Sunday, August 5, 2012

Watchmen: Chapter VIII - page 4


Panels 1-3:  These three panels together form a super-panel – a concept examined by comic artist Michel Fiffe here This layout provides a novel way to experience time within a comic.  The first three panels of the previous page also did this, but in that super-panel time was carried across the single image through the use of word balloons from the newsvendor.  No people actually moved through the scene.  In this super-panel, we have Laurie passing across the three panels, the panel borders providing the breaks in each scene as she walks across the floor to Dan. 

Without the panel borders, it would be confusing to have the three images of Laurie crossing the floor.  And if all of this dialogue were included in one oversized panel, it would collapse under the weight of credibility – the figures would remain static in that single panel, but the amount of dialogue shared between them encompasses too long a span of time for them not to move, which could strain a reader’s suspension of disbelief.  This super-panel, as noted by Fiffe in the link above, is an elegant solution to this storytelling challenge. 

Panel 4:  This is the point where we begin to learn of the pyramid scheme set up by Veidt – who owns Pyramid Deliveries, IES, and other notable entities involved with this whole “mask killer” scheme – which is appropriate and ironic considering his connection with the Egyptian pyramid motif.

Panel 6:  Note that the newspaper headline states that the Reds (Russians) have crossed the Pakistani border.  The world is at a tipping point, almost past the point of no return for a resolution between the United States and the USSR.

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