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Sequential Art

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"All fiction, necessarily, requires the reader to fill in the blanks. I can't describe every single aspect of this scene. No one would want to read it. I merely supply one picture at a time. The reader connects the dots to establish continuity — a plot, characters, and concepts. A thousand copies of this world, each customized within each person's brain."
1/0, episode #995

Sequential Art is a term proposed by Will Eisner to describe Art forms that use images displayed in a specific order for the purpose of graphic storytelling or conveying information. Comics evolved from this art style.

It makes abundant use of Silent Scenery Panels and Reaction Shots. Compare Picture Drama, animations compounded by shots of still images. Contrast with Textplosion, when a comic's pages are suddenly overflown with dialogue or explanatory text. Squeaky Eyes and Written Sound Effect originated from here. See also Sequential Artist.

Not to be confused with a specific Webcomic titled Sequential Art.


Comic Books

Comic Strips

  • The Family Circus: Notably averted. Unlike many other newspaper comics, this one is not really sequential, at best sometimes using the Dotted Line Paths.

Visual Arts

  • The Bayeux Tapestry: It's a several-meters-long piece of cloth that captures the key events of the Norman conquest of England in full-color pictorial form with the occasional Latin annotation. Each Plot Point can be considered a self-containing panel of sorts.
  • Wilhelm Busch: He produced black-and-white picture stories carved on wood (zincography) and accompanied by rhymed texts (often, tetra trochees). His The Virtuoso employs several Comic Book Tropes long before they were codified in mainstream media.
  • Chōjū-jinbutsu-giga: It's a Japanese set of scrolls translated as "animal-person caricatures". The scrolls are emakimono —i.e., ink-on-scroll— featuring four panels arranged horizontally that tell short stories. They are considered the Ur-Example of manga.
  • Marie de' Medici Cycle: It's a collection of 21 oil paintings that narrate the life of the Regent Queen of France as if it were an epic. They feature a plethora of deities and creatures from Classical Mythology to serve as guides for Marie and as storytelling allegories.
  • Marriage A-la-Mode: It's a collection of six paintings that tell the story of how a loveless, arranged marriage culminates in tragedy. The titles of the paintings provide some extra information as well.
  • Medici Chapels: Taken together, the side sculptures at the Medici brothers' tombs represent the passage of time (birth, growth, decline, and death) and the stages of the day (dawn, day, dusk, and night).
  • Sistine Chapel: There are four storylines entirely made of paintings positioned in chronological order so they narrate together important passages of The Bible. The ceiling frescoes contain nine key scenes from the Book of Genesis. The southern and northern walls respectively detail the lives of Moses and Jesus as parallel plots. Finally, the Book of Revelation's artworks on the alter describe the second coming of the Christian messiah.


  • The Bully's Bully: Although otherwise in typical comic format (i.e., panels), there's no dialogue or narration whatsoever. The story is solely conveyed through non-textual visual cues and sequential, drawn scenes.
  • Tellurion: Small snapshots sans dialogue express the whole story. It primarily relies on Reaction Shots to advance the plot.