Issue Three, Page Four

July 12, 2022 in Issue Three
Issue Three, Page Four
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Save my Place Load my Place

Author Notes:

MattSchofield 12th Jul 2022, 7:51 AM
Finished another page!

With this one I wanted to try a type of layout that featured Steamroller Man’s full figure, in almost a pin-up style image, alongside a column of smaller panels. I have always associated this specific layout with the “Image Comics style” of the 1990s, but as I tried to find examples on the web, I also found precedents in the work of Gil Kane and John Byrne, and no doubt many other examples are out there.

No matter the artist, the full-figure panel approach provides a wonderful visual anchor for the page, and always looks great. However, this approach was not always the best choice for telling the story visually, in my opinion. Only half the space on the page remains to actually tell the story with sequential images. A lot of the time, with this type of layout, the dialogue does a lot of the work actually conveying the story. It’s certainly a great way to spice up a page that otherwise would just be talking heads!

For Steamroller Man, there wasn’t a ton of action to depict on this page - just Steamroller Man getting up, and then Night Knight trying unsuccessfully to climb up one of the pipes on the wall. So it seemed like a great opportunity to try out this style of layout. The challenge I set myself was to still have the visuals clearly depicting a sequence of events, and also to lay out the panels in such a way that the reader’s eye read everything in the correct order.

Obviously I needed the reading order to start in the top left corner, so I gave that panel a background that is almost fully black - contrast attracts our gaze as a matter of instinct. Rather than going straight down the left side of the page, I needed the reader to then scan to the right, so I overlapped the word balloon and Steamroller Man’s head, causing the eye to zig to the right, over to see his finger tapping his head with a “TINK TINK TINK”. Steamroller Man’s head is angled down and to the left, pointing back to the second-left panel. I angled the pipe in this panel so it was coming out from behind Steamroller Man’s head, once again leading the reader’s eye down to the “POK” sound effect in the third-left panel. The pipe and Night Knight’s arm in the third-left panel are also angling down and to the left, leading to the overlapping word balloons from the bottom panel. This again bridges the gutter, making the reader’s eye finally come to rest just as Night Knight hits the ground with a “THWOMP”.

At least, I hope that’s how you read it!

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WynautWarrior 12th Jul 2022, 8:14 AM
Weird. Usually landing on your head is not the best. But I guess it benefits if your head is a steamroller.
MattSchofield 13th Jul 2022, 12:44 PM
That's the gag!
Marcel 12th Jul 2022, 10:59 AM
The page reads perfectly. Thanks again for the layout lesson!
MattSchofield 13th Jul 2022, 12:44 PM
Thank you, and you're most welcome!
Peter Wulfdane 12th Jul 2022, 11:42 AM
Peter Wulfdane
Whelp, so much for the perfect superhero landing pose... :) And this page reads know I never realized there was so much consideration that went into the layouts of comic pages. Fascinating!
MattSchofield 13th Jul 2022, 12:43 PM
Oh thanks, Peter! I do put a lot of thought into how each page will flow, because it's a pet peeve of mine when I read a comic and I'm suddenly taken out of the story because I can't figure out which panel to read next.
Surenity 13th Jul 2022, 8:20 AM
You put a lot of thought into these pages! I mean I may have my influences too but I don’t think about or research it as deeply as I probably should (Bill Watterson’s work is great to look at for ideas when I get tired of doing boring grid panels, for instance). And the full body shot is a terrific way to spice up talking-head pages, which is something I kind of struggle with.
MattSchofield 13th Jul 2022, 12:42 PM
Thanks, I do put a good deal of thought into how each page will flow, but I've been reading comic books since I was five, so a lot of the "research" is me just thinking "oh it would be cool to do a page like this one artist I like did" - more a case of me just half-remembering something I saw in a comic at some point.

It's when it comes time to write my Author's note on the page that I then have to hit Google to see if my memory is as good as I thought. Case in point, with this page as I was drawing it I was thinking of a Jim Lee type of layout, but when I went to try and find examples for the post, it was really hard to find a specific page that looked like what thought I remembered!

Talking head pages are surprisingly hard!! I usually try and have the characters doing something while they talk, so it's a little more interesting visually. And I try to keep the conversations short, no more than a page or two at most.