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22 Comics Panels That Always Work
August 23, 2006 12:53 PM   Subscribe

Wally Wood's 22 Comics Panels That Always Work.
posted by empath (34 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's amazing. I never knew this existed. Thank you, empath.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:06 PM on August 23, 2006


Ben Day?
posted by sourwookie at 1:07 PM on August 23, 2006


I had to look up Ben Day, too. Has something to do with how you get colors and shades in comics printing.
posted by empath at 1:08 PM on August 23, 2006


Brilliant, the Zen of comic strips. Very cool.
posted by nickyskye at 1:09 PM on August 23, 2006


How about a NSFW for panel 20, huh? Sheesh!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:12 PM on August 23, 2006


22 images in total, they held the secret to a comic book illustrator's success, and those who learned from them benefited from the master's wisdom. The panels were gold, but were not packaged in such a way that was easily disseminated.

Now I'm full of wonder how this was done: Tracing or tissue papers? Showing the panels to another artist and then torching them?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:14 PM on August 23, 2006


This will help me out a lot when (if) I take up drawing comics again. When I was but a wee kid, I was pretty stumped as to how to make dialogue in comic panel form seem interesting.
posted by Mister Cheese at 1:19 PM on August 23, 2006


I guess they always work, but I there's something that almost creeps me out about them. These feel like the 70's generic comics I'd pull out of the comix bin in old junk stores. It gives me this bad feeling inside, like reading a book that's been phototypeset. The information in here isn't current, is barely relevant, and smells of futility to me.

I realize that makes absolutely no sense, but it does carry this weight of "uncomfortableness". Maybe that just wasn't a great time in my life and this is all just an accidental sort of anti-nostalgia...but if anybody else is gonna know what I'm talking about, they'll probably be on Metafilter.
posted by Brainy at 1:23 PM on August 23, 2006


I guess they always work, but I there's something that almost creeps me out about them. These feel like the 70's generic comics I'd pull out of the comix bin in old junk stores. It gives me this bad feeling inside, like reading a book that's been phototypeset. The information in here isn't current, is barely relevant, and smells of futility to me.

I realize that makes absolutely no sense, but it does carry this weight of "uncomfortableness". Maybe that just wasn't a great time in my life and this is all just an accidental sort of anti-nostalgia...but if anybody else is gonna know what I'm talking about, they'll probably be on Metafilter.



Show me on the doll where Mark Trail touched you.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 1:29 PM on August 23, 2006 [5 favorites]


hahahahahahahaha oh shit that is funny.

great link by the way.
posted by das_2099 at 1:32 PM on August 23, 2006


Well, updating them is easy. Just tilt the panels.
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:32 PM on August 23, 2006


Brainy, I don't fully understand what you're saying, but I can understand what you're talking about with the 70's generic comics you're talking about. I imagine, though, that a good comic book artist wouldn't use the 22 panels all of the time, if at all. Personally, I think it'd be a good starting point for the inexperienced webcomic artist to start thinking about how to mix things up and make 'em interesting. I mean, have you seen some of the repetitive cut and paste that passes for comics on the internets now adays?

I mean, maybe it's post modern stuff to have the exact same panel over and over again, and all of the character development is in the dialog. But it's comics, man, comics.

Okay, so that last bit was straying in to my own ranthood. I can't say anything, I am not a webcomic artist or a comic artist. Just a man who likes to draw and has been wondering maybe I could be like my role model, Jeffrey Rowland, and have webcomics of my own.
posted by Mister Cheese at 1:33 PM on August 23, 2006


Ben Day = Zip-A-Tone = Screentone = Halftone.
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:40 PM on August 23, 2006


What are you guys talking about? I don't see a reference to Ben Day anywhere on the linked pages.
posted by jjg at 2:01 PM on August 23, 2006


Oh wait, it's in the panels themselves. Never mind.
posted by jjg at 2:05 PM on August 23, 2006


Hah! This was passed from student to student like some illicit sacrament when I went to the Joe Kubert School. I still have my photocopy somwhere.
posted by lekvar at 2:15 PM on August 23, 2006


These panels look like good jumping off points for film directing too. Would uh, make for good storyboards.
posted by storybored at 2:22 PM on August 23, 2006


How about a NSFW for panel 20, huh? Sheesh!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:12 PM CST on August 23 [+] [!]


heh. I've had a copy of this tacked to the wall over my drawing table for a long time, and one day that panel just jumped out at me and I started laughing. And it's fitting, too since I've often heard Wally Wood, infamous for his slow-but-steady enhancement of Power Girl, refererd to as "the horniest man in comics."
posted by COBRA! at 2:32 PM on August 23, 2006


Wood is brilliant, and these are fun to look at, but I think this is a terrible way to tell stories.

