Newton's Law

David Thorne (davidthorne4ever) says:

Now this was a confusing page. I had to read it four times before I realized that the timeline on the top is supposed to match the timeline on the bottom.  So, the first panel on the top occurs at the same time as the first panel on the bottom, and the second panel on the top occurs at the same time as the second panel on the bottom, and so forth. Finally, the bandit cuts Newton in the third panel on the bottom, and Newton's psychic double feels the pain in the third pane on the top.   In both timelines both Newton's realize that Fatio is falling to the ground in their respective fourth panels.

Fellows, this is a clever effect, but I will also hazard a guess that not one reader in ten will understand it without a footnote. As Will Eisner said it so well, 'eighty percent of the things you can do in comics don't work.' This sort of panel arrangment is one of those eighty percent.  If you want to try this, my suggestion would be juxtapose these timelines the old fashioned way, with the panels side-by-side. You could put panels of Newton on the ground on the left side of traditional pages, and then panels of Bad Newton in the sky on the right; and at the top of each panel you would put a caption which says either 'on the ground' or 'in the sky.' That may seem old timey, but telling the story that way would keep readers rather than baffling them.

garrett anderson (garrettanderson) says: Hmm. Thank you for your detailed criticism. We'll take it into consideration,clarity is king after all. However I've seen several comics lay out like this-Promethea springs to mind-that I've read without confusion. There's also something going on here that I don't want to telegraph right now that would be lost if we laid it out the way you suggest it.
Tak Rhak (tak) says:

I don't reckon it's too confusing, as it's something that also makes sense in the usual linear top-left-to-bottom-right style. Basically, it'd still work in a film, where one thing happens, and y'like "wut?" and then it cuts elsewhere to something that directly explains what you just saw. I dunno, like a mini-flashback sort of thing. It's used a lot in tv and films (well, somewhat) and makes sense so long as the two events occur near enough each other. Maybe David Thorne's appreciating the art too much, and spends too long on each panel. :P (Nuthin' wrong with that.)

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