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April 17, 2007

60 Panels
Posted by Avram Grumer at 08:29 PM *

You’ve probably already seen Wally Wood’s “22 Panels That Always Work”.

You may have seen Ivan Brunetti’s “22 Panels That Always Work (Sometimes)”.

But have you seen Calamity Jon Morris’s “16 Panels That I Don’t Think Work All That Well (But Which People Keep Using Over And Over)”?

Comments on 60 Panels:
#1 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 09:19 PM:

Maybe just me, but somehow this post got me pegged precisely: the "probably already seen" one I'd seen linked to dozens of times; the "may have already seen" one I'd seen a few times, not nearly as often; the other I actually hadn't seen.

They're all great, though. Thanks for linking!

#2 ::: A. Nakama ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 09:30 PM:

I love how the last lampoons both artsy comics and inelegant genre comics on the same page. Excellent find.

#3 ::: JaniceG ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 09:47 PM:

I suppose it's a sad commentary that when I saw the titles of these links, I automatically assumed they were talking about panel programming at SF conventions.

#4 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 09:54 PM:

Janice, that reading occurred to me too, about thirty minutes after I published the post.

#5 ::: Marcos ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 09:56 PM:

The two interpretations both occurred to me before I clicked through to read the actual article - so I was curious which one it would be.

Incidentally, all three panel sets were new to me, though I am a lifelong comic book fan. So thanks!

#6 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 10:15 PM:

The Library of America edition of James Thurber has an entertaining piece (this was brought to mind by the 16 panels) of things we are sure to see in the upcoming theatrical season. There's the old lady who's just as wild as the kids, who dances all night and when she finally leaves, picks up a bottle of hooch and announces that she's putting a nipple on it and taking it to bed. There's the dialog between a boy and a girl who stand some distance apart, back to back. There's the guy who turns a chair around and straddles it. All swell ideas, judging from the folks still using them.

#7 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 10:33 PM:

I have indeed seen Wally Wood's 22 panels, and probably grabbed it off the web a couple computers back (the one that Croaked For Good, not completely backed-up, the very night I bought this iBook I'm using). Now I have a good version.

Thanks.

#8 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 10:43 PM:

Janice, #3: You're not the only one. I was rather surprised to click thru and find comic art!

#9 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 10:53 PM:

I, too, thought it was about SF con panels. In fact, since I looked at the last one first, I didn't get it even after I opened the link. "Talking heads where everyone has their mouth tightly shut"? I've been ON that panel!

Do people really keep using the "Villain smiling over the arterial spurt" panel? I don't think I've seen that one before.

#10 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 10:53 PM:

Hmmm. Panels that always work...
"Ask Dr. Mike"
Jane Yolen's "Bedtime Stories" (with cookies and milk)
Jon Singer and Jordin Kare on lasers
TNH, Tom Whitmore, and Elise Matthesen on (in?) Moderation

#11 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 03:18 AM:

Put together Brunetti's "Nancy" and Calamity Jon Morris's smiling villain (*). Add Jane Yolen to the mix, as John Houghton suggested, and you've got a winner of a panel.

(*) Last seen in Neil Gaiman's Eternals comic-book mini-series.

#12 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 03:25 AM:

> assumed they were talking about panel programming at SF conventions.

I thought so when I just saw the title, but I recognized "22 Panels That Always Work" as being about comic panels because I had seen it before. And I hadn't seen the others.

#13 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 04:27 AM:

when i first started drawing comics, i really really wanted to be will eisner. i did big curvilinear layouts without any discrete panels or right angles if i could avoid them, with swooping perspectives & bleeding blacks.

only my friends who were not comics readers (well, who were not will eisner readers) couldn't follow the sequences at all.

"why is he big & she's tiny?"
"he's in a different panel."
"what panel?"

a few issues in, i learned about how the art is supposed to, you know, inform the story, & if a bus is sinking into a woman's ear, there should be a reason for it, same for fancy floating perspectives, etc.

so my compositions calmed down a lot. now 90% of my panels are rectangular, & when people are talking, you almost always see both their heads, from head-height.

i'm doing my final artboards for a new issue now & of course i have to be consumed with self-doubt about something, & what i've been consumed with is "are my compositions too utilitarian now? when two peple are engaged in a conversation over five panels, does there need to be a reason for them to be the same size & from the same angle in all five panels?"

to sum up, that was a very apropos post. & it made me feel better about myself, that i believe i've never done those sixteen things (especially recycling panels. i hate that).

#14 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 05:11 AM:

I find myself in exactly the same position as Stephen@1, re the number of times I've seen these three things. I found the new one amusing; thanks for posting it, Avram.

Xopher@9: I'm sure I've seen that panel at least a couple of times, although I can't point to any examples off the top of my head.

#15 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 05:58 AM:

Avram had me as well on the frequency of seeing.

I always used to cut people off at the knees because I couldn't draw feet. Eventually I realised that I couldn't really draw any part of a person very well, so now I put the feet in (and just draw for my own amusement).

#16 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 06:24 AM:

The thing about cutting people off at the knees is partly a side effect of paper and film formats--if you want to show the whole figure you can end up with a lot of empty space to fill. Add in that TV and cinema are "landscape" formats.

