The preceding webcomic represents an attempt to translate the peculiar sequencing of artist Jerry Moriarty's "Jack Survives" strip from the comics anthology Picture Story #2 (ed. Ben Katchor, December 1986) into digital form. Moriarty's two-panel comic is printed on the inside front and back covers, with one panel filling each. With the inner pages of the magazine stapled in between them, simultaneous viewing of both is impossible, as seen below.
The reader, then, is left in the position of having to flip the content of the magazine back and forth in order to "read" the comic from its front-cover beginning to its back-cover end. (Or alternately, to plow through a reading of the entire magazine in between viewing the first and second panels, creating what must win the crown for the slowest panel-to-panel transition of all time.) Moriarty has drawn a comic with little to no progression in time between its two panels: what we are seeing is only movement in space, with the angle of the frame's composition swinging down and to the left, as mirrored by the reader's physical sweeping of the magazine's pages in roughly the same direction. Moriarty involves the audience in his comic to a much greater extent than the average comic strip does. By forcing readers to turn the pages and assign sequence to his two separate images, Moriarty is making readers directly responsible for bringing the element of "comics" ("sequential art") to his piece.
For those willing to view the comic in a form other than that which its creator intended, below is an image of both panels side-by-side, in the more familiar comic-strip format.
In this digitized version, the reader is still responsible for the piece's identity as "comics", now by means of clicking through to the next image on rather than turning the pages of a magazine. Hopefully the effect that is lost from the piece with this version's removal of the physical action of turning the page is made up by the movement a scroll down the image creates, as well as the pieces' lack of shared physical space.
Rather than writing any closing remarks, I leave readers with the following essay on sequencing by Moriarty, as published in the same issue of Picture Story as the "Jack Survives" strip.
-- Matt Seneca, LA, 17 Sept. 2011
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