Monday, December 7, 2015

Time in the Panels of Jar of Fools

In the comic Jar of Fools, Jason Lutes has a habit of repeating an image to manipulate the length of time a scene takes. According to Eric Rabkin, there are specific methods an author can use to dictate time. The more complexity of the comic, the slower the time is. The more symbolic it is, the faster time in the comic moves. In Jar of Fools, Lutes uses sped up and slowed time in repeating similar panels in sequence. (This is much easier to explain via an example)

In this sequence, the man, Charlie, has his face in a similar position for 4 panels to emphasize the jerky movements of his head because he feels under pressure. He doesn't complete a sentence in any of the panels, and this lack of completion causes the reader to move on to the next panel quickly. Even though this angle stretches longer than it should, it actually quickens time in this case because of its simplicity. 

The page above on the other hand is meant to slow down time. It is the first page of the second part of the book, and it draws more suspense by slowing down time drastically. The large panel slows time simply because it is so large and your eye is drawn to it longer. The smaller panels slow you down further because they look the same with only minor changes. The narrative also implies waiting because they are waiting for the light to change. It is a very slow page with the intention of making you flip to the next page because it was so dull. 

These are only two examples, but Lutes uses repetitive panels often in Jar of Fools for different reasons, but he controls time efficiently because of it.

-Vanessa Huasasquiche 

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