From the Breaking News Department
by T. Hodler
Thursday, October 7, 2010
From Sean Howe’s research files, an historical curiosity. First, a semi-famous page from X-Men.
Specifying this very image, Les Daniels has written that “Neal Adams shattered comic book layout conventions with pages like this one.”
Now look at this Comet page drawn by Jack Cole for Pep, nearly three decades earlier:
More likely a matter of coincidence than crime—and Sean has asked that I not present this as The emperor has no clothes! This finally puts the lie to the idea that Neal Adams is anything but a fanboy figurehead. It’s all been downhill since Caniff! Jack Kirby is a genius and Stan Lee is a huckster! Wally Wood was robbed! So I won’t.
Interestingly enough, though, when he was later interviewed about this layout for Comic Book Artist #3, Adams had second thoughts about his panel placement:
[This is] an experiment. I looked to see what is the greatest dimension on a comic book page that I could make somebody fall from. I realized it wasn’t from the top to the bottom of the page, it was diagonally on the comic book page. I also realized that because of the way I set up the previous page, I couldn’t just have the fall take place immediately on the first page. So it actually gave me the excuse to use the diagonal to make another panel precede it, where the Beast gets knocked off the window and then we use the full page to have the drop taking place, and sock your eye back up to the top of the page. If I were doing it today, I possibly would reverse the page, so I would have this last panel down in the lower right-hand corner.
Which is how Cole did it. Of course, locating every innovative page-layout idea that could be traced back to Cole would be a full-time job. Anyone hiring?