Once upon a time four panel strips were rife. But the thinning of newspapers brought the thinning of the back page funnies. Longer comics and graphic novels have their own strengths, but the self-contained, consistently sized strip has a satisfying pleasure all it’s own. Shorter comics have for a while now found a growing home online, and, excitingly, we’ve just discovered a place dedicated to the four panel kind.
The biannual Canadian literary and arts magazine Carousel has a feature called 4Panel showing experimental four panel comic strips by a range of artists and, luckily, the online extension is updated weekly. Browsing through the contributions, the selection of comics is brilliantly diverse in both style and content: pen and ink, surreal textures, stories, snatches of poetry, photomontage, abstract, weird and, often, funny.