In essence, these are single panel cartoons, beautifully composed and drawn as you would expect, accompanied by a gag or punchline. They are pleasing to look at and vaguely amusing, to be sure, but there is none of the surreal, chaotic, rollercoaster quality to be found in Cole’s comic book art.
As an artist, Caniff uses square or rectangular panels, nothing fancy, about three or four to a row. The panels show a continuous change of perspective, to involve the viewer in Canyon’s world and create the impression that you inhabit the same space. There are wordless fight sequences and car chases; gorgeous, high-kicking, high-cheek-boned femme fatales; the use of montage and other cinematic effects.
Overall, Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean is a book that is subtle, stimulating and enjoyable to read. It is certain to deepen your appreciation of what is a still-emerging medium (as Wolk says, “The Golden Age [of Comics] is Right Now”).