Wednesday, March 07, 2012

These Panels Will Come to Order!

I like for students, when breaking down pages into panels, to make the reading order unambiguous.

But here's an case of a dangerous panel division actually being pulled off, I think. See if you agree.

In theory, when the reader finishes panel 3, he has two competing choices of which panel to read next: the one to the right, or the one below. Just the sort of momentary confusion that can be easily avoided and should be.

Except here I think the artist (a young Alex Kotzky, perhaps) has already finessed the situation. He has used a stack of three panels of equal width to make it fairly clear that readers are to read down. There's no balloon in the upper part of the tall panel to the right to lure our eye away. Indeed the upper part has almost nothing to draw our eye away--not the way a face or figure might.

It works, or so say I. Even the identical treatment of the captions atop panels 3 and 4 whispers gently, "read down."