Thursday, 12 February 2009

NEXT POST
Lesson Planning 101: How to teach comics responsibly in a composition class (Watchmen) Same thing I did with The Dark Knight, only this time about the fourth issue of Watchmen. The same caveats apply. In Making Comics, Scott McCloud argues that there are six means of transitioning from one panel to the next; in the fourth issue of Watchmen, Alan Moore aims to confound all of them. (Heads up: I don't discuss them all here.) Unless otherwise indicated, all citations are of McCloud. The issue opens with Dr. Manhattan brooding on the pink Martian soil: In the first panel, Moore establishes the present moment via the present tense: "The photograph is in my hand." The word-picture combination here is duo-specific; that is, the words and the pictures deliver roughly the same message, such that the elimination of either wouldn't change the meaning of the panel. Note how specific Moore and Gibbons are here: the nouns in the sentence correspond precisely to the images in the panels because they went with a close-up of his hands holding the picture. That said, it could be argued that this panel is not duo-specific because the tense of "to be" provides readers the temporal baseline from which the narrative will diverge. In that case, the word-picture combination would be intersecting, meaning "the words and pictures cover some of the same ground, but each add significant detail or perspective to the scene." Given the importance of time to the issue, the tense of "to be" could certainly qualify as a significant detail. But you would have to argue that. One compelling reason to think of the combination as duo-specific is tonal: duo-specific panels evoke the tone of children's books. When a book implores a child to "See Dick run," the words render the picture redundant and vice versa because the book's trying to teach the child how to read. So when Moore informs with words what Gibbons tells literate adults with pictures, the effect is one of condescesion, i.e. the very emotion in which Manhattan traffics. In the second panel, the dialogue is word-specific; that is, "the words provide all you need to know, while the picture illustrates aspects of the scenes being described" (130). Word-specific captions are often used to compress time—slap "thirteen years later" on any picture and there you are, thirteen years later—but here Moore uses them to move us back and forth through time. Without the captions, the transition from the first to second to third panel would seem occur via action-to-action, because the panels follow a single subject in a series of actions: Dr. Manhattan holds the photo, drops it, picks it back and sits down. (Keep in mind for later: were that the case, we would have inferred actions not actually pictured.) The word-specific captions inform us that the transition is actually scene-to-scene. McCloud defines scene-to-scene as "transitions across significant distances of time and/or space" (15). Moore deliberately confounds that expectation in order to prepare the reader for twenty-six pages focused on a character for whom: the year 1959 (mentioned in the...
PREVIOUS POST
Listserv Etiquette VI: KILL CUT CUT STAB STAB STAB KILL Thursday (February 5th) To: [departmental listserv] From: [organizing committee members One, Two, and Three] Subject: Announcement: [interesting-sounding talk] Mark you calenders for [interesting-sounding talk]: Date: Friday, February 13th Time: 1:00-2:30 p.m. Location: [on campus] Light refreshments will be served. Best, Organizing Committee Members One, Two, and Three Tuesday (February 10th) To: [departmental listserv] From: [Organizing Committee Members One, Two, and Three] Subject: Reminder: [interesting-sounding talk] Just a reminder of the [interesting-sounding talk] coming up this Friday. Date: Friday, February 13th Time: 1:00-2:30 p.m. Location: [on campus] Light refreshments will be served. Best, Organizing Committee Members One, Two, and Three Thursday (February 12th) To: [graduate student listserv] From: [Organizing Committee Members One, Two, and Three] Subject: Last Reminder: [interesting-sounding talk] tomorrow The [interesting-sounding talk] is tomorrow. Date: Friday, February 13th Time: 1:00-2:30 p.m. Location: [on campus] Light refreshments will be served. Best, Organizing Committee Members One, Two, and Three Friday (February 13th): 9:21 a.m. To: [departmental listserv] From: [Organizing Committee Member One] Subject: Last Reminder: [interesting-sounding talk] is TODAY at 1 p.m. The [interesting-sounding talk] is TODAY at 1 p.m.. Date: TODAY Time: 1:00-2:30 p.m. Location: [on campus] Light refreshments will be served. Best, Organizing Committee Member One Friday (February 13th): 9:46 a.m. To: [graduate student listserv] From: [Organizing Committee Member Two] Subject: Last Reminder: TODAY is the [interesting-sounding talk] at 1 p.m. [on campus] TODAY is the [interesting-sounding talk] at 1 p.m. [on campus] Date: TODAY Time: 1:00-2:30 p.m. Location: [on campus] Light refreshments will be served. Best, Organizing Committee Member Two Friday (February 13th): 11:01 a.m. To: [departmental listserv] From: [Organizing Committee Member Three] Subject: THE [interesting-sounding talk] BEGINS IN ONE HOUR AND FIFTY-NINE MINUTES THE [interesting-sounding talk] BEGINS IN ONE HOUR AND FIFTY-EIGHT MINUTES Date: ONE HOUR AND FIFTY-SEVEN MINUTES Time: 1:00-2:30 p.m. Location: [on campus] WE WILL BE SERVING LIGHT REFRESHMENTS IN ONE HOUR AND FIFTY-SIX MINUTES. Best, Organizing Committee Member Three Friday (February 13th): 4:22 p.m. (?) To: [graduate student listserv] From: [Organizing Committee Member Two] Subject: Last Reminder: TODAY is the [interesting-sounding talk] at 1 p.m. TODAY is the [interesting-sounding talk] at 1 p.m. [on campus] Date: TODAY Time: 1:00-2:30 p.m. Location: [on campus] Light refreshments will be served. Best, Organizing Committee Member Two Friday (February 13th): 4:47 p.m. (!?!) To: [departmental listserv] From: [Organizing Committee Member One] Subject: Last Reminder: [interesting-sounding talk] is TODAY at 1 p.m. The [interesting-sounding talk] is TODAY at 1 p.m. Date: TODAY Time: 1:00-2:30 p.m. Location: [on campus] Light refreshments will be served. Best, Organizing Committee Member One (Previous installments available here.)

Become a Fan

Recent Comments