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<   No. 655   2004-11-11   >

Comic #655

1 Sallah: So where are we going, Monty?
2 {map: showing south-eastern Europe, with a red line marked to show the Joneses route to Santorini, via Trieste, Sarajevo and Athens}
3 Monty: Someone's drawn all over this map with red ink! I hate it when they do that!

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Once again I am using a World War I era map of Europe, since I haven't been able to locate one with the borders of the 1930s. The Ottoman Empire, founded by Sultan Osman I in 1281, was formally dissolved in 1923. Santorini is still in the same place, though.

And finally they're travelling west to east, so the red line on the map fits the natural flow of the strip better.

I'm using a comic strip technique I picked up from Hergé, the creator of the Tintin comic books, in which the characters are shown travelling from left to right when advancing the story. Showing them moving from right to left gives the impression that they are coming across an obstacle of some sort, plotwise. I usually try to be consistent about this when showing characters travelling - although sometimes I forget or the layout of the scenery dictates otherwise.

2013-12-02 Rerun commentary: Having recently been going through the Battle of Hoth scenes in The Empire Strikes Back for Darths & Droids, I was struck by the use of this left-to-right convention of progress in those scenes. The Rebels are shown facing right, the direction of advancement for the protagonists, but they are blocked by the onslaught of the giant snow walkers, moving from right to left. When the Empire wins the battle and destroys the shield generator, the Rebels are shown fleeing in retreat, from right to left.

Keep an eye out for this convention in visual story-telling arts - including both comics and films. You might be surprised by how many times it appears.

Actually, there should probably be a TV Trope for it...

There is this, but that only applies to video games, not movies or comics.

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