Superhuman Cognitions, Fourth Dimension and Speculative Comics Narrative : Panel Repetition in Watchmen and From Hell
Rantala, O. (2016). Superhuman Cognitions, Fourth Dimension and Speculative Comics Narrative : Panel Repetition in Watchmen and From Hell. Fafnir : Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research, 3 (4), 23-39. Retrieved from http://journal.finfar.org/articles/762.pdf
© Fafnir 2017. This is an open access article published by FINFAR Society.
Abstract: This article investigates the use of repeating panels in relation to speculative fiction storytelling in graphic novels Watchmen and From Hell , written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons and Eddie Campbell, respectively. Presenting the same panel several times over the course of the narrative is an expressive medium-specific narrative technique available only to comics. In the discussed graphic novels, panel repetition is used to represent the superhuman cognitions of the quantum powered superhero Dr. Manhattan, as well as the magical experiences of Sir William Gull, the homicidal madman behind the brutal Jack the Ripper murders in Victorian London. Both characters have abilities and inner life which can be considered speculative, fantastic, or science fictional. Furthermore, their extraordinary cognitions and experiences are exceptionally well- suited to be represented through the comics medium, a narrative form operating on fragmentary visual matter. Comics narrative can employ complex repetitive patterns which Watchmen and From Hell use to simulate four-dimensional simultaneity and detachment of time and space. Moreover, in “The Dance of the Gull-Catchers”, the nonfiction appendix to From Hell that examines the history of ripperology, panel repetition provides narrative evidence, takes part in speculative play, and also works as a device for visualizing the disnarrated ...