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Panel By Panel: ‘Withdrawn’ and Establishing Character in a Frame

hpkomic at 3:45PM, Dec. 16, 2022

Hello everyone, and welcome to Panel by Panel, a periodic exploration of comic panels around The Duck. I am taking a break from submitted comics this time to spotlight a panel from a recent comic I stumbled upon. This week we're talking about the comic Withdrawn, created by Duck user Casscade. Specifically, we are looking at a panel on page “1.6.”

First off, the panel in question:

So, I want to discuss establishing character in a single frame or image. How can you tell us about a character in a single shot? This panel does an excellent job with that, especially as a capper to a series of panels that provide context. This panel works wonders - but the previous panels do a lot. This is a lot like the pacing of a joke. We have the beats that lead to the final punchline. I haven't even had much time to read the comic beyond this moment - but I get a strong feeling of what sort of person Domenic is.

So what have we gotten so far? A funny visual of someone passed out from drinking - who seems to be living with his mother. It appears there is some sort of transition in his life - or at least some arrested development. We also note the presence of a dog which is rendered funny in the full sequence because we see the dog in the bed while he is on the floor. This works especially well given the angle looming over him - while we are not in his mother's point of view, we still kind of are because we are also looking down at him.

Furthermore, this is an excellent representation of environmental storytelling. There is a lot of detail in the environment represented within the panel, but it never gets so busy that you lose focus on the character and his mother, who is just starting to enter the frame. The elements feel natural in their position without feeling overly curated - we still have what is essentially center stage to introduce our hero(?).

But, what do you think? Please share your thoughts. You can also share links to your pages and panels that you've made that evoke a similar framing. I'd love to see them.

If you want to share your comic for usage in a future installment of Panel By Panel please do! Send me your best, and I very well may write about it.


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Casscade at 7:41PM, Dec. 18, 2022

Aaa! ;.; Thank you so much for the kind words, PaulEberhardt!

PaulEberhardt at 3:40AM, Dec. 18, 2022

What can I say? I've just commented on this very cool comic that I like how every panel speaks volumes. Take that, people who say spending time on small details wasn't worth it! Apart from serving as subtext, they can do a lot for the overall look of a comic, which is important. Also, details can be used as the cherry on top for gags or provide a gag without it getting in the way, and what with the way they invite readers' eyes to stay on the panel a bit longer they're a great tool to fine-tune the pacing. Withdrawn provides top-notch examples for all of this.

Casscade at 6:40AM, Dec. 17, 2022

Aaa! What a lovely thing to wake up to! Thank you so so much for featuring my comic for one these and the kind words! The funny thing is, for the looming angle- I didn't even think of that! Being completely honest, I just picked whatever angle I felt looked best in sketch form during the rough thumbnailing phase. Lmao! But now that you pointed out that the audience is looking down at him, I'm really glad I went for that shot because it definitely adds to how I wanted Domenic to be perceived. So I'm glad it worked out that way! Haha! XD

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