Hello and welcome to Panel by Panel, an analysis of panels from comics right here on The Duck and exploring what they do, how they work, and what we can learn from them.
This week's panel comes from the webcomic Succubus by Coydog. This specific panel this week is actually an entire page! This comes from page 5 of chapter 2 of the webcomic. Also, this comic is probably not safe for work, so save the reading for when you get back home.
There is a lot I could talk about regarding the page in general, but let's focus specifically on the idea of a breakout panel. A panel breakout is when an object or character breaks the boundaries of the panel on a page to add visual emphasis on an action or a presence.
In this case, we have a couple of elements breaking out of the assumed boundary of the full-page panel. Though the page lacks a drawn panel outline, it is not hard to see where the panel actually is on the page thanks to the margin.
As for the elements breaking out, we have the car, some flashing lights, and the sound effect. The breakout on the car is particularly excellent as it really reflects the sense of speed. By exploding out of the confines of the panel we get a greater sense of motion. The flashing lights, which are represented by speed lines that have broken beyond the assumed panel border help to build on this motion. Naturally, the sound effect breaking the assumed boundary implies an otherworldly element as sound is something we do not immediately recognize as a component of comics. It occupies a strange space and the fact it cannot be constrained by the panel really sells that.
I think this is an excellent panel that takes advantage of panel breakouts. Though there is a lack of a line that defines the boundary, the boundary should be pretty obvious.
But here is a question for you: Do you feel like this panel conveys motion well? Why? What does the panel do to indicate that? Would the effect have been the same if the panel was actually presented with a lined border?
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Panel by Panel: 'Succubus' and the Panel Breakouthpkomic at 1:32AM, June 3, 2022
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skyangel at 1:51PM, June 6, 2022
That's a really lovely piece of art and the use of red for the text seemed to me to make the word seem much louder.
PaulEberhardt at 8:33AM, June 5, 2022
A crucial thing is keeping the background a bit blurry, and that job is done by the motion lines, the contrast of the sharp detail of the car and its driver and the background basically composed of shades, and of course the panel breakout. That way the background stays firmly behind as if it couldn't keep up with the speed of the car. This is again a truly awesome panel and I'll have to try that kind of thing one day. I also like the fact that this is an effect that's truly unique to comics and not something borrowed from film or photography. No other medium can do this.
Ironscarf at 3:44PM, June 3, 2022
Those motion lines coming from a central vanishing point are doing all the heavy lifting here. Without them you've got a stationary hovering vehicle, so if those lines were allowed to extend beyond a notional panel border, then border would work too I think. You might have to adjust the line weight of the car, but it's often just a case of try it and see. Thought provoking post on an interesting panel.
Unka John at 8:04AM, June 3, 2022
I feel a line border would diminish the effect of the red motion lines. Also, while not technically constituting a tangent, a borderline would give the feel of one where it meets the automobile. I'm not sure about the shading underneath the car though.