Submitted by Derik Badman on July 24, 2007 - 10:25
One of the comics on Serializer that I don't skip over in my rss reader is True Loves by Jason Turner and Manien Bothma. They are on book 2 now and I completely missed book one (which is now in physical book form), but basically it's a light-hearted relationship drama starring True, a young woman who owns a clothing store in Vancouver. The episodes are short vignettes in her life, featuring her boyfriend (they move in together during book 2) and various friends. The pacing of the episodes, spread out over time, disconnected, and focused on everyday events gives it the feeling of a kind of diary but without the first person narration. The light-hearted narrative is mirrored by the loose, simple drawing style.
What's most unusual about the comics and part of what keeps me reading--or at least what kept me reading in the beginning and got me hooked into the narrative and the desire to know what happens next to True--is the panel layouts. The panels are spread out in a meandering vertical scroll. I say meandering because the panels are not only separated vertically but shifted horizontal across the screen in an often snaking pattern. I've not completely figured out the effect of this movement, but the creators make great use of the spacing between the panels to create jumps in time or long pauses. For instance the first panel on this page shows the characters resting after moving True's stuff. There is a long space between that first panel and the second, so much so that even on my rather large monitor I had to scroll down to even see the second panel. A nice effect. This type of spacing is well used throughout the comic to space out scenes or provide jumps in time.
Color is also well used in the comic. The color palette shifts in different scenes. The first two panels on this page show this pretty clearly. The visual cues help not only with reading the scene/setting but also add mood to the panels.
This page is a good example of both color and layouts. Note the small gutters during the panels featuring conversation and the larger gutters in the other more isolated scenes.