Okay, I apologize for the delay in posting, and also for continuing to harp on this same thin topic....I wrote all of these related posts in one flurry of inspiration one day and this is the last one on this subject; just a bunch of random leftover thoughts on the subject at hand. Some more variations and examples of what we've been talking about: dark palettes, light palettes, flat space and deep space and how it influences humor and drama.
"The Royal Tanenbaums" and "Rushmore" are interesting examples because they both have deep, warm, rich palettes that tend to be darker, and yet the staging in both films is very flat and symmetrical. So the palette tends to lean towards a more serious tone but the staging is more indicative of a comedy. This is actually exactly how the tone of both films come across: they are comedies but not laugh-out-loud comedies, the humor tends to be very wry and both films have a dark twist to them. So both the writing and visual style complement each other to create a tone that is distinct to Wes Anderson's films, and the tone and flatness complement each other to create a mood that is not 100% comedic but is not 100% heavily dramatic either.
In both of these films a lot of the actors tend to face either flat-on to camera or in profile for their scenes. This enhances the flat feel of each frame, as does the way that the background elements tend to be flat-on to camera plane. Also the actors in his films always seem to have very restrained, subdued performances which enhances the feeling of flatness.
I like the new book about Al Jaffee's "Tall Tales". It's full of great strips. I like how, even when the background has some depth to it, the characters are unaffected by the perspective. The characters are always flat-on to the viewer. So even when he needs to indicate depth and perspective to convey an idea, the flatness of the characters clue you in that it's supposed to be funny.
A great page by Franquin from a Spirou book - a good example of how a fight can be treated in a comedic way. The bright colors and funny poses make sure you know it's not a serious fight where anyone could get hurt. Also the staging is really flat - he even used the bottom of the frame as the floor so there's no depth on the ground plane.
For contrast, a fight with depth and dark tones, and no bright colors. A fight that feels serious, where you feel like someone could get hurt or die, as opposed to the fight above, which felt much more comic, and like nobody could really get hurt.
Obviously in the example above, the realistic treatment of figures and space add to the feeling of drama and threat, but even if you're dealing with characters that are cartoony, just adding depth to the backgrounds and darkening the tones and colors will convey a more dramatic and emotionally heightened mood.
Again, I am sorry for belaboring this topic for so long...I know it has probably overstayed it's welcome and grown tedious! I will do my best to come up with something more interesting in the very near future!