Friday, 24 July 2015

Deep Sequencing: Finding Panels

Or a look at the panel construction in Finder: Third World
by Carla Speed McNeil, Bill Mudron, and Jenn Manley Lee; Dark Horse Books

Finder is a pretty fantastic comic. Of all the comics I write about, I think Finder might be the closest to my perfect reading experience. The story is broadly Science Fiction, and is just filled with hundreds of high concept ideas and really insightful, and often darkly funny, critiques of contemporary culture. The characters are vivid and charming and weird. The artwork is expressive, beautifully composed, and filled with an incredible attention to detail and storytelling. I cannot recommend Finder enough.

And yet, I find it really hard to satisfactorily articulate *why* you need to read this comic.

But I think this sequence from Finder: Third World encapsulates, in a single moment, just why I am so keen on Finder:

(As always *SPOILERS*.)

The story of the sequence is that Jaeger, the half-Ascian Finder, has gone legitimate as a courier in one of the futuristic domed cities of the comic. His colleague brings back a package that is undeliverable that is addressed to the next building over from their courier office. Apparently the freight elevator is broken and the recipient's building won't allow deliveries in the main elevators. Jaeger being a crazy badass flings himself through the air, from building to building and with delightful casualness delivers the package. The dude signing for the package asks "Is this level of effort worth what they must be paying you?" and Jaeger answers: "At this point in my life, I think it's important to be happy." It's pretty much perfection.

This sequence captures Finder's spirit. We have a far-future world of holographic interfaces and neurally implatned information technology in an arcology mega-metropolis where physical delivery people are waylaid by restrictive, classist rules about lift usage. Against this pretty incisive satire about work, class, and the physical limitations of technology we get a pretty solid character building moment for Jaeger, seeing his utter disregard for safety, his bravery, and his uncanny talent for getting difficult jobs done. And then this wonderfully absurd situation ends in a profoundly resonate statement that is the crux of my approach to finding meaning in life. I kind of fucking love this comic.

As a comic wonk, I love this sequence too. The final page of the sequence in particular is this amazing showcase of how layout structure can add huge amounts of emotion to a compostion. The majority of Finder: Third World is comprised of square and rectangular panels that fit together at right angles and make for a very clean, very easily read narrative (like above left). The final page of the package delivery sequence (right) has panel shapes that are radically different. Instead of fitting together in clean blocks, these panels fit together in radical angles. This gives the page a precarious, unbalanced look that perfectly captures the drama and unusualness of the situation. Which, in turn, helps boost the danger and comedy of the sequence elevating the entire experience. It's a fundamental comics choice that really improves the page and is diagnostic of the superlative attention to detail that is characteristic of Finder.

Finder is too good a comic to not have read. 

Post by Michael Bround


So I Read The Finder Libraries
So I Read Finder: Talisman
So I Read Finder: Third World

Deep Sequencing: Lettering in Finder

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