Posts Tagged ‘polyptych’

Some Super Super Panels

23 July 2012

Six panel polyptych from Giant Size Defenders No. 3, January 1975, art by Jim Starlin, see description below

A few weeks ago, I was critiquing some super panels (aka polyptyches aka multi-pans or multi-panel pan sequences) for being unnecessary or inconsistent. Today I’m going to share two that I think work well. (more…)

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Faulty Multi-Panel Pans 2: Motion-Logic Inconsistencies

13 June 2012

Three panel polyptych from Action Comics No. 467, January 1977, art by Curt Swan and Ted Blaisdel, published by DC Comics – see explanation below

It’s Joe’s second installment in his nitpicky critique of comic book multi-pans (aka super panels or polyptychs.) Recently I posted about gratuitous gutters, today it’s a look at motion and how it lines up across panels.

It’s very common for multi-pans to be used to show motion. As a character moves across a landscape, a polyptych can hold the background steady, and show characters multiple times traveling from one location to another. With characters in motion, artists include motion lines to show where they’ve come from. Sometimes the motion lines, position, and background don’t quite all line up consistently.  (more…)

Faulty Multi-Panel Pans 1: Gratuitous Multi-Pans

12 June 2012

Why is there that white gutter between the dragon’s head and Iron Man? I don’t know. Gratuitous multi-pan from Iron Man No. 130, January 1980, art by Bob Layton, published by Marvel Comics

I wrote earlier about comic books’ mutli-panel pan sequences, which can also interchangeably be called super panels, polyptychs, multi-pans. I’ve been compiling this still-very-very-incomplete chronological index of super panels. For a really broad-brush review: These multi-pans arise early in comics history, are expored sporadically by some early comics masters, largely fall out of favor from the 1950s1960s, then re-emerge with greater frequency in the late 1970s1980s.

For this post, I want to explore some questionable multi-pans. These aren’t necessarily 100% wrong. Some of these are the work of masters, others are from comic artists whom I have less respect for. Right now I’m an artist who barely dabbles in comics, so I may not be all that qualified to critique these… but I’ll put my opinion out there nonetheless. Ultimately the decision on how to portray something in images and words is an artistic decision… it’s up to the creator… not the critic.

I am planning to do a series of three post explaining three different types of questionable multi-pans: (I’ll go in retroactively and update these with links.)

  1. gratuitous multi-pans
  2. motion-logic inconsistent multi-pans
  3. cheats

In super-hero comics in the 1980s1990s, multi-pans became fairly common. It wasn’t as if they were in every page… but lots of artists used them… often… whether they actually made sense or not. The multi-pans that I call gratuitous are ones where the gutters (white space between panels) could be removed and the panel would work just fine.  (more…)

Comics Vocabulary: Polyptych

22 November 2011

Multi-panel pan or polyptych from Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics

I recently re-read Scott McCloud‘s awesome 1993 treatise on comics Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. This book, along with McCloud’s subsequent comics volumes, is really the best resource for exploring comic book vocabulary – ie: how comics do what comics do.

McCloud’s chapter 4, on Time Frames, touches on what I’ve been calling a “multi-panel pan sequence” (though I’ve been thinking of trimming this to a “multi-pan”) and he calls this sequence a “polyptych.”

(more…)