Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Power Failure

On Sunday, the fringes of Hurricane Irene hit our shores with all the media hype of a poetry signing, which is quite ironic, given how weather-conscious Canadians are. We're obsessed with any piece of forecast, no matter how mundane it is, since the mention of a slight breeze could spell either a perfectly mild day, or a pouring monsoon on any given workday. Part of the reason there was so little news was because it took place on a Sunday, and most of our news outlets is on standby until Monday. By the time the storm hit, everybody was enjoying their day of rest, and ignoring the weather outdoor, until it started to impact the lives of people.

I was browsing the internet, doing nothing particularly important, when the power abruptly went out. I'd overconfidentially thought that this would be nothing more than a little storm, and the whole thing would blow over. When the computer blinked out as well as all the lights in the house, I simply resigned myself to my fate. The more often I get exposed to a certain traumatic event, the more desensitized I get to it.

I first went around turning off the power switches for the computers, so if (when) the power came back, it wouldn't create a power surge and risk frying the main CPUs of our hard drives. I'd gotten so used to the layout that I was able to figure out the location of the switchboards by feel alone. After that, there didn't seem to be much point in doing anything else - the DVDs I'd taken out wouldn't work, I couldn't play any video games, I couldn't even do any creative writing. And I normally preferred to read my with the light on and blinds closed. Under these situations, I'd have to read with the lights off, and the blinds open, which would ruin my enjoyment somewhat.

Without anything else to do, I spent most of the day just lying down feeling tired. While there are people who say that the dependency of electronic devices dehumanizes us, there's the other side of people who're utterly dependent on electronics to survive. I'm an artificial man who needs electricity to feel normal. I wouldn't be able to communicate well in person if I didn't have my hearing aids to compensate for any sounds I might miss. Would these anti-technologists insist that I just "listen harder"? It's like asking a heart patient to operate without a pacemaker.

By the time I got up, it was still slightly light out, and I was amazed it was still 7:00. I finished reading a book about a rich kid (Elliot Allagash) who was a cross between Yoichi Hiruma and Douglas Fairchild in the pale cloudlight. When it became too dark to read, I settled for reading the remaining pages by flashlight. My mother who tried to complete her dossier wondered how novelists such as Leo Tolstoy managed to do their reading and writings by candlelight. The constant flickering was even more annoying than a fluorescence bulb. I suggested reading with her back against the candle, but it didn't work out too well.

I started off on a tangent that in the olden days, people were too concerned with living on a day-to-day basis than actually bothering themselves with silly pastimes such as reading, which was why they relied more on oral narratives. Oralists debased writing, because they felt that it couldn't possibly match the intensity and emotive power of someone speaking in the presence of their audience. (though writing certainly made it easier to understand what these people were talking about) Before Nikola Tesla invented the 20th century, people must've been bored out of their minds.

In the meantime, our food was limited to what was lying around that could be eaten without opening the fridge. There wasn't much. The others cooked canned Campbell soup using a fondue stove, no milk. I settled for matzoh with peanut butter and jam. Crunchy, but it makes a terrible mess.

I wasn't feeling that hungry anyways. I was too worried that the food in our freezer would go bad without power, since the last time we had a massive city-wide power failure, we had to cook everything so nothing would go to waste. It was extremely distressing, because I'd just bought some pizza rolls from a meat man who sold his wares from Toronto, and was in semi-retirement, so he'd only come every year or so. These pizza rolls were some of my favorite snacks, and I'd stocked up on a large batch so I wouldn't suffer from withdrawal until the next visit. When the power hadn't come back as soon as I thought, I thought I'd have to cook two years supplies in one night (I like to stock up).

Fortunately, the power came back just as I was going to sleep - my buzzer alarm woke me up, surprising me. (When my alarm goes off, my bed shakes) Once the power was back on, I immediately went about setting the clocks back on the VCRs, so there wouldn't be any annoying 12:00 flashing lights, and I waited a little longer until midnight so it'd be even easier to reset the time. The most annoying was the old microwave, which because of a slight repair mishap, the only numbers that work are 3, 6, 8, and 0, which means that I have to wait until 3:00, 3:30, 3:33, 6:00, 6:30, 6:33, 6:36, 8:00, 8:30, 8:33, or 8:36 to reset it. Until we found out that the zero button worked, our options were even more limited.

