Scale make dynamics in a page

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To build a dynamic page you need contrast in the shapes between panels. Putting the same scale of shapes next to each other panel after panel leads to dull comics. Robbin’s make the Thief’s hand and gun almost exactly the same size in the first two panels. Then Batman jumps from a small figure to a full panel side head. The spatial relationship between Bats and the thief feels all screwed up in the cut between the two panels. So the large scale Batman head just feels kind of funky. Even just leaving all the blacks off the hand in the first panel would have made a difference in this shot reverse shot.

Robbin’s never drew the grimacing, deadly serious Batman of Adams that thrilled the teen-age me so much. His loose cartoony style never gave us the seriousness that has plagued comics up to Batfleck and beyond. It would have been nice to see him cut loose on Bats without the editorial preconceptions. Kirby uses these 3/4 side view, back of the head shots often to establish characters in relation, whereas Robbins just gave us a much easier to draw profile shot that doesn’t tell us much what is going on in the panel. Kirby manges to imply information in the scene, having enough skill to angle the head, show the back and give us a strong sense of characters confronting each other and a better sense of a spatial dynamic which increased the dynamics in his pages.

After the punch, Robbins lays out the mystery of how did the guy shoot himself. As with many of these stories, they are Detective talking and explaining what is going on rather than showing us events. The page is a let us draw a gun with no attempt to make it interesting.

Once again after the punch, it’s more of the same size shapes as all the interest in focused on the text talking about what is interesting in the gun. It would have been nice to pull back for a Caniff establishing shot to see the whole room and give us a visual relaxation after the punch and the opening close-ups. The long shot not having the tension of close ups. A close up on the hand alone isolated would have left it centered and provided more focus on what becomes a big issue in the story of playing Russian Roulette.


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One thought on “Scale make dynamics in a page

  1. Aaarrrggghhh!!! You are killing my love of Robbins. Seriously, excellent observations. Looking at these, I can see that there are too many closeups, not enough variation. It’s a bit distressing, but ultimately enlightening.

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