Oct 3, 2010

Comics Techniques and Tricks: Harvey Kurtzman and Bill Elder

Welcome to another edition of Comics Techniques and Tricks, in which we showcase techniques that only comics can do! Click here for the archive!

One of comics' most important creators, Harvey Kurtzman continually innovated with a bunch of tricks! In Tales Calculated to Drive You MAD #7 (the antecedent for MAD Magazine), Kurtzman and artist Bill Elder lampooned Sherlock Holmes with "Shemlock Shomes" and his sidekick, Dr. Whatsit. In the following sequence, Shomes and Whatsit try to get from one place to another.

Note the ease and convenience with which we read the panels. If you did this in any other medium, it would call too much attention to the shifting modes of transportation - prose would have to detail the exact shifts, and it would be too disorienting in film. But in comics, our visual cues are just the figures of Shomes and Whatsit. We see them moving and it registers to us that they're moving. The modes of transportation are almost an afterthought!

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