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Steamroller Man
Issue Three
Issue Three, Page Fourteen

Steamroller Man

Starting from Comic #66: Issue Three, Page Fourteen
Issue Three, Page Fourteen
There are two dueling philosophies of visual storytelling when it comes to comics.

One is the principle of The 180 Rule, which comes from film making. In a nutshell, it means that if two characters are talking, facing each other, the one facing screen left should always stay facing screen left, in every shot, and likewise, the one facing screen right always faces screen right. Having the characters suddenly appear on the opposite sides would mean the camera has flipped 180 degrees, and will leave the viewer thinking "wait, I thought that guy was over there?" Following the 180 rule makes for a more comfortable, less confusing viewing experience. Of course, if the desired effect is to unsettle or confuse the viewer, the 180 rule can be deliberately flouted.

The other philosophy, which comes directly from comics, is Leading The Eye. In the western hemisphere, the reading direction goes left to right. Applying this to comics, I've seen artists try to have characters on the left side of the page facing inwards, towards the next panel in the reading order. The thinking behind this is that the character's gaze acts as a pointer, leading the reader's eye to the next panel. Furthermore, having a character on the right side of the page also facing in towards the middle is thought to act in the opposite manner - stopping the reader's gaze from straying over onto the facing page. There is a lot more to unpack regarding how artists effectively lead your eye from element to element, and it's actually one of my favorite things about the craft of making comics.

As much as possible I like to follow the 180 rule - I think it makes for clearer storytelling. This page, however, is an even-numbered page, which means when this comic is printed (yes, one day) it will be on the left side. It felt weird to me to have Paige in the first panel, top left corner, looking off to the left. So in this case, I favored Leading The Eye, and decided to angle this panel over Paige's shoulder so that she could look to the right - in to the page - at Steamroller Man. This also has the benefit that her eyes in panel one are actually looking directly at Steamroller Man in panel two. Leading your Eye.

One final thing about the storytelling on this page - Panel Five is the last panel on this page and also the end of their conversation. My idea here was to start the conversation on the previous page with an angle looking down into the dark crater, which would visually match Paige's despair. Then after Steamroller Man cheers her up, the conversation ends with an angle looking up and out, at the sky - hopefully an image of hope, to signify Paige's lightened mood.

I was quite happy with how this one turned out and I hope you all like it. The drawing seemed to go a little easier for me here. Thanks for reading!

If you're enjoying the comic, spread the word! Tell your friends!

See you in two weeks!

Reader Comments

And everyone thinks he's a fool.
Thanks for the lesson! I'm trying to learn this stuff.
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Issue Three, Page Fifteen
Surprise! It's another subplot!

As I said in a previous Creator Commentary, I have so many ideas for stories and supporting characters that I feel like I'm not going to get to them all, unless I start dropping seeds for them into the current storyline. So here we are. A spaceship carries a baby towards Earth - I'm sure you can all tell which particular superhero I'm parodying here! Hopefully you're wondering what this particular page will mean for Steamroller Man - that's my intention! A few of you regular commenters have made pretty good guesses regarding earlier story developments, so feel free to make some guesses! Of course, I will confirm or deny NOTHING!!

The plot outline for this page was very simple - a ship flies through space. I was a bit stuck for how to add jokes to that. It's challenging to add comedy to something which is essentially just connective story tissue - like getting a character from point A to point B. In this case there wasn't even a character on the page until the last panel! So I fell back on something I've seen the writers of The Simpsons do in similar kinds of scenarios - sign gags!

Adding signs floating in space didn't occur to me at first because I think I was not thinking "loose" enough, putting mental restrictions and rules on what would "make sense" in space. Thankfully I remembered that I could make this comic whatever I wanted it to be - I was the one making the rules!

The first sign hopefully requires little explanation. The second sign is a reference to a real street intersection in Los Angeles, whose street names seemed quite a propos here. The third sign sprang from the same train of thought - once upon a time, tourists in Hollywood would pass at least one sign advertising street maps of the area with the addresses of famous stars' homes. I'm not sure if this is still happening in this post-pandemic world, but it was once "a thing", and it also fit in with the other two astronomy-themed puns.

Reader Comments

Love this page.
is it Batman?!
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