Bryant Paul Johnson’s Tips and Techniques for writing comics
First off, apologies for the lack of updates lately. I did say summer was going to be a fairly busy time for me, and that part has delivered with impunity. I’m still about halfway through the next webcomic I’m reviewing, so that might be out late this week or the next.
Secondly, I’d be lax in not pointing out this excellent article written by Bryant Paul Johnson of Teaching Baby Paranoia, which he composed after he taught at a webcomics summer camp program.
The piece goes through some comic layout basics. Some tips are no-brainers but others are revelations. He even directly addresses the single-panel comic, which is at odds with Scott McCloud’s standard definition of sequential art:
Word and Pictures; Comics without Time: This combination (most often referred to as a cartoon) is the most common of these demi-comic examples. It’s the combination that we see in magazines (the New Yorker), on t-shirts and greeting cards, or in political cartoons.
So, is it a comic? Yes. The reader is left to infer the sequence of events that led us to that moment captured in time (and/or the sequence of events that lead us from it).
Why is the figure in the cartoon talking like that to his dog? Why is that public figure depicted wearing a hat and coated in oil? Because much of the narrative of a cartoon is left to the imagination of the reader, this is the category most often “misinterpreted.” In the case of certain comics (particularly those published in the New Yorker), puzzling out their meaning is part of the appeal.
(h/t Robot 6)