Collected Thoughts on Guido Crepax’s Hello, Anita!

I love this page from Crepax’s Hello Anita series.  The way those two top panels are cut diagonally across the same image—which accentuates the diagonal pull of Anita’s shirt.  It’s like a Sergei Parajanov type of move.  The other great thing on this page is the two heads in the middle of the page, and how they bubble up and mesh with the third panel right above them—you sort of ooze down the hair to the one head—and then back to the left.  Without knowing french, I don’t know if the far left “Qua, Qua” part is actually supposed to be read last in that panel—but compositionally you would read it last I think—both because the eye will go to the nearest speech bubble in a comic—and that movement is amplified by the way those two panels bleed into one another.

Also that faint blue box over the bottom panel—which I suppose could be a part of the scanning(I don’t own this particular Anita book, I have the later one)—but it’s positioning suggests a particular kind of intent anyways—and it’s almost a beautiful glitch flare type effect.

These are some more pages from Hello Anita—I picked them for a more broad point about Crepax which is that his pages and rhythms tend to work along these two types of axis of which this is one.  On pages like this—he kind of segments off a quarter of the vertical sides of one of his pages—in these instances the left side of the page—so the left side will have a longer vertical rectangle going down the side of the page—and then the right side of the page will have smaller panel sort of zig-zagging their way down the page—which creates a tension as a reader—because take the third page here as an example—I think your natural inclination even with the rule of speech bubble eye following IS to go down the vertical left section of the page like a scroll and THEN move back up to the top.  The bottom right panel helps in this because she is looking back up the page—sort of hinting “hey you should look up there too”

What is interesting to me about this kind of composition is that I think it forces you as a reader to step back from the panels and see the page as a whole first.  Which fights against the immersive qualities of a comic that’s like say on a very strict grid.  It’s even more interesting that crepax is using this approach for erotic art.  Which I mean—you actually will see this kind of construction in comic porn a lot really—I think it’s because in some ways it is the allowance of the page itself to become the pinup—and it is allowing it’s reader to sort of zig zag through what turns them on perhaps.  I also think it speaks to the distance that is in much of Crepax’s comics.  He doesn’t make immersive porn comics really with a few exceptions.  He is very interested in form and composition—and the comic for comic’s sake.  Or at least that’s what his pages tell me.

And then one last page from Hello Anita by Guido Crepax.  This page is fantastic.  And it’s also got this really cool thing going with the red phone.  The phone is where the speech and sound on the page are so your eye would naturally go to it.  But making it red—it’s sort of even more so.  Plus the way the phones Z across the page they make the eye sort of drag across the erotic portions of the page at a kind of corner of the eye glance.

There’s also the cool thing of her eyes seen from upside down—concurrently both sort of above and below her masturbating.

Also I think the bisected single image is one of the more beautiful things in comics.  It takes a singular moment in time and refracts it through comic time to create this lovely sort of slow mo stuttering effect.  It might be my favorite thing in comics.  Morgan Jeske did some absolutely beautiful ones in Change(Ales Kot, Sloane Leong, Ed Brisson as well).

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