Hi. Rachel here.
I talked some about our panel of the week in this week’s video reviews, but I think it’s a panel whose effectiveness is much better illustrated via static images, so I’m posting this here as a supplement.
This is a panel that grabbed me immediately. It’s the kind of beat I look for in comics–the stillness where you often find the most powerful and subtly significant moments in a story.
Here’s the panel, in isolation. It doesn’t look like much on its own, right?
Here’s the full spread it’s part of. Pay attention to how people are standing: this moment is all about body language.
Can you see it yet? If you’re still having trouble, here’s a hint: Follow the hands–Cyclops’s, in particular.
See what I mean? Is your heart breaking a little right now? It should be.
I would love to see the script for this spread–whether that moment was written, or if Bachalo improvised it; and how it was described relative to how it was drawn. As is, it’s one of the most powerful emotional beats of the story–if you know what to look for.
The fallacy that comics are easy and simple to read is dependent, I think, on the idea that reading is a skill specific to written language. In fact, the language of comics–that integration of visual and verbal, the ways static images can convey and evoke movement and passage of time and a thousand other minute nuances–is incredibly, exquisitely complex and rich. They’re not just illustrated stories. They’re their own discrete medium.
And it’s when creators–and readers–understand those things that comics can really, really get good.