The one major plot hole of this Dennis story is that his parents are utterly ignorant of their block getting power back until they find out from Mr. Wilson. This isn't like the Simpson's version of Australia, where the closest neighbor is 20 miles away. For anyone who's been without electricity for a long stretch of time, they'd instantly jump on the latest current when it became available. My block is notorious for having our houses across the street getting their power back before us, and we often gaze at them in envy while cursing the power company for ignoring us. The only way Dennis' parents could be clueless for so long would be if they were utterly blind to this newfangled "electricity" thing.

The really ironic thing is, this post won't be identifiable to these people whose homes are still without power, until they get their electricity back. At least the power outage isn't as bad as in China, where they lose power at least twice a day. It can't be easy to save anything on the computer unless you save every five seconds. This kind of thing is why I'm hesitant to turn any electronics back on until I'm sure the power's really back, because I've had times when the power turned out as soon as we blew all the candles out, and we had to re-light our candles again.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I Swear, by Lawsey

In a collection of weird Garfield comics, one strip that was pointed out was where Garfield uttered an unusual turn of phrase:

At the time I first saw it, it didn't come across as unusual. This was because I'd seen it used as the punchline for another Sunday comic. This kind of repetition is how people learn. If something is seen only once, it's an anomally, but if it's seen twice, it becomes a pattern. If it shows up again, we file it away for future reference until it pops up again.

However, this kind of utterance seems to be a rarity. A quick search on Yahoo Answers revealed that this was nothing more than a toned down version of "Lordy, lordy". Similar to how Jesus becomes Jeez, and Jehova becomes By Jove, Lawsey just happens to be a slightly more obscure term. Whether this is region-specific is still open to debate, but at least it shows Jim Davis wasn't alone in uttering this.

Traditionally, comics have always been full of toned-down profanity. It certainly casts a new spin on The King is a Fink! outcry by the citzens of Id. No wonder the king was so continually upset.

Usually, the traditional usage of swear words has been replacing the offending terminology with symbolic iconography. When I asked how this mixture of stars, ampersands and pound signs was pronounced, I was given a mixture of nonsense growling words. I thought there were phonetic equivalences to these symbols, and was disappointed that my lesson was so abrupt and cut short. I could never adequately tell what anybody was really saying, and often had to resort to imagination. Since I wasn't open to the influence of the playground, I missed out on a lot of vocal vocabulary, and the rudest term I could think of was calling someone a retard.

Ironically enough, there were times where I was trying to be funny, and it came across as frightening. When I uttered phrases such as, "I'll rip all your armpit hair out!" I had no idea that people would have no idea what I was referencing, and take my superficial threats at face value. I thought I was emulating the natural ribbing that went on all the time.

This kind of unintentional threat was a large part of why it was so difficult for me to keep friends. I would say something totally innocuous, and everybody would look at me warily and back away slowly, too nervous and polite to tell me that I'd committed a social faux pas. I would never be capable of physically harming anyone, but my words and actions typecasted me as someone who should only be seen from a long-range telescopic lens.

This is also why I'm not impressed with writers use of bleeping/blanking out fill-in-the-blank words. If what's being said is totally obvious, why not cut out the self-censorship and have them actually say the words they mean? Besides, whenever I see these kind of swear words, I blank them out anyways. Also, I don't find constant use of common swear words to be very imaginative. It takes a creative mind to spout something along the lines of, "Jesus Christ on a pogo stick! Has your brain been replaced by a rusty unicycle? Get out there or I'll rip off your head and stuff it down your throat!" (Incidentally, that last line was a favorite of P.G. Wodehouse, who used it often)

Nowadays, I try to rein in my commentary so I don't run off the mouth and alienate people around me. And I make it a point to have people inform me when I commit a social blunder, so I'll know better next time. I can't learn from people's reactions, since I typically ignore their subtle facial expressions. Unlike comic/Manga characters who wear their emotions on their sleeves, real people keep their cards close to their chests, so I never know what anybody's thinking. Even listening for change in their voices is no help, because I'm too intent on absorbing the message than reading between the lines of the messenger. If I'm not directly told that I'm doing something wrong, I won't take notice.

But no swearing please. I don't like it when people get upset.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jack Layton, Eternal Underdog

On Monday, I was visibly shocked when I saw the news report that Jack Layton had suddenly died. I knew that he'd taken some time off after the election to concentrate on his failing health. There was still the hope that he might bounce back and lead the sudden surge of new members to a worthy opponent to the Conservatives.

And then he died, leaving garguantuan shoes that even multiple NDP members can't begin to fill. That's not even counting the newest young additions made to his cabinet, many of who were voted for the first time.

