Monday, March 23, 2009

Understanding Comics

Tekoa Smith
Understanding Comics

Scott McCloud uses his professional and artistic medium to define the art of comics. The definition established in the beginning is comics are juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an esthetic response in the viewer (McCloud 9). This book was extremely interesting to me because I have never been a fan of comics. Honestly until this year and taking this class I wasn’t even aware of what a graphic novel was. If I were to pick up Art Spiegelman’s Maus a few months ago I would have just assumed it was an adult comic book.
Learning about and understanding comics is beneficial to understanding how we see ourselves and our own face. McCloud states that we see ourselves in everything. We assign identities and emotions where none exist (McCloud 33). Yet even though we are able to see ourselves in almost anything the visual we have of our own face is somewhat generic and cartoony. That is why comics have such an effect on so many worldwide. We are able to become the characters in the comic because the way we see ourselves is similar to the way the comics is drawn.
When reading comics our minds do the same automatic things they do in everyday life to understand the world around us. We fill in information that we know is there even though we can’t see it. McCloud uses the example that even though you cannot see his legs in the panel we assume that he has legs and they are below him. As far out as comics may seem to reality they are more closely related than most think. At least I thought before reading this book. Comics takes everything: time, senses, emotions, space, and represents them all with symbols; signifiers.

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