The Ashes of Jedha

An issue of Star Wars #41 snuck into my pull bag last week. I haven't read Star Wars comics in over a decade and hadn't been planning to start, but I figured, what the heck, why not try something new.1 When I sat down over my lunch break to read it, though, something felt off. About halfway through, it finally struck me: it's using the widescreen storytelling techniques that were all the rage in the late '90s!2

And this is for wasting my time.Star Wars #41 (March 2018), pages 17-18
Art by Salvador Larroca.

The more I thought about it the more it seemed appropriate. Look at the sequence above - doesn't that feel like Star Wars? It has the same sort of staging and rhythm you expect from the movies. You can almost imagine Chewie's ship wobbling back and forth in the TIE fighter's targeting reticule and hear the engine roar noise as Luke's ship sweeps in to the frame. Heck, the first time I read it my brain even inserted a non-existent panel where that asteroid ship's engines fire up and start slowling swinging it around.

That's the secret to widescreen storytelling - it only works when it fits your story. Star Wars has a well-defined and rich visual language that you can piggyback off of to add depth to your storytelling. Likewise, if you're telling a blockbuster-style action-heavy story it's entirely appropriate. But f you're just doing it to avoid having to think about panel-to-panel transitions and layout? Forget it.

  1. Plus it put me over the minimum credit purchase amount. So that too.
  2. There are a couple of pages that aren't completely widescreen, but we're talking inset panels on splash pages and an occasional page where a single tier has been split into two close-up panels.

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