Besides the splash page (which is technically not a comic page in the true definition of comics being a medium of sequential panels) the most basic of the common page divisions is the 4 panel grid.
When I think of the 4 panel grid I think of Kirby's Silver and Copper age work on titles like the Fantastic Four and the New Gods, in fact I have a hard time thinking of any other artist that does use this form of page layout.
|The 4 panel grid can be good when you have a very wordy page. The sameness of the panels creates a rhythm that is easier to follow. A 9 panel grid might work as well or better depending on the page.|
One advantage that the 4 panel grid has over other layouts is that it allows for more space in each panel to include more details and backgrounds.
|when you have a lot of action like say a fight sequence and you don't wish to accent one panel more than the others, the big panels of the 4 panel grid might work very well.|
|This is a good set up, creating tension for something that is about to come.|
In the Orient they actually consider equal numbers static, whereas odd numbers are considered more dynamic. When comparing this page of 2 panels by 2 panels verses the 2 panels by 3 panels of the 6 panel grid. I can see this some what.
|The large upper panel dominates the page, creating a great into to this coming scene.|
|the large bottom panel creates a nice 'beat' to the rhythm set up by the repetitive upper 4 panels.|
|Here, no one panel dominates the page. It's one beat after the other. Though this page appears more 'meaty' than the sparse 4 panel grid, giving you more interesting action to get into.|
Unfortunately for me using Kirby's highly dynamic art as an example of the staticness of the 4 panel grid is hard to prove. In Kirby's hands the 4 panel grid becomes a procession of action and explosiveness.
|Here the upper 2 action packed panels set up for the 'rock-em, sock-em' lower 2 panels. You get 2 dynamic punches for the price of one!|
|These 4 panels, one not being larger than the others, acts like a crank on a wind-up toy, each effectively building a tension that we assume will play itself out on the next page.|
So as you can see from the examples the 4 panel grid is very good at creating a rhythm that can be used to painlessly supply the reader with lots of information or create and build tension for the next page.
On subsequent posts I will be dealing with more page layout issue so stay tuned. And if you know of any other artists use of the 4 panel grid please send us a link!