What makes this particularly distressing is that he spent years trying to get support for the NDP, and only recently got satisfactory numbers to be considered a major opponent in government. Politically speaking, there's not much difference between the New Democratic Party and the Liberal party, save that one had Jack Layton, and the other didn't. In fact, it was Jack's devoted presence that gave a human face to the NDP. If it weren't for his persistence and warm manner, the NDP wouldn't even survive in the first place.

For years, he struggled with just keeping his party afloat and stopping squabbling in his inner circle. He was somehow able to organize his party into a singular vision. However, his dreams of becoming Prime Minister continued to remain a pipe dream, no matter how convincingly he portrayed his arguments.

Especially admirable was how he continued to campaign for his party even though he was suffering from a broken hip. Although he displayed his cane every chance he got, he never complained about the pain, or made any grandiose speeches about his current health.

Whenever he spoke, you could find yourself agreeing with the man's priorities. His calm demeanor and soft-spoken manner made him popular not only within his own party, but also with the opposition, which is a big feat in itself.

He was the Mr. Rogers of the political world.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tintin Vandalism

In my library, there was an old copy of Prisoners of the Sun. This was nothing unusual, since Asterix and Tintin books are practically mandatory. I think there's a law somewhere. What made this particular album noteworthy was that some unnamed kid decided to deface this copy with his own crude handwork, like so:

For purists out there, this kind of thing might seem offputting, but I greatly enjoyed seeing these variations of classic comic scenes. I was fortunate enough to scan copies of the relevant pages before it was sold off in a book sale. Sadly, most of the book remained doodle-free. The majority of added artwork and text didn't start until more than halfway in, when Tintin and Captain Haddock were imprisoned.

Most of these are hard to see properly unless you're paying attention, so I'll attempt to decipher the trickier ones with helpful captions at the bottom. You're welcome to click and enlarge the pictures to search them at your leisure, then check my commentary later.

Panel 4: Snowy is saying "Cum on" during the madhap newspaper chase. This is as risque as it gets in terms of verbal abuse. This newspaper also has an important plot point about the lunar calculator that's not revealed until much later.

Panel 3: A bunch of skis appear as he's jumping over the table, supported by a toot from behind, while the lyrics "Dashing thru the snow" appear in the background.
Panels 6-7: An especially evil-looking apple makes its velocity down Captain Haddock's head, crying out in agony upon impact.
Minor note - Snowy has question marks appearing over his head in the 2nd and 4th panels.

Panel 1: The Captain is grunting "Ug, ug" in trying to disprove the irresistible force paradox by simultaneously making himself both the immovable object and the irresistible force. Surely one must win out in the end.
Panel 4: The success of this experiment is not without its side effects, since he's suddenly developed buck teeth.
Panel 5: Not to mention Snowy's suddenly losing all his composture upon seeing the Aztec guards and the chief who's named "Diol" for some reason. (This is the only one I'm unsure of - It might be something else entirely)

Panel 4: In addition to Captain Haddock suffering additional injuries to the stomach, a metaphortical fish suddenly appears to support Snowy's point.

Panels 3-4: One of the singers is labeled "Choir Girl" with the note to "Call Greg" showing up later.
Panel 6: Tintin's funny hat's suddenly developed satellite abilities. No doubt so this momentous occasion can be captured worldwide.
Panel 11: The sacrificial altar is renamed "Pen's Rock".
Panel 12: The following dialogue spoken by the inanimate objects:
Sphynx: Hi. Pyramid1: Get to the point. Pyramid2: Reach for the top.
Pendulum: Hi.

It all comes together at the climax where Tintin fools a civilization who's spent millennia devoted to the sun by claiming mastery over a solar eclipse. Apparently, an eclipse only occurs once every 1000 years. Who knew? Though if the Incas were faced against the menace of their sun resembling Pac-Man and a giant eye, they too might have reason to panic.

Panel 4: When the moon's eye hits you in the empty sky, that's glamour.
Panel 7: Only after the sun resumes its normal smiling face do the Incas decide it's wise to set their sacrilegious prisoners free.

