ABC Panel Analysis
Panel from Page 35: (click to enlarge)
The key themes developed in this panel are friendship, isolation and trying to fit in. In this panel, Jin is seen sitting on a bench alone and the reader learns that this is because Jin’s only elementary friend has moved away.
The pictorial vocabulary in this panel veers toward language, meaning that the characters and background are more iconic and every line drawn has a meaning. The character is simplistically drawn without specific features so more people can identify with him. Also, there is less bias towards the character as he is depicted as a neutral figure. Many people are empathetic towards a character who is alone and with no friends, as they may have been in that situation before. There is a strong sense of viewer- identification. The iconic style of pictorial vocabulary that the author uses reveals that he values the ideas embedded in the art more than how beautifully the art is drawn.
The droop to his shoulders and eyes indicate sadness due to his racial isolation. Through Elementary School, the only friend Jin has is Peter: a racist and a bully. His incapability of finding friends for this extended period of time shows that the racial discrimination is strong in the society and a key theme of the graphic novel. The panel’s shape also provides insight to how much time has passed or how long Jin has been alone. The longer horizontal length of the panel provides the reader with a feeling that a greater amount of time has passed.
Additionally, the previous panel shows Jin with a T-Shirt on, while in this one his hands are in his jacket and it appears to be cold. The tree has no leaves, symbolizing that it is dead and the bench is “wooden.” This contributes to the overall mood of the scene, indicating that the scene is as lifeless as Jin feels. The sense of loneliness is further accentuated by the length of the empty bench. The color of the background reflects a dominant mood of isolation. The pale grayish green is unappealing and causes the panel to lose its brightness and shine.
The specific language in the captions adds to the mood. The word-picture combination in this panel is interdependent as the words and image go hand in hand to convey the idea better than what either could convey alone. Jin’s internal monologue is the text of the caption and it gives the reader a reason why Jin is alone. The first caption is a long winded explanation of why Peter is gone. The caption gives the reader insight that Peter was also a troubled child and his father probably has custody over him now which is why he is moving to Pennsylvania. Thus, one can infer that both of the outcasts had to stick together and now that Peter is gone, it is even worse for Jin. The second caption is a short direct sentence in comparison that emphasizes that “peter never came back.” This high modality sentence has a sense of finality, similar to how a verdict by a judge is final when he slams his gavel down.