Graphic Novel Review: Dawson Bolen

Graphic Novel “Earthling” by Mark Fearing

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reading the graphic novel “EARTHLING” by Mark Fearing. The story is about a young boy who attends school on a distant planet. He makes friends, plays sports, and does many other activities to be involved with the school. However he is discriminated against because he looks different than most of his peers, as he is one of the only humans at the school. At the end of the book, the school finds out that he is an Earthling and they accuse him of being a spy sent by other humans. They threaten to lock him up or kill him but in the end he makes it out alive.The iconography is not super realistic but very detailed. Likewise, the color scheme and line work is meant to give the artwork an out of world feel. Everything is very alien and futuristic to fit the theme and setting of the story. The closure is often scene to scene well to show long passages of time. Many scenes depict space travel, which is a long process so by using scene to scene the author doesn’t have to show the entire process of space travel. The novel uses text very frequently. The text is a vital piece of the story and it’s used to guide the dialogue throughout the whole story. 

This page shows the academy when they find out that the main character is an Earthling.

After reading the web comics, I noticed a lot of distinct differences between reading them vs reading printed comics. First of all, there is an element of movement that allows a lot more creativity when it comes to dialogue. Frames can move from one to another in any direction. Also frames can be set in place in the current frame to then be zoomed into. This creates a lot of possibilities for the creator that isn’t possible with printed comics. Moreover, when reading a graphic novel or printed comic, the reader is enabled to see the entire page. Many of the web comics went from frame to frame which makes the reader read one frame at a time. This allows many of the details of the frame to be more vibrant and noticeable. This frame by frame sequence also creates more suspense for the reader by not allowing them to read ahead. There’s more suspense and unpredictability to the story line. Lastly, this removes any confusion that there might be towards how the story is supposed to be read. Reading the story frame by frame in a web comic eliminates top to bottom or left to right and even any sequence that challenges the traditional English way. It is clear which panel is supposed to be read before the next because the web comic flows the way it’s meant to with no confusion. This also affects time frames because the reader can only see one frame at a time. In Scott McCloud’s “The right Numbers” the reader can interpret the passage of time in their own way because the panel to panel sequencing makes time passage less obvious.

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