Here is what is NOT included in this sketch, that you might have expected to see:
1. Somebody getting punched in the snoot with the traditional impact starburst.2. The traditional "dizzy" lines radiating from his head, or birdies swimming around.3. A more cautious and clear drawing of that boxing glove, showing the thumb, or with proper shadows so it is less ambiguous. And while we're at it, a less messy line for that spring.
All of these items would be on the short list for an ordinary cartoonist's picture. But Thompson left them out, including the single most important part of the picture: the person getting punched. He left it to our imagination to decide what the person looked like, and whether he is still up in the air, or his eyes are crossed, or he is upside down with his legs sticking out.
Here is what IS included in this sketch that you might not have expected to see:
1. Loose pages floating down (a marvelous touch)2. The chair tipped over backward3. That scribble of a book-- no right angles, parallel pages or details to slow down our quick impression of the book as nothing more than a launching pad.
I'm guessing Thompson didn't consciously think through any of this. I suspect it was all instinctive for him.
When I grumble on this blog that so many of today's preeminent graphic novelists are clueless about the timing, staging, and even the basic vocabulary of visual storytelling, this is what I am talking about. In my view, this wonderful sketch is a thing of beauty compared to most of the work currently winning awards.