Panel Loco: Don’t you want to be fruitful and multiply?

Action! Seaguy opens with a Kirby-influenced explosion from the past which reverberates throughout the first volume. See Seaguy run, jump, swim, punch!

Seaguy (vol 2) opens with a Ditko-influenced contemplative vista. The characteristic poses are sitting, standing, and walking. Even against El Monstro in #2, Seaguy’s action is essentially stationary. Luckily Cameron Stewart does the best just-standing-around-in-a-superhero-book since Dave Gibbons.

I discussed the spread in #1 already, but what did I leave out? In the next panel, over the page, we are shown She-Beard looking down on our hero’s shoulder-slumped walk. Having been presented with him walking directly into the page, we now, with She-Beard, see him walking at an angle, page-in but also page-right. This image recurs four times in the final pages of #3.

See how Stewart modulates the body language in each panel as Seaguy walks through the wreckage.

Seaguy walking

Seaguy walks away, shoulders slumped, from Vertzebelion.

Seaguy walking

Seaguy walks away, shoulders straightening, from Lotharius.

Seaguy walking

Seaguy walks away from the Super Set.

Seaguy walking

Seaguy walks away, tentatively, from Chubby.

To walk into the page is the furthest a character can turn from the reader. Into is an introspective movement, but also a movement into further adventure. To alter direction to the side of the page reduces the drama and opens up an intersubjective dimension. What is Seaguy’s relationship to the reader? What is Seaguy’s relationship to those he walks towards? What is Seaguy’s relationship to those he walks away from?

Seaguy doesn’t so much deny the futures offered to him by Vertzebelion and the Super Set, as defer them. That’s what the walking signifies. He may yet follow in the footsteps of his father figure, Lotharius. He absorbs these futures, as he absorbs Chubby. The integration of the conscience is the loss of the ability to use it properly. As he is given more and more possibilities, he becomes smaller and smaller.

There’s a trick to the reduction in size of Seaguy. He is not simply being drawn smaller and therefore further away. The panels he is drawn in are actually smaller too. He seems further from us as his frame is reduced in scope.

The irony of rejection being acceptance is a chief one of Seaguy. It builds in these final pages, until Seaguy rejects fighting She-Beard, but accepts her as a prize to be given by Mickey Eye, whereupon the final panel fills the page, and he is blown up to fill it, taking her with him, with all else either excluded or made into a perfect backdrop for them.

Not the end! Be seeing you! Seaguy Eternal!

4 thoughts on “Panel Loco: Don’t you want to be fruitful and multiply?

  1. A great catch, David! I just found myself in the peculiar position of disagreeing with Jog about Seaguy 2, but couldn’t say just why…’til just now. This one really is all about the art, it’s becoming a commonplace but we rarely seem to find time to show it…

    Though my favourite’s the splash of El Monstro. can’t stop looking at that damn thing, it’s just so PERFECT…!

    With your permission, I think I’d like to shoehorn this into Panel Madness as a coda. Hmm, maybe better do another one fairly soon, too…

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