Back in May (2014), when I decided to jump back into comics, I complained about how I wasn’t too keen on color and that I much preferred manga panel layouts and transitions to the typical comic book/graphic novel style. Since then, I’ve written a few brief comments about how I was faring with these disincentives, but for the most part, the struggle has gone unreported and, to some degree, unnoticed.
It wasn’t until I read Princess Princess that I started to think about those issues again. It’s definitely a disservice to the colorists of the comics I’ve read since my return, but Princess Princess is the first comic whose color stood out to me on every page and every panel. Unlike previous works where–I now realize–the color would be acknowledged but quickly filtered out, I was aware of the colors every step of the way. But I don’t know why.
Two of my recent comic reads, Pax Arena and Wars in Toyland were essentially told in the most basic layout: a strip. But because I read both on my tablet which allowed for a smooth, continuously horizontal, rightward progression (plus the cool effects Pax has when you read on comiXology), I was disengaged from the monotonous typewriter-style reading of regular comics. The simplicity of the layout was instrumental in keeping me interested. With Pax, I felt like I was learning things with every swipe, getting further and further into the mystery. And with Wars, sometimes I felt like I was following right behind characters on their journey and other times it was more like I was watching a parade, but instead of it, I was the one moving.
Although I returned to the regular comic layouts of Inhuman #1 and The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage #1 between the above titles and Princess Princess, it wasn’t until Princess Princess that I became aware that, though boring, I had gotten used to the oscillation required for reading most comics. Why this doesn’t bother me when I read paragraphs is something I don’t know. I didn’t think about it once until I finished the comic.
Six months ago when I decided to read House of M, I didn’t think I would get to a point where I would have 20 or so comics on my physical or digital desk waiting to be read and almost as many on my “waiting for the end” list. I’m definitely more into the capeless variety, but it’s not like reading about heroes has been all boredom and suffering either, however, I’m not sure how far in I’m going to dive. I have to finish Big Hero 6, there’s the New 52 Batman to start, I’m waiting on Inhuman, and then the New 52 Nightwing to consider, other than those my interest hasn’t been piqued. Who knows? I also have a stack of #1s to check out, so we’ll just have to wait and see.