"Pop!" one-page strip in Solo #12 (2006). Brendan McCarthy.
I reviewed this gorgeous Brendan McCarthy one-pager in the latest installment of my Robot 6 column. The cool thing about looking at a one-page story is that you get to talk about an entire work while you talk formalism. So I wrote an extra-length thing to try and cover both the review and analysis angles. And this is my favorite McCarthy story, so I tried to give it a good once-over. The only thing I forgot to mention is how neatly McCarthy uses the center of the page, placing that "Pop!" logo right in the middle of it to transition the reader's eye from the first to second image and then from the second to the third. So elegant. Anyway, I said a lot more over there, so go read! Starts like this:
At times the things that can be achieved by comics’ usual mode of sequencing — strings of single panels after single panels — can seem almost limitless. Looking at it from the inside out, as a comics-literate reader who can see the vast differences in approach to sequence that distinguish a Ware from a Kirby from an Eisner, it’s easy to get lost in just how diverse the pages can get. But take a step back and look at comics as one visual medium among many, a vehicle for creating information to be absorbed through the eyes, and the methods of sequencing used by its artists begin to look surprisingly limited.
Think about it — or better yet, get out a bunch of your comics, all genres, all drawing styles, as diverse and differentiated a selection as you can find, and give them all a flip-though. While comics have no shortage of different colors on their pages and different methods of mark-making swimming through their panels, a ridiculously large majority of them stick to that one typical mode of sequencing — boxed panels following boxed panels, groups of them fit more or less perfectly together like puzzle pieces, jammed snugly into the rectangle of the page. The grid, as wonderful and variable a sequencing tool as it is, possesses a downright tyrannical stranglehold on the comics form. Read more