Issue Three, Page Twenty-Eight

May 3, 2021 in Issue Three
Issue Three, Page Twenty-Eight
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Author Notes:

MattSchofield 30th Apr 2021, 6:18 PM
One thing I really miss in modern comic books is thought balloons! You hardly see them at all these days, and I’m not sure why exactly they fell out of favor. I would guess it was an attempt (I would argue a misguided one) to make comics seem more like movies. Text that would once have been put in thought balloons is usually put in caption boxes, giving it the feel of voice-over narration.

Thought balloons are a storytelling device that is pretty unique to comics, one that links it more to prose. It can give the reader the feeling that time is slowing down, or that the action is moving at “the speed of thought”, depending on the visuals that the thought balloons are paired with.

As far as this page of Steamroller Man is concerned, the use of thought balloons served a few purposes: it seemed a more pragmatic choice for the story, as Paige is trying to creep quietly into the factory; using thought balloons in place of narration boxes enabled me to lead the reader’s eye around the page - especially useful in panel two, positioning it above Paige’s discarded lab coat, and panel three, leading your eye to the broken window Paige is about to crawl through. Lastly, thought balloons’ newly passé status actually contributes to the retro feel I try to give the comic.

I was a bit torn about how much hand-holding to do for the reader here, because I wasn't sure how clear it was that Paige has gone off on her own, found somewhere that she could climb over the factory wall, and used her lab coat to cover the barbed wire and climb over it. I could have shown all this happening on-panel, of course, but I felt like that was just unnecessary "shoe leather". Hopefully the images convey what's transpired, but just in case they don't, I decided to really spell it out in Paige's thoughts in panel two. It's not subtle, but I think it has the feel of the writing style of '60s and '70s comics. Also, I write this comic for a general audience, and so it's important to me that even my eight-year-old niece can understand the story.

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Peter Wulfdane 3rd May 2021, 9:34 AM
Peter Wulfdane
All in a day's work, Paige.....

You know, I was kinda hoping she'd been kidnapped or something, and there'd have to be a daring rescue, but....something tells me she's about to get herself into a world of trouble.
MattSchofield 3rd May 2021, 10:27 AM
Ahh... yes, well [ahem]... no comment!
Peter Wulfdane 3rd May 2021, 2:09 PM
Peter Wulfdane
Hmmm.....jes' as I thought. :)

One tiny point of criticism, though: maybe its just the perspective, but something about Paige looks a little mangled in the last panel, like her legs are overly heavy or somethin'. I do tend to be a bit picky about such things, so it might just be me and my overly-critical eye, but yeah.
MattSchofield 3rd May 2021, 3:57 PM
Well, it is a worm's-eye-view perspective. To achieve that feeling I'm deliberately enlarging the legs, since what's closer to the "camera" looks bigger...
Francis 3rd May 2021, 10:02 AM
Great three point perspective in that last panel. And I really like the factory silhouette in the first panel.
MattSchofield 3rd May 2021, 10:28 AM
Thanks! I really wanted to try and push the angles on this page.
skowog 3rd May 2021, 10:52 AM
Great page! Just picked up a copy of, How to Draw Noir Comics, so this was a timely page!
I'm loving the great perspective shots in this page.
I've also noticed the lack of thought balloons, which I find a bit annoying, likely because I grew up on older comics like The Unknown Soldier, which had a lot of spy-type stuff and plenty of thought balloons, which to me just have a certain feel which the narrative captions don't seem to quite capture.
Great work!
MattSchofield 3rd May 2021, 1:57 PM
Thanks! Yeah, I have that book too - I think I end up buying almost any book on the subject of making comics!
Marcel 4th May 2021, 3:05 PM
Actually, your comments on the pages amount to an excellent tutorial. I really appreciate them!
MattSchofield 5th May 2021, 9:44 AM
Oh thanks, I'm glad to hear that!
area5.1 31st May 2021, 11:53 AM
I like the thought balloons, they convey the story like dialogue, but it's as though the characters are talking to themselves. (suppose that's what thinking is)

Didn't realise they'd fallen from favour, why does everything have to be like a movie?
MattSchofield 31st May 2021, 2:01 PM
Yes, that's what I find myself wondering a lot, too. Comics don't have to just mimic movies, there are some storytelling devices that are unique to comics and are pretty cool!