Once they do so, they agree to reveal their forbidden technique involving voodoo dolls. I especially like the effigy's reactions in panels 3 and 5.
Panel 4: You are sweating
Panel 7: [Answer] --> you are here

Panel 1: The urban dictionary describes colk as being "cool beyond reason". Given that Calculus was kidnapped, drugged, held prisoner for months and about to be burned to a funeral pyre for the crime of putting on an ancient bracelet, and his general reaction throughout has been generally pleasant, I'd say the description fits. At least its a better than the second interpretation, which I'll decline to transcribe.
Panel 7: The Aztek chief seems amused by the foreigner's reaction to the veiled bribery here. This leads him to guiding them to his private storage room which he's confident they'll never reveal to another soul. Since Tintin & his gang rarely traverse the same landscape twice, that's a fairly safe bet.
Panel 10: From there, he shows his sophisticated security system by "poke"ing a door in the eye which replies with a resounding "ouch".
Panel 11: This would be impressive were the door not part of the "Acme Sliding Door Co.", and the Aztec chief's reverse "N"'s been "corrected".
Panel 12: The penguins reaction to the Thompsons means they don't find them "colk" at all.

Panel 1: It's Richie Rich and Inca Man! Bum. That would actually make for a catchy theme song.
Panel 2: For some reason, Calculus says Baloo. Why he's referencing The Jungle Book at this point is anybody's guess.
Panel 8: Captain Haddock finally gets his revenge by barfing into a llama's face. Not the llama, but just a random llama, since he's been abused by llamas spitting into his face throughout the duration of the trip, and has decided to punish this one by association. After which, said llama apologizes for the sins of his brothers.

The last image needs no description, methinks.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Insane Politics & Mahjong

I’ve just recently finished reading the entirety of Legend of Koizumi, and still can’t stop laughing anytime I read a page from the Manga, even though I already know what’s coming. Io9 does a better job of describing the series than I ever could, though there are potential spoilers for anyone who hasn’t bothered to read the series up to the third volume. It’s better to read the online scanlations yourself before checking it out. Once you do, don’t forget to check out the link - it’s worth every word.

For those of you who don’t want to bother reading the link, I should explain the setup. Legend of Koizumi is loosely based on Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who retained his popularity by default of remaining in office longer than his successors. (Similar to how the Liberal Party fell apart once Jean Chretein left) In Koizumi, world leaders decide fiscal policy via Mahjong games. This includes Western leaders such as George Bush and Senior H.W. (Papa) Bush, when in reality they’d much more prefer to settle such matters over games of golf or football. What makes the situation entirely preposterous is that the only way Prime Minister Koizumi manages to consistently win his matches is by rubbing the faces of his tiles so hard that the patterns wear off, therby creating blank tiles that can be used for his signature move, Rising Sun. In other words, the only way to make your fiscal policy succeed is by cheating.

Even though all his opponents know Koizumi cheats, they still allow him to pass his laws and motions. To counter this, they go as far as to create Mahjong tiles made out of a special polymer of depleted uranium that’ll create sparks of 10,000 degrees if any friction is applied to them. But Koizumi manages to rub the patterns off anyways, while saying phrases such as, “I’m willing to throw my body away for the sake of my country!” Such cool speeches somehow manages to win over his opponents, even if his political strategy is insane.

For a game that’s mostly based on luck, this doesn’t seem like a very wise policy. But this is a world where your worth isn’t based on how much pencil-pushing you do behind your desk, but how poised you are while dealing Mahjong tiles. And looking manly while doing it. All while dealing Mahjong patterns that cause physical damage capable of high-speed winds and lightning bolts to the recipient. High-stakes gambling has never been higher.

As any athlete can tell you, a sport isn’t enjoyable unless there’s some pain to go along with it. Getting that high at the peak of your performance is the ultimate goal of exercise. And gambling on explosive Mahjong tiles is the best way to show your strenuous strain. If you’re not bleeding all over the place for the love of the game, then you’re not really playing.

If nothing else, it was very reassuring to see Manga Harper making a cameo. It’s just as amusing to see Canadian references in other Media, since it shows that the rest of the world acknowledges that we exist. Sadly, it was very brief, and he, along with most of the G8 team, don’t do much more than making perfunctory commentary from the peanut gallery to make room for the more bad-ass players. It’s understandable why Putin gets more screentime, since Japan has closer geographical relationships with Russia. Still, it feels like a wasted opportunity. It would’ve been amusing to see Harper play against the ministers of Italy, Germany and France, though one suspects that his laid-back demeanor and stiffness would’ve been out of place with the tone of the rest of the Manga.

Berlusconi: TSUMO!
Merkel: KAN!!
Sarkozi: RIICHI!!!
Harper: Pon.

