Sometimes I’ll be reading a comic and be struck by the composition of a single panel. When I was in high school, I’d search for single panels of Calvin and Hobbes to enlarge for the covers of my notebooks. I know what you’re thinking: He’s a nerd. And you would be right. But what I really wanted to express was that, while comics are meant to be read in sequence, there is the opportunity for the great single panel. For an analogy, I think of the great scene in an otherwise bad film; the one scene you might watch the whole movie for. Similarly, novelists will choose a passage from their book to read while on tour. I like being able to pick out a portion that can stand alone, and that represents something beautiful about the whole work.
On my website I attempted something I called the Panels Project. I picked single panels from a number of comic strips and strung them together. I wanted the result to look like a big, beautiful, nonsensical comic. Reading it sequentially would reveal no storyline, no traditional punchlines, but it would represent some of my best work, and maybe give an impression of the characters that you might not get reading the comic once per day.
I have to say, I don’t think the actual page came out the way I hoped. I’d like to give it another try, but I’m not sure exactly how I’ll do it. Ideally, there would be no background: you would only see panels side-by-side. You would scroll down, and there would just be row upon row of panels. It would be like a skyscraper made out of comics.
If anyone with web page building expertise has any suggestions, I’d love to talk about how to realize this project.