BEST BETS: "Jessica Jones," "Big Trouble/Escape from New York" & More October 2016 Highlights
Kramers Ergot 6 (2006), page 35 panels 1-4. Marc Smeets.
Sequence is vast. As I’ve said here a few times before, it’s what’s makes comics comics. If it’s got images placed in sequence on the page or on the screen and it wants to call itself comics, then I for one fail to see grounds for rejecting it as such. That’s not to say that all comics are equal — though sequence is what creates visual art as comics, the skill of its use is a major part of what creates good or bad ones. But the idea that certain kinds of sequencing are more appropriate to comics, or even work better in comics than others is simply a fallacy. The old chestnut “it’s the singer, not the song” applies here. A method of sequencing’s effectiveness is directly proportionate to the skill and consideration of the artist using it.
The biggest misconception about sequence in comics is that it’s strictly a storytelling tool. It’s not. Sequence is simply the overriding device that comics use to deliver whatever it is they’re delivering. One might just as well claim that the screen a film is projected onto or the pages of a printed book have some inherent connection to creating narrative. No, sequencing extends beyond all storytelling possibilities to encompass more. It is the comics medium’s vehicle. If narrative is what an artist intends they’ll almost certainly use sequence to propel it, to take the reader from one to ten via two, three, four, et cetera. But if an artist is focused on doing something else with the comics form — creating abstraction, presenting snapshots too brief to be called “story”, showing off various images in harmonious arrangement, or any one of a million other options — sequence will more than likely be the driving force as well. The only thing sequencing always creates is comics. And comics can be anything.