, the even page can be used to continue the previous scene and transition into your odd-page scene effectively– since the reader’s eye is already adjusting to the new scene and on some level, they’re aware and expecting it.
Again, it’s all how you use it…
That said, working in a webcomic format, all this goes out the window…Page sides no longer matter– it’s just one at a time. I’m curious to see how our next generation of webcomic creators handle the infinite page count while juggling pacing.
To that, there’s also still the digital comic revolution that is currently underway– If you take a look at any of the comics on Graphic.ly, it’s clear that they’re effectively mimicking the comicBOOK reading experience– while at the same time, adding a new spin on it with the “panel view” option– which, someone out there is going to exploit as a storytelling device that’s going redefine the format…someday.
So that was a lot of yammering on process stuff– in the meantime, you might have noticed that we’ve upgraded our comment system with IntenseDebate. I’ve been seeing ID all over the place, various blogs and news sites– after playing around with it a bit on Brubaker’s ReMIND, I decided to give it a go– so last night, I gave the ‘ole installer a shot and was relatively surprised at how painless it was.
Let me know what you guys think of the new system by– uh…leaving a comment, I suppose!
VOTE VOTE VOTE!
Our Topwebcomics campaign is going quite strongly! We’re currently ranked around 137, which is fantastic! Particularly this early into the month! It seems that each time we jump up a ranking, a few new readers swing by, so it really is true: every vote counts! All you have to do is click below:
And remember, each time you vote, a new spy is born!
Well, that wraps up this week– I’ve got a ton of stuff on my To-Do list over the next two weeks to prep for the start of issue 2! Can’t WAIT for you guys to see it!
Seeya back here on Thursday for our Blog@16, where I’ve got some pretty cool stuff lined up!
– same Spy Time, same Spy Channel!
(…or is that URL, now?)