Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Two page spreads

One thing I'm curious about is how the two page spreads (specifically those in the Justice League books by Jim Lee) look on the iPad and iPhone. It can't be that great a reading experience. I'd say two page spreads are more for the benefit of print versions. But here's the thing, they really aren't (in most cases).

Now this is just my opinion of course and there are exceptions (I seem to recall some great two page spreads in MiracleMan, Sandman, Return of the Dapper Men, etc) but I found in those exceptions they fit the story more. They gave us a large view while moving the story forward. In Justice League 1 you have a double page spread of Batman jumping out of the way of gunshots from helicopters, is that really worthy of a two page spread? In issue 2 it seems (I've only seen the unlettered preview) you have Batman and Superman squaring off in a two page spread. Yes, it shows off some pretty artwork but does it really tell the story effectively or is it just trying to cover up a lack of substance with some eye candy?

And aside from that, it keeps me wondering about making comics for print and digital yet again. The talk about going digital seems to gloss over what this means for some artists. Many artists don't look at making comics as a panel by panel thing, for them the whole page (and all its panels) fits together as a work of art. So you'll have panels blending into one another, overlapping (in art or dialogue), and other little "tricks" that require you to see the full page at once to get the full reading experience. Currently, tablets and smartphones are smaller than printed pages and often lose detail when pages are shrunk down to fit them (especially the phones). Computer monitors are usually better (though they have to be sufficiently large enough). I guess the assumption is that either artists will have to stop doing stuff that works better in print or that technology will eventually find an answer or that the majority of comic readers (especially those going to digital) won't care.

I tend to go with the last option for the most part, I don't think there's that many readers who actually care about this stuff. It's too bad in a way as I find it nice to see artists who know how to really tell the story effectively through their art but I accept that I can be in the minority and that there's a larger audience who just want their glossed over pretty pictures. I guess it's like all other forms of entertainment (TV, movies, books, etc) where what I might consider high quality doesn't always bring in the money and the audience wants their sex/violence/explosions/"reality" TV/"leave your brain at the door popcorn blockbuster"/glittery vampire with abs/whatever else sells. And who am I to say what is right or wrong for them to like/spend their money on.

Though I also know of some artists who are considering these things and being pulled in many directions. So hopefully they can find a balance or a solution and that technology continues to expand the possibilities for them.

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