Jar of Fools
Two-thirds of Team What Were Comics met up in Toronto this past weekend for the annual conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Comics, which is held in conjunction with the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Some very productive discussions took place, and these will impact how we proceed over the summer and into the fall. It was one unofficial discussion that I wanted to note here today, though.
On the Saturday night at TCAF I found myself talking with Jason Lutes and R. Sikoryak in a bar, and our conversation touched a little on this project. Specifically, I mentioned the odd "perpetually falling horse" panel from Jungle Comics that I previously posted about. Jason immediately spoke up to say that he had included one such panel in his graphic novel Jar of Fools (above). I hadn't recalled that page so was curious to look it up again when I got back to Calgary. Jason noted that his intention is to have the tall panel read twice. Thus, the ideal pathway, for him, is panels 5 -> 6 -> 7 -> 8 -> 6 -> 9. That way you get the despairing Esther twice. Fascinating.
Anyway, it's interesting to see this unusual panel lay-out turn up again - deliberately and knowingly - half a century later. Lutes is one of the smartest cartoonists working today, so I'm not surprised that he thought his way through this particular conundrum. If you haven't read Jar of Fools you really should try to track down a copy (I'm not sure if it is currently in print from Drawn and Quarterly). It's one of the great comics of the 1990s.