Worm’s Eye View

To see something from a Worm’s Eye View is fairly clear. This simply means that the audience is looking at a subject from the perspective of a worm. However, it does not always mean the viewer is a worm. The phrase also lends itself to mean a person in a lower position looking up to someone of a higher status or rank, and can make someone look tall, mighty, and heroic, or show respect.

This term is the opposite of the more familiar ‘bird’s eye view’. Commonly, it features three vanishing points: top, left, and right, and shows the foe being either ridiculously and unnaturally large, or fading off into the background while from an extremely low angle. The term also applies to cinematography and photography, to indicate a low-angle shot with dramatic size of the foreground or background for emphasis.

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Figure 1. Uther the Half Dead King p. 53 & 54. Bo Hampton, Craig Gilmore.

This panel from Uther The Half-Dead King features a fantastic example of Worm’s Eye View. It shows the battered army atop the hill, depicting them as an unrealistic size, but also from a perplexing angle – the angle of a worm. It makes the primary soldier appear bold, dangerous, and heroic, presumably of a higher rank, and gives him an air of power (Camera Work). 

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Figure 2. Karl Kerschl, 2011.

More ironically, from the view of actual worms, you’re looking up towards the bird from underneath the worms themselves, allowing the reader to momentarily forget that the true characters are only a few inches long and are usually ignored, while the bird, much larger, is suddenly occupying only a fraction of the frame. Artist Karl Kerschl – a seasoned comic artist who has worked on titles ranging from The Flash to Teen Titans  uses this technique in his personal series of webcomics, to illustrate the worms’ tension about the hunting bird. 

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Figure 3. Marvel’s Ant-Man Prelude #1, 2015.

One of the more recent comics to utilise worm’s eye view heavily would be Ant-Man. Due to his extraordinarily small size, many panels feature this technique. This comic, though, does not use the technique to simply make the foe look dangerous, but rather to fully depict how small the protagonist is. Miguel Angel Sepulveda heavily utilises the method in the Prelude to Ant-Man, emphasising the tiny stature of the lead character, especially useful on the chance that someone unfamiliar with comics decided to read the prelude prior to the movie or who wants to start in on the Ant-Man story and started with the Dr. Pym storyline/prequel.

 

Image Sources:

Uther the Half Dead King p. 53 & 54. Script & Pencil: Bo Hampton, Inkers: Dan Abnett, Craig Gilmore, and Jeff Parker. 1994.

Karl Kerschl. Worm’s-eye View. The Abominable Charles Christopher. 2011.

Will Corona Pilgrim, Miguel Angel Sepulveda. Marvel’s Ant-Man Prelude #1. 2015