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Panel By Panel: 'Pious' and the Shot/Reverse Shot

hpkomic at 3:49PM, Sept. 8, 2023

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Panel by Panel, a periodic exploration of comic panels around The Duck. One common technique we've not devoted time to is the iconic shot/reverse shot, but thankfully, we have a strong example thanks to this week's webcomic. This week, we are looking at Pious, a comic by Hulder. Specifically, we're looking at a small sequence of panels from Chapter 6, Page 7.

So, let's dive in. Here are the panels we're focusing on.

The shot/reverse shot is a technique that shouldn't be too hard to figure out from context. While we would typically associate this with the rules of editing in film, comics borrow heavily from the toolkit of cinema. This is especially true when it comes to timing because comic panels are frames that represent a moment in time.

In our sequence from the comic Pious, we see three shots, flipping from one shot to reverse, back to the initial shot to illustrate the turns in a conversation. You could just as quickly have done this in two panels or even one if space is a concern, but the precise beats here give the scene a specific tone and heaviness. This framing is deliberate and makes the conversation feel heavier and more important, even removed from the context of the surrounding page.

We've hit the idea of comics and timing pretty hard as of late, but as creators, we have an incredible amount of control over pace that we can exercise because this is such a visual-heavy format. So, when you want to slow down the pace of a conversation or make sure you put emphasis where you feel it is needed, using a shot/reverse shot is a great tool.

Beyond the example of clever pacing we saw, Pious offers a visual treat worth looking into. Please check it out. Also, do you have an example of this shot/reverse shot in your comic? I am sure you do, but please share what you have done in the comments. I'd love to see them.

If you want to find earlier editions of Panel By Panel, click here.

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EssayBee at 5:25PM, Sept. 9, 2023

Pretty much 90% of Dude in Distress is like this. I tend to frame things like a 2-camera show, both because it helps with production speed and because I lack the artistic eye of a lot of comic artists. Plus my comics tend to be dialogue- and character-driven, so--for the most part--the dialogue and character reactions are the bulk of the action.

dragonsong12 at 10:42AM, Sept. 9, 2023

I think these are some of my favorite segments. They really highlight all the little things that go into creating a great page.

Locoma at 6:35AM, Sept. 9, 2023

That's really interesting what you said about the phasing, I think many of us use it without even knowing it. I wonder how many techniques comics borrowed from movies.

J_Scarbrough at 4:58PM, Sept. 8, 2023

Ah yes, I have utilized such a technique myself, but then again, animation and film in general has had a huge influence on my comic style. Has anyone ever tried an Over-the-shoulder Shot in their comics before?

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