Berlusconi: LEANING TOWER!
Sarkozi: FLEUR-DE-LIS!!!
Harper: Royal Mounted Police Corps.

The closest Canadians get in parodying Stephen Harper is on the French TV news cartoon reporter, Laflaque. While not produced with the charming subpar quality of the insane Taiwanese news animation, these 3-D cartoons based on the caricatured drawings of Serge Chapleau are still quite impressive. One recent example was during the recent elections when Stephen Harper denied accusations that he was the Devil.

I’d enjoy it even more if I could understand French. Why hasn’t anybody bothered to translate these?

Still, it’s probably better that Japan didn’t bother to accurately portray Canada’s culture, since the closest interpretations don’t get much further than blatant stereotypes. Since Canada is often labeled No. 2 on the list, it’s no wonder we’re usually looked after the fact. As Desmond Morton put it, Canada is a nation of losers. And indeed, we have an inclination towards failures. Louis Riel failed to rebel against the English. Terry Fox is revered even though he only jogged 1/3 of his route across Canada. It’s the fact that these people got as far as they could with the limitations imposed on them that makes them all the more intriguing.

I feel like I'm getting off topic here, so I'll end with a recommendation to check out the scanlation, since it's very likely it won't be licensed anytime soon. This series very constantly ventures into beyond the impossible territory.

Why can't regular politics be this exciting?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How Colourblind Are You?

When viewing Monday's Shortpacked! strip, I didn't see anything unusual about the JLA roster team at first. The only thing that jumped out at me was that Aquaman was wearing a beard, but his appearance had changed so often over the past few years it hardly seemed worth noticing. It wasn't until I saw Robin's comment at the bottom that I did a double-check and realized it was a response to the uproar over the recent news of Ultimate Spider-Man being black.

Normally I could care less about the colour of a protagonist's skin. All I really care about is whether the character or story is interesting. If either is built on a cliched premise, my level of interest drops to zero. If Marvel really wanted to be ironic, they'd have Miles Morales wearing the iconic Black Spider-Man outfit. Now there's a prime candidate for the Venom Symbiote.

However, there was a brief stint where I was influenced after reading a bunch of statistics of crimes done by minorities. These racial profiling in urban areas started to make more sense, since these people in this kind of environment were more likely to engage in illegal deeds. By extension, I suddenly started seeing subersive elements in people I never noticed before and I hated myself for it. I was worried that my untapped prejudical nature had been awakened and would never go back to its normal levels of tolerance. That was until my mother reminded me of an incident that happened in grade school. I'd just been transferred from a normal school to a smaller classroom of orally deaf students. Neither of us can quite recall the dialogue that led to the moment, but along the way, my mother made the passing remark that one of my friends, Lisa, was black. This led to the following response:

"She's black?! I never even noticed!"

When I made that remark, my mother knew that I was the least racist person she knew. I felt a little reassured by this news, but still slightly unnerved at how close I'd come to understanding racists' POV. They say it's important to understand the enemy's viewpoint so you can build a better argument against it, but its important not to get too close to the abyss, lest you fall into it.

Part of the reason people don't trust minorities outside their comfort zone may be that they can't tell one foreign face from another. As shown in an episode of The Good Wife, people of different races aren't familiar enough with other races to notice slight differences in their facial makeup. This was one of the major issues I had while watching The Wire. The only way I could tell the Barksdale brothers apart was that one wore an earring, and the other one didn't. (Once I was able to identify who was who, I was able to enjoy the series more upon repeat viewing) For the longest time, I thought that Commissioner Burrell and Senator Clay were the same man. (It didn't help that they never appeared in the same place at the same time)

Can you tell these two men apart?

This problem doesn't just apply to black people, but white people as well. When I saw 'Prez' Pryzbylewski on the job as a teacher, I had no idea who he was, even though he was a regular presence in the first three seasons. It's like this for me in real life as well. If I don't see someone within the time span of two weeks, I'll forget all about them. Since my relatives usually show up for the holidays, I'm totally lost unless I have a guest list handy. Usually, I just shake their hands, take their coats and run away.

I'm always amazed that people can remember me, when I can't even be bothered to remember them. If they were any more interesting, they should've made a bigger impact on my life. Part of why I have trouble recognizing people is because I don't have much experience in remembering people's faces. Until I started paying attention to subtle details in Manga characters (such as male/female Ranma), all people looked alike to me.

