In and Out of Context

in the land of comics, there are single panel comics, in which one panel carries all necessary thought and action to get a thought across...

and there are strips...
where the ideas and action unfold
over several panels, building
to a resolution.

but it is also interesting sometimes
to take a single panel from a strip and enjoy it beyond the context of the longer story.

sometimes it can even become Art,
invoking questions and causing thoughts to pause,
even as our eyes are drawn deeper and deeper into the sensual subtlety of the lines and shading.

the structure and composition of the image stand in bold relief, challenging us more directly than they might have within the comforting frame
of a longer strip.

here, for instance, despite all the white faces
and coats, there is a dark feeling to the moment,
doubly indemnified by the geometry
of alignment of the characters.
was this Rip Kirby moment done during the 50s,
or is it of more recent vintage?


and goodness knows what this moment
with Mickey led to, but even as a single image,
it is curiously satisfying.

apparently, drugs were a recurring theme
Disney's earlier work.

removed from their original story,
these panels become powerful statements
about how our ideas of family entertainment
have changed over the years...

and they ask each of us
"which side are you on?"


here, a single panel from Nancy strip
becomes a pivotal moment -suddenly, Sluggo is confronting us with the very existential crisis
that would later be explored in greater depth
by Sartre and Camus.

the theme of bohemianism would flourish
a few years later, during what was called
the counter-culture. Artists like Frank Stack,
Gilbert Shelton, Lynda Berry and Robert Crumb
were among the leading figures creating work
that would change the face of comics
and then fine art itself.

...but one can also find very telling moments
without looking to the underground.

Walt Kelly's Pogo was nationally syndicated
in the US for almost 25 years, despite the fact
that he regularly satirized powerful figures
like Senator Joe McCarthy.

way to go, Pogo.

some Fine Artists have used this single panel
idea to great effect.

Roy Lichtenstein was a painter who drew
inspiration from single and double panels
in comic books. His work, in turn
was appropriated by U2's PopMart tour.

One of his paintings recently sold
for £26.4 million pounds sterling.

nice one, Roy.

too bad you're dead.
no money for you.

my own favorite among the Fine
is Niagara.

she rocks. figuratively and literally.


see you in the funny pages!

- 30 -


Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: