Wednesday, 16 November 2011

English 202 - Citizen Rex

For this week's entry I'm looking at Citizen Rex, a futuristic graphic novel by Mario and Gilbert Hernandez. The story, both written and drawn, has many layers, starting right off from the first page. While the whole story is dramatic and well-done, the first page starts the action, so that is the multi-panel page I'm choosing to start with.


I'm choosing to analyze these panels using chapter two of McCloud Book Understanding Comics, relating between words and art. In the above panels, words are used sparingly - only seventeen in the entire page. The art, which is highly iconic as opposed to realistic, sets a definite mood. Ominous clouds, tall buildings, objects in the sky - these all bring the 'future' to mind. Specifically, an impersonal future. The text 'Our fair city' matched to the darkness and impersonality of the artwork implies a sense of irony and sarcasm. The following panel then enforces that idea with the silhouette of one man trying to strangle another. Then the remainder of the introduction is set by the text in the second panel.
It's important to note that in the top panel, the text is placed so that it will be read before the picture is taken in, but in the bottom panel, the text is placed so that it will be read after. This bookend effect sets a definite voice of the narrator, specifically, the kind of sarcastic, ironic narrator that pauses for effect. Together, the text and the pictures combine to immerse the reader in a story with full voice, tone, and mood already set.

Question 1: Does the tone set in the first page honestly portray the tone of the whole novel?

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