My Favorite Comic Page So Far This Year

This page blows my mind.

written by Grant Morrison, art by J.G. Jones

written by Grant Morrison, art by J.G. Jones

Now, admittedly, I’m a sucker for 9 panel grids. That’s the lasting influence Watchmen has had on me - a love for rigid panel structure. That’s part of wy my favorite Legion comics of all time are the Five Year Gap books of LSH v4 - Giffen deliberately challenged himself to set everything within the 9 panel grid, and it made the book far more artistically interesting than it would have been otherwise. But this is just a great page by any means. (I should note that the dotting effect in the colors is an artifact of the scan, not on the page itself)

In the first two panels, you’ve got one scene, split across the two. Your sense of space is thrown off by the foreground being consistent between the two panels while the background differs, the receding checker boxes drawing your eyes up and to the border between the two panels, but without actually implying perspective. And then you’re lured over to panel 4 - the coloring keeps you from just instinctively continuing on to panel 3. Panel 4 gives us the Question vanishing…replaced by a smoke question mark, which is just cute. Panel 5 ends the indoor scene, and then we’re kind of thrown off - exactly where do we go next?

Ah, the bottom-left - the bubble in panel 5 says “We’ll pick up Montoya on the street,” and lo and behold, there she is, foreground, largest object in any of the blue-colored panels, with blue smoke floating off her back. That all combines to draw our eyes, even though this also goes against instinct a bit. Panels 7, 8, and 9 are all from the same perspective, of the same scene, but we get the passage of time from Montoya’s movement. And then our eyes are drawn upwards - the color consistency again, and the fact that panel 9 is partially lit by the streetlights in panel 6. The facade on the left of panels 6 and 3 gives us the impression that the red-colored panels are actually taking place within that building - a nifty effect. And lastly, we get pulled up to panel 3, and the tear in reality that will shortly spit out Overgirl.

We can’t quite fit panels 3 and 6 chronologically in relation to the rest of the page - are they happening at the end of the events on the page, as the visual path we’re taken on suggests? Or are they simultaneous to the activities on panels adjacent to them, as normal comic reading would imply? I don’t honestly know. Either way works for me.

So yeah. I freakin’ love this page. It’s laid out in a very interesting manner, using the panel structure itself to get its point across. Great stuff.

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