Page layouts are one of the most overt features of comics’ structure. We hypothesized that American superhero comics have changed in their page layout over eight decades, and investigated this using a corpus analysis of 40 comics from 1940 through 2014. On the whole, we found that comics pages decreased in their use of grid-type layouts over time, with an increase in various non-grid features. We interpret these findings as indicating that page layouts moved away from conventional grids and towards a ‘decorative’ treatment of the page as a whole canvas. Overall, our analysis shows the benefit of empirical methods for the study of the visual language of comics.
- visual language
- page layout