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Panel By Panel: 'Mega Maiden' and Linear Composition

hpkomic at 11:08AM, Dec. 29, 2023

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Panel by Panel, a periodic exploration of comic panels around The Duck.

This week, I wanted to get back to my roots regarding these kind of posts, mostly just clicking through comics, finding a panel that speaks to me, and exploring why. I appreciate the chance last time to promote the zine project I am editing, and I am still encouraging anyone here on The Duck who wants to get published in something to join in. But let's get back on track, shall we?

For this update, I chose a panel from the webcomic Mega Maiden by Andeh Pinkard. Specifically from update #624.

The panel:

I admire a lot about Andeh's work, and I have been reading [i[Mega Maiden for a while. It's a very entertaining superhero webcomic. What I find most fascinating is the speed by which Andeh works and the overall quality of the work despite the breakneck update pace. I am a notoriously slow artist in the best cases, but this is especially true regarding comics. The ability for Andeh to work so quickly and maintain solid quality from page to page can make me a bit jealous. But this isn't some mystical gift or hidden technique that allows him to crank out the pages - it's being clever.

The panel I chose this week is an excellent example of what makes Andeh's work on Mega Maiden so good. Most of it is in the composition. The panel is simple, with the character firing an energy beam and some screen tone effects. A little dialogue with some sound effects adds some flavor. The panel is also in black and white with minor shading to create depth and break up the two ends of that black-and-white duo. All of that is well and good, but I feel like it's just detailing on the real talent on display here.

It's in the composition. Composition can do an incredible amount of work in a comic panel. Leading the eye can create a sense of direction, motion, and energy. Despite the relatively simple nature of the panel, it feels energetic and exciting through a clear line of action that draws the eye from the top left to the bottom right. While I am not sure how much of that was a conscious decision on Andeh's part, it shows his instincts are good. You can go through a dozen panels of the comic and find similar examples of linear composition.

Strong, direction arrangement can do a ton of the heavy lifting in a panel and ultimately save you some time. You can use directional composition to make your point, emphasize what is needed, and move on to the next panel. Throwing in a few panels like these into an action sequence is a smart move. Part of the rhythm of comics is moving between motion, reaction, and establishing shots. A linear composition, like the example from Mega Maiden, can give you a reprieve and speed up your process.

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Teh Andeh at 1:06PM, Dec. 29, 2023

This was pretty cool. It's neat to see someone break down one of my panels like this. I used to think about directing eyes a lot in my early webcomic making years. But after um, wow 20 years( on Jan 14th) I guess its become like a second nature. But this got me thinking, about how I break up pages. Maybe it's a good idea to start thinking when I'm working on layouts again lol

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