It may also have something to do with the odd camera angles, such as looking down at a person, though that does depend on a certain amount of skill with handling perspective effects.

Comics and cinema have some similarities, and one reason why a movie such as Sin City can look good is that the tricks of composition and lighting can cross over.

#17 ::: Christopher B. Wright ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 08:29 AM:

The title would be more accurate if it were changed to "16 panels that I'm tired of looking at so I'm going to tell other people to stop using them."

The other big thing that goes around on Comixpedia and other sites is "don't break the fourth wall -- only amateurs and hacks break the fourth wall."

As an unpretentent amateur and hack, I actively look for opportunities to break the fourth wall, and if I used ANY of those 16 panels my readers would be amazed... because I'd actually be drawing something.

#18 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 08:38 AM:

I miss the days when Reed Richards's bodiless head would be of to the corner of a huge panel, the rest of which he'd fill with pre-STTNG technobabble that explained how he built a framistat on the fly, using parts lying around his lab, so that he could safely deactivate the army of doombots while also shutting down the gate to the Negative Zone, thus foiling the combined plans of Blastaar and Annihilus.

#19 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 10:51 AM:

Ah, but see, you have to be old enough (or fannish enough) to notice that it's Wally Wood's "22 Panels That Always Work". Then you'd never think of a symposium.

#20 ::: PixelFish ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 06:15 PM:

Janice@3: No need to feel guilty, I did the same thing. And I'm even into comics in a major way. I think it's the context of finding such a post here--I naturally assume SF panels.

#21 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 09:59 AM:

I'd never seen any of these. So, Avi, does this mean you're working on your stuff now? Huh, huh, huh?

Dave Bell, #16: You know, Sin City is for me a perfect exemplar of why comic book art effects don't work in the movies. That sort of look is not what I go to movies for; it's massively annoying. Then again, that may be just me; Renaissance and 300 failed to work for similar reasons, though Renaissance is excessively dark-hued animation (much like Sin City) while 300 is a bad Frank Miller adaptation (much like Sin City).

#22 ::: Ulrika O'Brien ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 01:03 PM:

Gee whiz. I had a moment of contextual confusion before clicking the first link, and thought panels refered to panels at a science fiction convention. Now I really want someone to write a guide to 22 panels that always work.

#23 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 06:41 PM:

Okay, speaking of panels at conventions, Andy Ihnatko recently offered a taxonomy of panels (or, at least, the kinds of panels he is asked to participate in). He wasn't talking about SF conventions but I recognized truth when I saw it.

=====[Quoth Andy:]======

I don't want to give anything away in advance, but (as usual for this event) the list seems to break down into four or five different categories:


A Report On The Metric System. A topic that I feel has been done to death, in which nothing new can possibly be added at this level. The Challenge: Come up with something that I and the audience will find interesting regardless.


Head Trip. A topic that's frustratigly vague and which seems to invite me to maliciously twist re-interpret it, like a Fundamentalist who's determined to find some sound theological backing for his decision to screw his best friend in a real-estate deal. The Challenge: Not to go so far with this that I wind up running down the clock by talking about how awesome the season premiere of "The Shield" was.


Pennies From Heaven. A protein-packed topic that forces me to wire up a countdown timer to a stun-gun and tape it to my ankle. It's the only way to shut up at the end of my alotted ten minutes instead of blathering on for the panel's full 80. The Challenge: To find the fortitude to keep right on talking even as the smell of burning hair and skin fills the hall.


The Do-Over. I've been speaking at this Conference for nearly ten years now, doing anything from seven to twelve panels per. Naturally, there are plenty of panels where The Perfect Approach didn't hit me until weeks later. So when you seem to have a second chance, you jump on it. The Challenge: Make sure I don't let on how hard I'm trying to manipulate this one guy into setting himself up for my killer "Jerk Store" zinger.


Shrödinger's Topic. I've no clue what this panel is supposed to be about or what the hell I can possibly say. Its state cannot be determined until I observe it happening. I will sit quietly, let the other panelists talk, and then pick up and run with whatever topic they seem to have been speaking about. The Challenge: Listen very carefully to what the other panelists are saying to make sure I don't wind up blindly supporting the point that Canadians all smell funny and if the USA had any balls we'd do something about them once and for all.

I'll leave it to you to determine which categories apply to which topics. Though I will point out that I've no idea what's going to happen on the "Comic Books and Graphic Novels" panel. I've checked out the bios of the other folks I'll be speaking with and I'm not 100% certain that any of them are regular readers. I mean, if you flip to my bio, you'll note that I write about technology and that there's no mention of any sort of wife or girlfriend. This makes you think "Aha! Here's a man who would definitely have a strong opinion about the creative success or failure of the recent 'Civil War' mega-event and the death of Captain America!"

Whereas the others seem to have, you know, jobs and lives. So, fingers crossed.

=====[end quote from Andy Ihnatko]======

#24 ::: Gabrielle ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 01:51 PM:

That actually brought me humor.

Well, they might work for you, or not..

#25 ::: P J Evans sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2014, 12:03 PM:

Nice spam. Came here often?

#26 ::: Stefan Jones suspects spam ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2014, 10:47 PM:

REally blatant spam, actually. Terminate!

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