I was planning to file Daniel Danger’s breath-takingly atmospheric art under Not Comics, but the more I thought about it, the more I reconsidered. It’s got me thinking about how I define comics. I like the popular “sequential art” definition except that it excludes single-panel strips like The Far Side and most editorial cartoons. For the sake of preciseness, I’m okay with drawing a distinction between comics and cartoons, but that’s not really helpful when I’m trying to decide what’s fit for talking about on this blog. I don’t imagine anyone would question coverage of Dennis the Menace or Bizarro.
Comics also can’t be defined by the presence or absence of words. There are far too many excellent, wordless comics that I’m unwilling to exclude from whatever definition we come up with. Shaun Tan’s The Arrival starts that list for me, but Jim Woodring’s Frank, Eric Drooker’s stuff, and several of Jason’s works are right there too.
So, is there such a thing as a wordless, single-panel comic? I think so, especially when the piece tells a story as strongly as Danger’s work does. See for yourself and let me know what you think in the comments.