Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Scarlet Arrow



And we wrap up 2006 with four silent penultimate panels:

Hagar the Horrible by Chris Brown
Luann by Greg Evans
Sally Forth by Francesco Marciuliano and Craig Macintosh
Brewster Rockit: Space Guy by Tim Rickard

Brewster Rockit uses an extra-extended silent-double.



Sally Forth's may be a silent penultimate panel or a silent antepenultimate panel.


The two full column panels suggest that the last four panels should be read top to bottom. Further, Ted's tie and torso leads the reader's eye straight to the borderless silent panel. But traditional comic strip rhythm (and normal left-to-right reading habits) says that the silent panel should be penultimate. Either way, the gag reads the same, further demonstrating the uselessness of the silent reaction.

Back in the day, comic book editors would fix these sort of confusing lay outs with a "scarlet arrow" --giant pointers or numbers telling the reader exactly how to read it. It was also meant to embarrass the artist. Considering how they used to be treated, editors must likely also withheld a meal and removed one more link from the chain between the artist's wrist and his desk.

2 Comments:

Blogger afraidofnames said...

I think the silent panel, along with the hat and noisemakers, isn't intended as part of the main narrative at all. It's just a little extra doodle, or a mini-strip. The caption for the mini-strip might be "Sally Forth: Talkin' about stuff clear into 2007!"

1:32 PM  
Anonymous CounterHegemony said...

Monday's Dog Eat Doug (http://www.comics.com/creators/dogeat/index.html) features a penultimate panel that is not only silent, but also completely empty. Talk about laziness...

5:52 PM  

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