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  1. #1
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    Default Pipeline - Sep 25, 2012

    Augie takes a look at the original "R.I.P.D." miniseries that's been optioned for a 2013 movie, leading him to some thoughts on the use of a grid-style layout in comics storytelling.


    Full article here.

  2. #2
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    I agree with your thoughts on the RIPD layouts. I'd look at the layouts before reading your descriptions of them and when I saw the last page you posted, I thought, "Oh, he better say something about that mailbox sitting in the void."
    As for Happy!, the head overlapping the panel doesn't bother me too much, but that third panel... in a way, it's almost worse than the RIPD panels because at least they're a bunch of randomly slapped down panels with nothing to anchor it. But that Happy! page, it's one drifting panel among an otherwise "solid" layout.
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  3. #3
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    Maybe I've read too much "Smurfs" and "Lucky Luke," et al, and just prefer the grid format. Maybe I'm a product of the times when a grid layout is considered the height of webdesign and where all the boxes line up along the same strong lines. Maybe I'm being too formalistic for an artist who wants to "break the rules." But seeing pages where panels have random sizes and leave oddly wide gaps in the gutters drives me nuts.
    You should never read any romance manga if this is the way you think. Hell, you shouldn't read any EISNER. He was constantly playing with the panel arrangements.

    I've been digging into some romance manga and am finding it powerful and compelling when it totally dispenses with grids - check out these pages from the middle of volume 1 of "Suppli", for instance: http://www.mangapark.com/manga/suppli/v1/c1/6-5 (remember to read right-to-left, and note that the first couple pages on that webpage are pretty conservative). The constant use of evocatively empty pages like this creates some very different rhythms, with lots more space to BREATHE. Especially when the space around the panels gets used for metaphorical images that relate to the characters' internal states.

    Honestly it's hard to decide if most of the pages you show work or not, since you only show one of them without the blue boxes covering entire panels.

    There is a place for grids. And there is a place for breaking them. This piece really feels like you're saying that all non-grid pages suck just because they can be hard to get right; really, they're one of the things that is absolutely unique to comics as a medium, and I think every artist should spend some time playing with that. Otherwise they're just making half-assed movie storyboards.

    (full disclosure: I am currently waist-deep in creating a comic that does some crazy things to the page in the service of several parallel storylines.)

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by egypturnash View Post
    You should never read any romance manga if this is the way you think. Hell, you shouldn't read any EISNER. He was constantly playing with the panel arrangements.

    I've been digging into some romance manga and am finding it powerful and compelling when it totally dispenses with grids - check out these pages from the middle of volume 1 of "Suppli", for instance: http://www.mangapark.com/manga/suppli/v1/c1/6-5 (remember to read right-to-left, and note that the first couple pages on that webpage are pretty conservative). The constant use of evocatively empty pages like this creates some very different rhythms, with lots more space to BREATHE. Especially when the space around the panels gets used for metaphorical images that relate to the characters' internal states.

    Honestly it's hard to decide if most of the pages you show work or not, since you only show one of them without the blue boxes covering entire panels.

    There is a place for grids. And there is a place for breaking them. This piece really feels like you're saying that all non-grid pages suck just because they can be hard to get right; really, they're one of the things that is absolutely unique to comics as a medium, and I think every artist should spend some time playing with that. Otherwise they're just making half-assed movie storyboards.

    (full disclosure: I am currently waist-deep in creating a comic that does some crazy things to the page in the service of several parallel storylines.)
    I don't think that is Augie's point. Augie is pointing out panel arrangements that do not make storytelling sense. That is why he mentioned Brent Anderson as an example of an artists who effectively utilizes a technique that Marangon was trying to use. The key word in Augie's critical statement is "random". Random panel arrangements distract from storytelling.

  5. #5

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    I hope no one in the comics industry takes this reductive bollocks too seriously.

  6. #6
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    It makes me grit my teeth when someone who doesn't practice an artform nitpicks the work of someone who practices that artform for a living. I'd rather see a pro analyse their own work than read what the non-practitioner doesn't understand about the pro's experience.

    So the writer doesn't like the artists's style, doesn't get the artist's choices. Fair enough. But for the writer to label such work as random or unmotivated is to presume that a "lay reader" as he calls himself understands the pro's experience and knows better, when the problem is in fact the lay reader's ignorance of the pro's experience.

    For example, regarding the mailbox, and the woman in bed: they are instances of a rhetorical device called metonymy in which an object is substituted for a concept with which it is associated. You might not agree with the artist's choices, but you can't deny they are literate and still look like a literate person yourself.

    So the artist doesn't stick to the rule of thirds. So what? It's a general guide, not a compulsion, and its overuse tends to monotony. Mature artists understand that. Singling it out as a point of critique just identifies the lay reader as a beginner, trying to get the pro to stick to the rules in the introductory art books because that's all the beginner knows.

    Any chance of getting the artist to comment on his own work?

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    Hey, it's just 1 person's opinion. I agree with most of it. I don't always mind overlapping panels, for one. Looking at the HAPPY page didn't seem that bad, but on the other hand it was colored very dark and without blowing up the image it was extremely dense. Just looking at the examples I agree with the layout issues. It seems as if there is negative space left on the page for no real reason. It wasn't hard to read or follow, but I don't see what he / she was going for.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jude View Post
    For example, regarding the mailbox, and the woman in bed: they are instances of a rhetorical device called metonymy in which an object is substituted for a concept with which it is associated. You might not agree with the artist's choices, but you can't deny they are literate and still look like a literate person yourself.
    Yes, because combining "I had a house" and a picture of a mailbox is very effective storytelling. Mailboxes are symbols for houses.

    So the artist doesn't stick to the rule of thirds. So what? It's a general guide, not a compulsion, and its overuse tends to monotony. Mature artists understand that. Singling it out as a point of critique just identifies the lay reader as a beginner, trying to get the pro to stick to the rules in the introductory art books because that's all the beginner knows.

    Any chance of getting the artist to comment on his own work?
    Augie as a "beginner"? WOW. He's been doing critiques of comic books for more than a decade and he goes down to the details even down to the lettering. Have you even read any of his past columns?

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