I think that McCloud’s chapter on time is very interesting and it’s something that is address in comics in a very different way than how it’s addressed in, say, film. In comics it is super important to understand how the reader is going to read the scene, with film it’s like the viewer can see everything at once and understand what is going on. Whereas a comic artist will know that a long panel portrays a pause between the characters, a filmmaker just continues to film in the same scene.
Drawing from my experience in the last post I think it’s important for people who are writing comics to understand the passage of time more than what we’d expect from other types of authors. Jumping from frame to frame quickly doesn’t give them impression of time passing slowly.
Time and Motion are very similar in the way we move through comics. Each needs to be expressed deliberately and expertly. It was a problem that our comic had in high school, no one was ever shown moving and the passage of time was usually assumed as a single moment. Creating drama for us was literally having a character’s face filled in with more pen than usual. Any sort of movement was specific to a character. Like if someone flapped their arms in protest, the arms would simply be a few quick strokes in the place of the arms. But other than that there wasn’t any real motion.
(E)motion was the easiest to show, mostly because you can use static images to show emotion. There isn’t any sort of cross panel change that has to happen in order for someone to understand passing emotion. Sure someone may look disappointed for eight frames, but as soon as the face changes in frame 9 we know the characters mood has changed. We don’t need to see the actual movement of the face. When a mood gets progressively worse I’d say that is how emotion is incorporated into the motion of time in a comic. Like a character going from confused, to angry, to embarrassed (I actually couldn’t find a comic that emulated this but I’m typing this through some wicked cold medicine and just want to go back to bed).
Maybe emotion is the start to understanding how physical motion and time move in comics. Like when you start building with lego. Emotion is that single lego, a single frame of a comic. Once you add a few other pieces and have a foundation built, you’ve moved how it changes frame by frame, maybe even back tracking sometimes to other ’emotions’ and you’re showing how physical movement is happening frame by frame. We can watch the bricks move as you build. By the time you’re done you’ve got a perfect little model about the passage of time.