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Moonlight meanderer

Panel By Panel: 'FCL55' and Balancing Details

hpkomic at Aug. 25, 2023, 8:23 p.m.
tags: analysis, doelfcl55, fcl55, hpkomic, news, panelbypanel

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Panel by Panel, a periodic exploration of comic panels around The Duck. This week I am going to be looking at a panel from the webcomic FCL55 that I think does a great job developing an aesthetic through balancing details within the design. FCL55 is a comic produced by DoELFCL. The panel comes from Page 84 of the comic's first chapter.

I want to note a trigger warning this week as the panel depicts mass suicide. It never hurts to provide a little extra warning when something could be a sensitive subject.

So, the panel depicts the aftermath of a group suicide. It's a pretty affecting panel, though primarily comprised of what are silhouettes or unknown individuals. I could discuss a few things regarding this panel and its functions, but I want to narrow the focus to how details are balanced. Namely, we have an environment that is more detailed than the figures, which is very interesting.

What we see as far as the environment isn't much, technically. It is some concrete or metallic floor made of large tiles with pronounced holes in the seams between the segments. It's a pretty basic flooring style. What gives it the detail is that this basic style is more emphasized than the grouping of human figures. We also have the coloring. At the same time, largely dull grey, significant red smears are spread across the flooring and pooling under the corpses.

The smears add a texture to the flooring, and you can make out what appears to be some grunge or brush texture. The pooled, thicker splashes of red also have a very organic and smeared appearance but also serve to create what is essentially a grim highlight around the tangle of bodies, emphasizing them.

Yet, the individual figures are primarily indistinguishable and dark grey. It is a curious contrast that speaks to the anonymity and violence inherent in the aftermath. Yet, despite the carnage, it is more abstract and iconic because the detail is, in what many would argue, the wrong place.

I think this is an excellent approach to convey a mass violence instance like this without getting bogged down in unnecessary, gory detail. Gore has it's place, of course. I am a bit of a gorehound myself. But in the case of this page and the tone of the comic, I find this approach to be quite good.

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