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The Complete Calvin and Hobbes: Book One

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Calvin and Hobbes page 80.JPG
Calvin and Hobbes page 80.JPG
Title: The Complete Calvin and Hobbes: Book One
Creator: Watterson, Bill
Date: 2005
Source: VCU Libraries, James Branch Cabell Library, Special Collections and Archives
Publisher: Lionheart Books Ltd.
Description: Third cartoon strip, page 80. Time is a hard concept to represent. With comics, the gutter between panels can represent anywhere from a second passing to several million years. Typically, we approach comics with the assumption that the time between the panels amounts to a few seconds unless there are drastic changes between one panel and the next. Such as a character that was a child in one panel is shown as an adult in the following one. The larger the amount of time that passes, the easier it is for the reader to follow because the visual differences will be greater.

Time is a hard concept to represent. With comics, the gutter between panels can represent anywhere from a second passing to several million years. Typically, we approach comics with the assumption that the time between the panels amounts to a few seconds unless there are drastic changes between one panel and the next. Such as a character that was a child in one panel is shown as an adult in the following one. The larger the amount of time that passes, the easier it is for the reader to follow because the visual differences will be greater.  

But what if the comic wants to show the passage of say, an hour? This is where the pause panel comes into play. A pause panel is exactly what it sounds like, a panel in which the action pauses. Bounded by action on both sides, the pause panel is a typically devoid of movement, or text. It is a visual “rest”. 

Take this Calvin and Hobbes sequence for example. Inside the tent, Calvin and Hobbes tuck themselves into their sleeping bags and say goodnight to one another. The next panel is an exterior view of the tent they are sleeping in. We as readers assume that they are sleeping because of the lack of text, and because of our familiarity with the “real” pause that occurs when we go to bed ourselves.

This short comic also features a long transition of time, between the panel where someone asks “Do you believe in ghosts?”, and the one where Calvin and Hobbes are sitting outside their tent shaking with fear. The transition of time is signaled to the reader through the dark sky in one panel, and the sun rising in the other. There is no need here for a pause, because the reader can easily assume that there was a passage of time from the change of night to day.
Text: The Complete Calvin and Hobbes: Book One
Original Format: Book
Collection:
Considering Comics
Citation:
Watterson, Bill, “The Complete Calvin and Hobbes: Book One,” VCU Libraries Gallery, accessed March 31, 2020, https://gallery.library.vcu.edu/items/show/104041.