At left: A CONAN page by John Buscema and Bob McLeod with a poor storytelling choice. If an arrow has to be used to direct the reader, the layout artist has failed. Honestly, though, in lieu of an arrow, a writer can cheat the storytelling by instructing placement by having a word balloon from panel three cross the gutter into panel two. This forces the reader’s eyes from panels 2 to 3; not an elegant solution, but a functional one. Oddly, this particular page has a bigger problem. Why the hell would the balloons from panel FOUR cross the gutter up into panel TWO?? That has the effect of pulling the reader down from panel two into panel four, completely at odds with the arrow telling the reader to look at panel three next. What a cluster mess!
At right, how I would’ve corrected it.
Of course, even knowing how fast these books are churned out, I question how the writer, the letterer, the colorist, the editor, assistant editor, and the proofreader all saw this, and not one of them questioned it. As Gregory Wright, who originated this post on Facebook, has noted, perhaps bigger emergencies were going on at the office that day.