Saturday, February 6, 2010


Conjecture: the middle fold of a newspaper creates a top and a bottom. I sense that below the fold Foster attempts to reorient his story using the bottom's centre. Foster uses the bottom's centre only a handful of times in the first 2 years of Valiant. Although it's not a typical tactic, it does self-consciously and momentarily challenge the virtues of his medieval adventure strip.

Two examples of below the fold.

1, up) Val, so youthful, so handsome, is singled out in the centre and then laughed at. (I have cropped the panel to the left of Val.) We hear nothing from Val, though us loyal readers already know the grand story, and so the finger in the centre demands something more from him. The row below these 2 out of 3 panels shows Val getting violent; this moment of judgment, therefore, has been incorrectly answered. Foster denies Val his story to foreshadow his failure.

2, down) There's no lower row to these big panels, but once again I have cropped a third panel (this time on the right). The knave's face is so strong, so desperate, that we need to be reminded of Val's valiance or the knave will cease to be a knave. Foster gives this knave so much life at his moment of death. His wild and detailed face obscures young Val, obscures the capture of Sir Gawain, and obscures the grand story of Valiant. And so, Val must take centre stage again, swift and surefooted.

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