John Barber on Comics Layout and Storytelling

Don’t be put off by the academic sounding language, The Phenomenon of Multiple Dialectics in Comics Layout by John Barber, is an excellent paper on the use page layout in relation to comics storytelling.

When we’re reading comics, we don’t see one panel at a time, we see two pages (or an entire screen). Most comics artists ignore or fight this, but it presents great possibilities for storytelling–not just flashy effects. What possibilities? How does this external system relate to the internal system of panel transitions? What about “closure”? Glad you asked…

Read the first section first, the second only after you’ve had a chance to chew on the first one. (You need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to read pdf files. It’s available for free download here.)

Xaviar Xerexes

Wandering webcomic ronin. Created Comixpedia (2002-2005) and ComixTalk (2006-2012; 2016-?). Made a lot of unfinished comics and novels.