Bleeding Time and Space

16 Oct

While looking at images in a comic book, the typical convention is to read from left to right and top to bottom. This is particularly helpful to comic book writers and artists as they decide on the best way to tell the passage of time in their stories. In the writer’s hands, this includes the amount of words a certain character says or in the artist’s hands how long a panel is or the length of the gutters between panels. In any case, “just as pictures and the intervals between them create the illusion of time through closure, words introduce time by representing that which can only exist in time—sound.” The problem with reading a single image in terms of developing a sense of sound is that “perhaps we’ve been too conditioned by photography to perceive single images as single moments” (95, 97). This is where the beauty of using bleeds plays into developing a sense of time in a comic because the length of the panel lets readers get a feeling of a focus on a longer period of time instead of just a moment or two with dialog helping to establish a time frame.

This is where, according to McCloud, “time is no longer contained by the familiar icon of the closed panel, but instead hemorrhages and escapes into timeless space.” Bleeds, or “when a panel runs off the edge of the page”, are helpful because they “can set the mood or a sense of place for whole scenes through their lingering timeless presence” (103). In a single panel, an action between either two or more characters or even between a character and his/her surroundings could be occurring and the reader would only be able to understand how long it would take to perform the action or move from one place to the other. In a bleed, the reader could better understand through how long the panel is, how long it would take them to read the dialog bubbles, and how much the characters move from one place to another over the course of the bleed. This is why bleeds are more effective at conveying time than increasing the gutters or placing more panels: because it stretches out the area of where the reader looks and is able to better give comprehension of movement through space.

Works Cited

McCloud, John. “Time Space”. P. 94-117.

2 thoughts on “Bleeding Time and Space

  1. rap
    9:19 pm - 10-17-2010

    great insights on how a comic book is created. great info to past along to a friends who wishes to be a comic drawer

  2. legos for girls
    2:49 am - 10-24-2010

    After reading this I thought it was very informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this post together. Once again I find myself spending way to much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!

    Leave a Reply to legos for girls Cancel reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

csims's blog

Another amazing bgsu blog