If you use Wood's panels, you'll create cool pictures that don't necessarily serve the story, and illustrations should serve -- not be cool. (If they happen to be cool WHILE serving, that's icing on the cake, but form should FOLLOW function.)

An illustrator should first try to understand the story and then craft each image to move the story forward. The "camera" angle should serve this purpose. I'm fine with Wood's panels if they are just meant to job one's mind into possibilities that DO move the story forward. But I think they're foolish bases to start from when the artist is feeling stuck. When he's feeling stuck, he should return to the story, read it again, and figure out what angle best serves it. This is how good film editors work. The best once are conservative. They only use wacky angles once in a while, when something extreme is needed to serve an extreme moment in the story.

But my views seem to rub against the grain -- if this non exchange with Art Spiegleman is anything to go by.
posted by grumblebee at 2:47 PM on August 23, 2006


lekvar, how was the Kubert school anyways? I've always dreamed of going there but I'm too much of a coward to make the move.
posted by Bageena at 3:02 PM on August 23, 2006


Grumblebee, these panels aren't supposed to be used exclusively, they're for breaking artist's block, or help you to tighten your composition.

I didn't get much out of the Kubert School. If I could do it allagain I'd go to a college with a decent art department. But that's just me. One of my classmates is doing quite nicely for himself, has his own Bat book last I checked.
posted by lekvar at 3:09 PM on August 23, 2006


Thanks for the link, empath. It'll be nice to have a fresh copy of this thing.

He left out one of my favorite shots, though: the talking globe. You know, a panel of the earth floating in space with a word balloon or two hovering nearby. I'm preeeeetty sure Wally Wood used that one a time or two, probably when he was under a really tight deadline.
posted by maryh at 3:27 PM on August 23, 2006


This is just about virtual camera angles. Wood wasn't telling people how to tell stories. He was just saying don't put the virtual camera down in one place and have talking heads. Change it up a little. Granted, some artists got away with this, like Charles Schultz for example. His minimalism is extraordinary, legendary, and many generations have loved his work.

Other artists do the stationary camera thing and it so doesn't work. This is ultimately one of the reasons why Watterson quit Calvin & Hobbes. He felt restricted. He wanted to expand on the limitations of the medium. Find 22 plus panels. In fact in a way he did. Watterson invented a new way to do Sunday strips that allowed more freedom, but ultimately the syndicate didn't care what he wanted. So he left. He said he'd leave if they didn't change. They didn't change. They called his bluff. He left.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:42 PM on August 23, 2006


...if you're ever unhappy we only have ten years of C&H? Don't blame Watterson. It's the syndicate's fault. It's the fault of all the newspapers that carried him who refused to give the funnies more space in the paper. It's the fault of the advertisers who supported those decisions. It's the fault of the other cartoonists who didn't stand with Watterson, and it's our fault every time we support newspapers who don't support creativity on the funnies pages.

Why newspapers haven't faded away in light of better technology and innovation is beyond me. They shoulda gone the way of the drive-in movie theater by now.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:02 PM on August 23, 2006


jjg - the reference is to his son, also named Ben, who invented a method of halftoning using ink on a screen with raised bumps.
posted by bashos_frog at 6:13 PM on August 23, 2006


This can be a useful tool for planning out videos, too.
posted by diplomacydiplomacy at 6:28 PM on August 23, 2006


Grumblebee, these panels aren't supposed to be used exclusively...

No, but you can try.

Note to self: In the future, don't sit on a potential FPP material, intending to one day 'flesh it out a bit more'. Post it!
POST IT NOW!!!


Uh, nice post, empath. *sobs*
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:36 PM on August 23, 2006


Excellent post, very zen.
posted by Vindaloo at 10:40 PM on August 23, 2006


Ivan Brunetti's 22 Comic Panels That Always Work
posted by hydrophonic at 11:07 PM on August 23, 2006


> How about a NSFW for panel 20, huh? Sheesh!

Where on earth do you work? Opus Dei?

Can a black and white cartoon drawing of a naked woman - pretty much in the distance - be worse than you surfing rather than working?
posted by catchmurray at 7:35 AM on August 24, 2006


Alvy + empath: Are you guys on the "oubapo-america" list, too?
posted by safetyfork at 8:07 AM on August 24, 2006


I got it from 37 signals.
posted by empath at 8:11 AM on August 24, 2006


I'm just a nerd who's spent way to much time in Comic Blogville.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:25 AM on August 24, 2006


Damn. I thought maybe, just maybe! The panels seem to be making the rounds lately. Cool links no matter where the source.
posted by safetyfork at 11:03 AM on August 24, 2006


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