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<   No. 1455   2007-01-20   >

Comic #1455

1 Dwalin: Behoold! The Hall o' Dworin! Carven oot o' solid rock! {translation: Behold! The Hall of Dworin! Carved out of solid rock!}
2 {Camera pulls back...}
3 {... slowly revealing that the party is in a huge...}
4 {... nay, vast cavern, dwarfing the adventurers who are no more than a tiny speck on the floor amongst hundreds of enormous stone columns that support an immense vaulted ceiling hundreds of feet above.}
5 {Mind-numbing large shot showing just how unbelieveably, mind-bogglingly big the cavern is.}
6 Mordekai: But... I can't see the other side...
7 Mordekai: This chamber must be miles across! You dwarves are crazy! Why would you go to the trouble of creating an enormous excavation like this?
8 Dwalin: We dwarves value thu wide oopen spaces, ye ken. {translation: We dwarves value the wide open spaces, you know.}
9 Mordekai: You live underground!
9 Dwalin: I dinnae say we wurren't crazy! {translation: I didn't say we weren't crazy!}

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The recent change to my site code to allow arbitrarily sized images has allowed me to do things like... this. I originally had this planned as a standard four-panel strip, but after I took the photos of the Hall of Dworin, I realised that to really do it justice I should do a slow pull back over several frames to the enormous shot you see in the middle.

This is an artistic element that has been lacking in my format until now. Scott McCloud refers to several types of transitions between comic panel in his books Understanding Comics and Making Comics:

The most common transitions in most comics are action to action and subject to subject, since they are the most efficient at telling a story and conveying the events. And like most comic artists, they're the ones I use most. Almost exclusively in fact. Conversations, upon which most of my strips are built, are prototypical examples of subject to subject transitions, and the (relatively few) action sequences I use are canonical action to action transitions.

I also occasionally use scene to scene transitions, typified by the "Later:" or flashback "Earlier:" style captions that sometimes appear, and the scene changes between, for example, the Jones boys and the Nazis on either side of a gag. The changes from immersive fantasy or sci-fi world to me as the Game Master running the game could also be scene to scene, although from another point of view they are simply another example of subject to subject.

Non-sequiturs are kind of hard to use as, by definition, they don't advance the story. You need to be even more experimental than I am (currently) to pull those off.

Which leaves moment to moment and aspect to aspect. These can be powerful effects in a comic, but in order to explore their potential you need to have a large number of panels available. I have used moment to moment a few times, in strips like #127, #379, and #1052. But as you can see, it requires more panels than the usual four, and is tricky for me to do in my standard format. Which I've always felt is a shame, because it really does add to the atmosphere of the scene.

Enter the arbitrarily sized comic.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 20 January 2007; 02:11:01 PST.
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