Q:Her there, Mr. Gillen. In Über #17's afterward, you mentioned panel structure. Something that, coincidentally, I first noticed through Garth Ennis's use of mostly five panel pages. My question is this: How do you determine the amount of panels a page requires? I used to think something like that would vary wildly, but that can't be the case. Not when there's this much routine.
Okay, this became a bit of an essay, so I’m going to put most of it beneath a cut. It’s all really off the top of my head, so apologies for rambling, typos, etc.
Worth noting that before I write anything else here, there’s a lot of implicit assumptions behind what sort of comic I’m describing, and the effect you’re looking for.
The standard rule of deciding on panels is that there’s one action per panel. Some people would add “per character” to that. Use those math to work out the panel count.
Also worth noting that not all writers call number of panels, but even if they don’t tell the artist it, they’re doing that sort of internal math to work out how much they can fit on a page.
The trick is doing maths on choosing what that action is, and what actions are actually necessary. There’s an exercise that Tony Lee once told me - which I believe he got from JMS - which involves telling an artist or writer how long a set bit of story is. The story is, roughly…
We think of men as antiheroes, as capable of occupying an intense and fascinating moral grey area; of being able to fall, and rise, and fall again, but still be worthy of love on some fundamental level, because if it was the world and its failings that broke them, then we surely must owe them some sympathy. But women aren’t allowed to be broken by the world; or if we are, it’s the breaking that makes us villains. Wronged women turn into avenging furies, inhuman and monstrous: once we cross to the dark side, we become adversaries to be defeated, not lost souls in need of mending. Which is what happens, when you let benevolent sexism invest you in the idea that women are humanity’s moral guardians and men its native renegades: because if female goodness is only ever an inherent quality – something we’re born both with and to be – then once lost, it must necessarily be lost forever, a severed limb we can’t regrow. Whereas male goodness, by virtue of being an acquired quality – something bestowed through the kindness of women, earned through right action or learned through struggle – can just as necessarily be gained and lost multiple times without being tarnished, like a jewel we might pawn in hardship, and later reclaim.
Look at your stories - don’t just count who gets to be the hero and the villain (what kind of hero? what kind of villain?); count who gets the redemption arcs.
I weep bcause I think I hardly ever read anything funnier
This is legitimately one of the funniest things I have ever read. Even just explaining it to people IRL has led to tear-filled laughter. Just…yeah. Incrediblleee
Learnt an interesting thing today on this arabic course,
The original Arabic number system looked like this, the one we now use.
It was designed so each character had the corresponding number of angles to the number, so the number 1 has 1 angle, 2 has 2 angles, 3 has 3, 0 has none etc…
It is so obvious now, I’ve always assumed its one of those things that just is, with no logical explanation, but here it is, perfectly simple and satisfying
My jaw is legit on the floor right about now :D