Monday, December 7, 2015

The Mighty Thor and Page Layout

     In reference to the following double-page spread of The Mighty Thor, Issue #1 (written by Jason Aaron, art by Russell Dauterman, and colour by Matthew Wilson), I will be discussing the use of page layout. More specifically, Jason Hatfield's theory of sequence vs. surface.

     Within the page(s) of a comic, there is the surface which the reader will first take in with their eyes, and the sequence of images within the page(s). Readers then must figure out the relationship between to two within their own mind and create meaning from them, which is otherwise known as the tension between them. This can usually be done through the way artists decide to set up page layout. They will use design elements that can contribute to the balance of the page, or perhaps the purposeful imbalance, such as in this example.

     In consideration of the surface of this entire two page spread, because of the way the bodies in space are seemingly moving (because of the movement/action lines around their bodies and/or the shape of their bodies) to the right, it draws the readers eye to the right in order to draw their attention to the panels there. The panels themselves force the readers eye to follow the sequence of them from then on, the eye's natural movement wanting to follow the curve of them from the top of the page down to the bottom (because of the habit of doing so within other books in comics, and because of the curved shape of the panels as well). Moreover, the body that lies atop of the first panel and is beneath the second helps create this movement, as well as the hand on top of the second panel pointing downward and the fingers overlapping the third panel. In addition, this hand and these fingers seem to almost be holding the panels there for the reader, further drawing their eye to the panels and their sequence within the page.

     Also, if we look within the panels to the right themselves, they are creating their own sequence. While most things outside of these panels seem to be moving to the right, this deviates within the first two panels, where the movement lines and such are all going to the left, essentially creating a new image on the surface within them. The other thing that deviates within the entirety of the surface layout is the "person" on the bottom left of the left page, whom is not just a body moving rapidly through space but is quite detailed, perhaps to clarify for the reader what the bodies actually look like/are more vividly and/or to have an emotional impact on the reader since this "person" appears to be bleeding (dark liquid coming from their skin, usually relates to blood).

     Overall, this two page spread within The Mighty Thor shows the many uses that can relate to a comic's surface and its sequence through page layout.

-Kerrisa Drouillard

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