The first time Damian had a nightmare in front of Dick they were still getting started as Batman and Robin. Dick didn’t hesitate a moment when he heard his little brother’s distress. He slid into bed next to Damian ignoring Tim’s voice in his head chanting how dangerous Damian was and pulled the boy close to him. Because that’s what Damian was. A little boy terrified in the night, and Dick knew exactly what to do. He sung quietly until Damian fell back into a deep restful sleep.
The first time Jason was around Damian during one of the kid’s nightmares was an odd time for them both. Jason had somehow ended up watching him when they both came down with a cold. Damian had fallen asleep on his couch watching some horror movie Bruce would never allow. Jason had no idea what to do at first when Damian started thrashing on the couch. But then the boy cried out for his mother and Jason’s instincts kicked in as he carefully lifted Damian into his arms whispering soothing words, his arms a tight comfort.
Damian’s first nightmare around Tim was completely different. They’d been out fighting together and it had somehow turned into a mid-patrol argument. Out of the blue Tim took a bullet for Damian. Damian who’d been crowing about being a blood son. Damian whose blood didn’t match Tim’s and had to watch as Bruce found someone else to donate. Damian who crawled up next to his brother because his nightmare was losing the family he’d worked so hard to gain. And when Tim woke up, half aware of himself half on painkillers he knew exactly what to do when he found Damian stubbornly pressed against his side. He wrapped an arm around his brother and whispered the words. “It’s ok”
Bruce hadn’t been back but a few weeks when Damian had a nightmare. Grayson had stopped living with them and Damian was at the Manor. Strange and foreign he’d never admit to jumping at shadows in the night. He stood outside his fathers room for a solid half hour before going in. He had no idea what to expect from the man. He’d known distance so far, the opposite of Grayson’s warmth, but there was no one else. So he climbed into Father’s huge bed and perched at the edge. Happy to be close at least. A minute later Father was getting up and Damian had squished his eyes closed against any anger. Instead strong arms picked him up then they were lying together, Damian pressed against his father’s chest, stiff as a board because Father had never done this before. A hand pressed to his hair and Damian realized that his father had done this before. With each of his children. So Damian let himself relax and curl closer to his father who knew exactly what to do to comfort him.
so I was going through the loss.jpg tag and people are getting angry because of how miscarriage isn’t a funny thing. And that’s true! Miscarriage is a sad thing and not at all something okay to laugh at!
But the thing that makes loss.jpg funny is because of how it’s bad storytelling. When you want a funny comic, you often have simplistic, similarly arranged panels to deliver the punchline. It’s funny because of either something being said or something changing! (Buckley could work on the funny though.)
See, Garfield is a good example of this:
Almost all of those panels have the same two figures in roughly the same spot. This helps accentuate how the last panel (the punchline panel, if you will) is different!
Ctrl+Alt+Del is a comic series that kept to this pattern:
Here, again, we have panels arranged simply, and the figures in the same arrangement (height and placement, if you will) so that people pay attention to the text. The text is the funny part here, so there is no reason for the figures to change much.
But loss.jpg is a serious piece. I mean, I’ve never experienced this, but I’m willing to bet that if I or my spouse or my friend experienced a miscarriage or something, I’d be devastated! However, it kept to the silly, simplistic format.
“Well, okay.” you say. “How do you convey serious emotions in comics?”
And that depends on the emotion! The regular squares of the above comics enforce a sense of regularity. Meanwhile, with, like, an action comic, the panels will often be misshapen and crooked to give the idea that woah! something is happening.
Woah!! that guy almost go eaten by a dino thingy. It’s chaotic and confusing- meanwhile if you had put that into our “loss” format, the action would seem to have been much less important. In fact, you could almost say that it looked funny! See what I’m getting at?
“Okay. But whateverhisnameis from CAD isn’t fighting dinosaurs. Would he need those wacky panels?”
Well, sort of! You might want a misaligned panel for the panel when he opens the door, because I’m pretty sure he’s slamming it open, not gently pushing the door aside. But for the other panels, it would seem DragonBall Z levels of overdramatic to have WOAHH ACTION panels. You’d want something that isn’t too repetitive, thought. Something like this!
Here, the panels are pretty regular. But the placement of the figures is different according to each panel, creating that difference that we need to keep the actions from seeming funny. Sure, nobody is throwing punches, but there is something serious going on!! This isn’t perceived as funny because the figures are different per each panel.
Compare to loss.jpg and what do we have?
we have figures all positioned about knee height, with our protagonist always on the left, and always facing right. The last panel is almost always the punchline panel- that’s why people think that loss.jpg is people laughing at miscarriage. It’s not.
So what would make loss.jpg look like the serious story it’s trying to convey?
I scribbled this in 5 minutes in paint, but here’s my idea of what a better “loss” would look like:
He bursts through the doors and rushes to the receptionist, who directs him to the doctor. As he steps into the hospital room, he sees his wife crying and approaches to comfort her.
Is this perfect? Probably not! I’m honestly just learning comic theory right now. But does it convey the serious and honestly sad story of loss.jpg? Yes! You can’t tell a serious story in a silly manner. It’s like trying to tell a WWII survivor’s story with wingdings font. Using the wrong tools and techniques will get the wrong story across.
TL;DR loss.jpg’s punchline is that Tim Buckley needs to learn how to tell a story, not that miscarriage is in any way funny
have you ever thought about how in Pre52 Tim changed his Robin costume from this:
[Teen Titans (2003) #20)
[Robin (1993) #149]
all because of Conner
and he didn’t even come back in time to see it? he came back when Tim already changed to Red Robin
[Red Robin #9]
[Teen Titans (2003) #92]
imagine Conner one day coming across Tim’s ‘newer’ Robin costume and he asks Tim ‘who’s costume is that?’ and Tim doesn’t even know how to answer because it brings back too many sad memories of a time without Conner