The Bunker and the Desert

On the Motif of the Cube-panel in Inside Mœbius

in European Comic Art
Renaud Chavanne SoBD, Paris, France

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Dispensing with semiological terms inappropriately applied to comics, this article uses the concept of the ‘cube-panel’ to show that the comics panel is indissociable from drawing itself. There is no ‘code’, only drawing. The cube-panel is exemplified in Inside Mœbius. Rather than sampling from a wider, out-of-frame space, it represents a retreat from that space, a prison or refuge, both suggestive of an inner life. The title promises just such a revelation, but it is in the nature of a Mœbius strip, and of a graphic representation of the author's self, for that inside to be inseparable from an outside. Two examples of the inside–outside pairing recur throughout: the desert, representing a creative void, and the bunker, in which the artist externalises himself.

Contributor Notes

Renaud Chavanne has been working for over fifteen years on the organisation of images in comics. He has notably authored a study of fragmentation in the work of the Belgian artist E. P. Jacobs, entitled Le Secret de l'explosion (Paris: PLG, 2005), followed by an application of the concepts developed therein to a much wider corpus, Composition de la bande dessinée (Paris: PLG, 2010). In a third book, Dessiner & composer (Paris: PLG, 2020), he focuses on the relationship between composition (page design) and drawing. He is a regular contributor to the journal Bananas, founder of the online bookshop, which specialises in comics studies, and organiser of the annual Paris comics conference SoBD. Email:

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