Short three-paragraph mini-review


Filed in Secant

Given that comics are a visual medium, it is perhaps ironic that so many comics rely on dialogue and narration to tell their story. Fortunately, every so often a cartoonist will take a chance to let his or her artwork itself do the telling. These “silent” comics can often tell a greater story and show greater emotion compared to their wordy brethren. Mind you, this is a difficult thing to pull off; if a cartoonist lacks the artistic skill to effectively show facial expressions and body language then the comic risks being confusing. Fortunately, after over a decade of drawing Megatokyo, Fred Gallagher has developed the skills needed to pull this off (even if he doesn’t believe it).

Even new readers would be able to grasp something of what’s going on right now, even if they don’t know the characters. Tohya Miho’s startlement as a note bounces off her shoulder and the shock on her face as she reads the note (composed of a mere three letters that say so very very much) are clear; less so is her posture and being drawn in on herself as if expecting to be hit until that last moment when she learns Piro is there (even if he’s looking quite annoyed and looking away from her; that last panel definitely tells how he’s feeling at the moment… and who he is angry at. And as new readers read backward, they’d learn more of just what has led these two to this room.

Gallagher could have done this with dialogue. We could have heard the background chatter and the ongoing fight between the classroom teacher and Largo (who was called in as a substitute). But ultimately that would have distracted from the story shown here. We are being shown what happened, and even background features such as the shadowy hands and silhouettes pressing up against the room as these Others try to reach Tohya help to craft the mood. Sometimes less is more. No doubt the sound and fury of the classroom will return in the next strip. But this one silent interlude was a shining moment of how a picture can truly be worth a thousand words.