Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Balloons, Part 2

(From Ex Machina #11 by Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris. Click to enlarge.) Tony Harris models his panels on photographs and traces over. Each panel comes to life in discretely unfrozen chunks; the panel thaws at different speeds. This is of course not unique to Tony Harris comics. I'm not concerned here with stylistic word balloons like in my previous post, so much as the activation of particular segments in a panel when one reads and enunciates the dialogue. Ex Machina is a "book about conversations," according to Harris, so often two speakers in the same panel will be speaking simultaneously, each mouthing words on pause. Above, it might be easy to see Mayor Hundred's hands move along with the beginning of his interjection, "You know what, I'm going to stop you there." But are Commissioner Angotti's hands up in defense or resignation, up during her speech or the Mayor's?

The panel is unstuck in time, much like Captain America, much like Lost, much like that Billy Pilgrim novel people have by now forgotten.

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