The Return Of The Double Page Spread – From Superman To Saga, Today

It was said that the rise of digital comics would kill the double page spread. Hell, I think I sad it at some point. But this was backed by folks like Jim Lee, who saw his own style changing to take into account how tablets and hones zoomed in on panels and made double page spreads obsolete.

Of course some artists like JH Williams and Francis Manapul made a point of using the double page spread as a matter of principle. But they had been fading a little of late, especially as the standard page count dropped from 22 pages to 20.

But today, just looking through a few comic books they appear to be back, with a vengeance, in a variety of different styles.

So in Superman we get the classic from John Romita Jr. What could be a single panel, is blown up for impact.

Superman #34 (2014) - Page 15

While Darwyn Cooke in All Star Western uses the space to show the size of a landscape. Note how the smaller inset panels not only make the lager image seem bigger bit also make it last longer, as the brain uses the speed you gave to read the smaller panels and then persuades you to spend longer on the larger panel as a result.

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Fantastic Four does a similar trick but also gives you the time and the space to come to terms with some of the oddities of physics of the base he's working with.

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In Silver Surfer, Dan Slott and Michael Allred give a number of double page layoust, one after another, with the Surfer and Dawn above, and Doctor Strange and The Hulk below. A very effective trick that might also work if you printed them all out and lined them up next to each other. Works well with a digital option, too.splash 2

All-New Invaders uses the space for lots of detail on the fight freeze frame. Lots of characters, lots of fighting, lots of space used and filled.

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Thor & Loki gets some mighty direction and power from the Asgardian goats, with other panels also using the wideness.Lots of direction and speed as a result.

 

 

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Oh and Saga? Possibly the most accurate use of the word "widescreen" to date… welcome to the Robot King.

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Oh and to celebrate what would have been his birthday tomorrow, the man who made the double page spread his motif, Jack Kirby.

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And the man who invented the thing in the first place, Ben Thompson.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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