Graphic Novel Review: Brayden Jacobs

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

“Dog Man” by Dav Pilkey is an extension of the incredibly graphic novel series, Captain Underpants. The two main characters from Captain Underpants decide to resolve of their teir super hero’s journeys and start something else, deciding to write a new comic following Dog Man, who was created when the villain, Petey the Cat, sets off a bomb trying to kill Officer Knight and his dog, Greg. A nurse sews together Officer Knight’s Body onto Greg’s Head and thus Dog Man is born. Dog Man goes on to be the “perfect crime-fighting Cop”, capturing Petey the Cat repeatedly as he continues to escape Cat Jail. The iconography is childish and simplistic, as the ones writing and depicting the comics are the two fourth graders from Captain Underpants.

Dav Pilkey’s use of page flipping Part 1

Dav Pilkey’s use of page flipping Part 2

Not only is the iconography simplistic, but the linguistic narrative is catered towards kids at a similar age to the fictional writers; an audience that falls somewhere between late elementary and early middle school. I chose this book specifically for its projected audience, as I was interested if Scott McCloud’s comic techniques would still be found in a children’s graphic novel. The read itself was a bit boring as language was elementary and the plot line never followed anything crazy, but I think the author’s use of various comic techniques made the book interesting from a scholarly standpoint. Most pages contained a similar number of frames with nearly identical gutters, but there were a few times that Dav Pilkey took advantage of the book being a published book. Page flipping was used numerous times throughout the novel to create a sense of motion, as depicted below and in my previous blog post about Dog Man. It involves the reader and makes reading more interested for a generation that has, by percentage, been drawn away from reading.

Eroyn Franklin’s Bikram Addict

Scott McCloud’s I Can’t Stop Thinking #6

As for addressing Eroyn Franklin and Scott Mcloud’s digital comics, there were more interesting topics and intriguing use of a digital workspace compared to a bound book. The hardest part of making a digital comic seemed to be incorporating how the reader would be seeing the comic. With pages, the author can compound a series of frames on a two-page setup and have the story advance as the reader flips the page. Digital comics however, are read by scrolling down a webpage or a post and don’t have as well-defined stopping points for the reader. Eroyn Franklin made use of background colors and gutter sizes to create a page-like layout for her digital comics. Scott McCloud on the other hand used vertical frames to move the story forward and gave the reader a obvious path to follow by connecting frames with direct lines. I think both artists/writers had unique but effective uses of their digital platforms.

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