Now, before any racial minorities get upset over my generalization, I'd like them to compose the following questionaire:
  • Do you have more than one mouth?
  • How many eyes do you have? How many noses?
  • Are your ears visible?
  • Any hair on your body other than your head?
  • Are your appendages retractable?
  • Do you have too many limbs, or not enough?
  • Are you between two and ten feet tall?

Chances are most people will be between the ages of 1-100, standing upright and not thrusting a weapon in my general direction. Mostly, I identify people by the clothes they wear. Skin colour is way way WAY down my list of priorities.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Similarity Doesn’t Breed Contempt

There’s been a lot of criticism for artists reusing panels, myself included. It’s often been pointed out that reusing the same artwork in different panels just stinks of laziness. It can be particularly annoying when it’s especially obvious.

However, there’s one aspect of this kind of repetition that I don’t think has ever been addressed - the panel where there are subtle changes. This is a little tricky to get across, so I’ll try to make my point as best as I can.

I’m not talking about the panels where the artist obsessively devotes their time in redrawing a scene that looks almost exactly the same, but is actually a different picture. This is something Gary Trudeau did to the White House in Doonesbury, when everybody thought he was using photocopies. Ironically enough, even though he improved his artwork (some might say at the expense of his writing), there were people who couldn’t believe he improved that much during his sabbatical, and must’ve used a ghost artist instead.

I’m talking about panels that don’t progress from side-to-side, but are similar from above and below. This isn’t quite animation, since these panels aren’t occurring in tandem within each other, but happening at different intervals elsewhere. The most noteworthy ones are where similar panels show up in specific locations that gives the page a notable pattern.

Just as kids enjoy mix-and-match games, I suspect there’s an inherent thrill in finding similarities between two different panels. In particular, I enjoyed seeing these panels of Dagwood getting booted out of the office, so it’d look like a natural progression of time, even though it took place at different intervals.

Another example I like to think of is when AstroSmurf has landed on what he thinks is an alien planet. In these two chosen panels, which both took place at the right hand side of the page, on the first and third rows respectively. If seen from a distance, it would look like he’s reached the bottom of the ladder, even though he’s actually going up in the 2nd panel.

The adult furry comic, Zandar’s Saga has some better examples of the kind of layout I’m talking about. The size and viewpoints of the panels are similar from above and below. This shifting from small facial close-up to wide-angle vision from behind gives the page a certain consistency throughout.

As an aside, Zandar’s Saga is a great read at over 300 pages and counting. Despite it’s sub-par artwork, it becomes a pagereader after the first six pages of rather boring exposition during demon sex. Don’t think of it as an exercise in titillation and pandering to uncomfortable fetishes. Think of it as a really good story that just happens to have a lot of sex in it. It’s the strength of the storyteller to keep their audience engaged while denying them obvious simple pleasures. So far, the latest chapters keep getting repeat viewings even though there’s hardly been any skin for ages. Similarly, David Hopkins of Jack fame had some examples of his racier artwork put up on a 4chan imageboard, and his fans preferred his stories to his eroticism. For a fandom that’s often pigeonholed as sex freaks, when their audience is more interested in your STORY than your PORN, that’s a sure sign of superior storytelling skill.

With that digression out of the way, let’s get back to the topic at hand.

There aren’t too many Manga examples, though it’s not unusual to have a zoomed-in face between the top and bottom panels. This kind of thing is more common in Old-school Mangas, such as Tezuka’s works, when he was experimenting with the format in every conceivable manner possible. Here’s a page from Astro Boy where only the 3rd row would be considered the odd one out.

These kind of layouts are quite common in Lucky Luke for some reason.

Much like how sitcoms give the viewer a feeling of comfort when the actors play out their roles in the same backgrounds, so too does the use of similar panels give the reader a sense of familiarity with the scene. The longer they stay in a certain location, the more they can identify with what’s happening. This is different from the typical comic where positions and camera angles keep changing in order to make things appear more exciting. This kind of vantage point is slower, but keeps things grounded.

The panel-to-panel progression between panels could be part of Bone’s popularity. There’s multiple scenes of events occurring in one moment, then showing what happens next. There’s not too much difference in showing the viewpoint from multiple angles. The camera stays rooted to a particular spot for a determinate rate of time before moving elsewhere. While the often referenced (but never parodied) Stupid Stupid Rat Creatures page is often used, a better example would be when Lucius betted on Grandma Ben in front of Phoney Bone.

I have no idea if there’s a name for this kind of technique, but it’s something that’s worth looking into. If there’s a name for this kind of page layout, I’d love to know what it is.