To start off Graphic narritive, we focused on the essentially of a pannel. More specifically how a pannel operates, how it is utalized and what it represents both metaphorically and literary.
Ah… tha pannel. In its most simplistic form, it is a form of visualisation in comics that is used to “frame” or “capture” moments in the narrative. A pannel can be thought of as a camera taking multiple shots or still frames to a film.
In terms of representation, the space inbetween the gaps serve as subliminal mesaages towards the representation of the pannel and as for the pannels itself, they contain various themes depending on the concept the narritive. However, the main factors that pannels can influence are;
time, location and perspective.
Pannels can be used with great flexibility when it comes to these delicate narritive topics, compared to other popular entertainment media.
Time, for example is far less punishing in comics and graphic novels then they are in films. Writers have the freedom to explain events of the past in the present to inform readers without having to influence the narritive, whereas in films, a flashback would be used to achieve the same effect. On top of this, the Graphic narritive medium freely jump to entirely diffrent aspects of the narritive by using storrytelling tools such as “meanwhile”.
This brings me to the theme of location. Just like with the subject of time, pannels can be used visualise environments as well as instantly change the tone, paste and setting of the story.
The writer can create narritives based on the location and juggle multiple stories in diffrent locations all at the same time, or at diffrent time intervals.
Other forms of entertainment media can also do this, but it proves more difficult to pull off, mainly because there is a high chance that storytelling in this way can confuse readers.
Perspective also can be manipulated with pannels in a simular manor. The writer can jump from persona to persona with ease, without risking confusion of reader.
Pannels can be used to stucture and sample multiple stories at a time with perspective, just like locations. However, the writer can focus more on characters rather then working on the general narritive by making the interactions more personal.
The gutter refers to the space inbetween the gaps of the pannels and this feature is essential for pacing in graphic narritive because it allows closure in a pannel.
Scott McCloud describes Closure as
“Observing the parts, but perceiving the whole.”
These gutters allow for a certain time, action or event to stop and be conserved in the pannel, before moving onto a new pannel which makes it easier for writers to manage hiw much infomation is placed in which pannel.
The pannel that comes after the gutter, often leads to what is known as a transition. This is where the present pannel connects to the past pannel through a form of visual representation.
There are six different types of transitions in graphic novels and narritives which help to uphold the pacing of the narritive.
Movement to movement = transition between basic movements and gestures.
Action to action= transitions that focus on a single aspect preforming a specific movement
Subject to subject= transitions that are within a scene which change the perspective
Scene to scene= transitions that occur at either diffrent time and/or spaces.
Aspect to aspect= a trasition that shows diffrent aspects all in the same scene.
Non-sequitur- no form of visual representation between pannels.
These tools help to progress the stroy at whatever pacing the author wishes, giving them fluidity in terms of storytelling. With that being said, the format of pannels in not orthadox and can be heavily reformed to suit the author visual desires. Keep in mind that it will also how readers read the narritive as well.