Pages that POP! is a new weekly feature here at POP: Culture & Comics! Each week, I'll take a close look at one particular page (or a couple of pages) that really do something extraordinary with the comics form!
This week, I've decided to take a look at this really disorienting page by Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp from Green Lantern #8 (2019):
Both narratively and visually disorienting, this page depicts our heroes fighting off some type of hallucination(s) apparently brought on by a pair of inter-dimensional sirens.
As is common with Morrison's narrative, what is "actually happening" on the page is a source of some confusion... when heroes cross dimensional borders, narratives can become, understandably, difficult to follow. This is instigated by the pages caption box in the first panel ("presently..."), which would imply that there has been either a time jump since the last page, or that what we were witnessing as the "Dimension Zero Adventure" may have been a part of some other hallucination?
Regardless though, the actual "truth" here isn't all that important. We are meant to be caught somewhat off guard by the story so that the page layout and structural design can further reflect those feelings of disorientation.
In panels one and two, Hal and Ollie seem to be struggling mightily to escape the confines of the panels! Only their speech balloons have the power to break through, as the panel stretches and bulges with every physical push of their arms, hands, and head. I particularly love how you can trace the line of the hyperframe (the inside of the panel that comes into contact with panel content) against Hal's head in the final panel, showing just how dedicated Sharp is to imprisoning him within the panel.
Yet, when Ollie begins to expel ("Hurlll!") whatever hallucinogenic the sirens may have infected him with, he is able to physically break beyond the panel! And, while Hal is never able to accomplish this, Ollie breaks free not just once, but twice. The second time, most interestingly, is when his hand grips the frame as if for balance in the final panel.
This sense of balance is also represented by the panel design itself. Notice how the bulges and stretches that elongate the edges of the panels seem to give the whole page a sense of being off-kilter? The motion lines that suggest Hal and Ollie's shaking only further emphasize this structural disruption and couple very nicely with the fact that the characters never once look as if they are standing upright.
All together, this page wonderfully communicates the feelings of confusion and disorientation that our heroes are feeling to the reader! It's a great example of just how powerful comics storytelling can be!
"Green Lantern #8" (2019) by Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp is published by DC Comics and available on June 5, 2019.