Understanding Comics

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McCloud's book on recognizing comics as an invisible art deserves a lot of praise for its lectures on a wide range of topics. Anyone who has read the book knows that it is entertaining and that it can be read many times without being tedious. McCloud is a master at writing comic books, and he splits the novel into nine parts in this instance. McCloud explained the essence of comics, simplification of comics, mixing images and language, describing a time in humorous pictures, appealing feelings, creating and constructing brilliant pictures, and how color is used to send messages in his book Understanding Comic. The paper looks at understanding the meaning of comics, the vocabulary, and language of the comics, as well as use of gutters in the book.

McCloud defined the terms comics to set the record straight on Will Eisner’s definition of the phrase. A comic is a “Juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer” (McCloud 7). Using this definition, this paper looks at the contents of each part of the comics used in the book Understanding Comics as an invisible art. Thus, the first thing to look at is the meaning of the words used in the definition of the comics. Understanding of the definition is critical because it will help the reader understand what is contained in the book. Juxtaposed objects are put side-by-side or adjacent to each other to deliver a message (McCloud 7). The panes of the comic books are located adjacent to each other on a single page to give an impression of the series of events.

A close look at the objects provides an idea of whether the reader can differentiate between perceived and received information contained in the book. A failure by the reader to understand comics’ vocabularies leads to distortion of the intended message contained in the book. At page two a boy is reading a book at night, and right behind him, McCloud shows us the mind of the kid is interacting with characters contained in the book. Thus, in that case, McCloud explains the importance of the images and pictorial diagrams that surrounds the young boy. The fact that the kid is looking at the book first and then interactions with the characters in his mind explains that McCloud was intentionally conveying a message to the readers using a predetermined sequence. Finally, just by looking at the pictorials the learner's cab aesthetically understand and respond to what is happening in the book also helps us in understanding the last part of the definition.

Lesson two from Understanding Comics as an invisible art by McCloud looks at the vocabulary and language of the comics. Unlike other books that writers explain the events on paragraphs, McCloud like other comics writers uses pictures. Thus, it is prudent for readers of Understanding Comics to understand the type of language being used by McCloud. Notably, McCloud uses the images to explain concrete things in the world in an understandable and simplified manner. Using three circles and a line McCloud was able to draw a picture as seen on page 26 of understanding comics (McCloud 26). On the image, there are the words ‘this is not a face.’ Definitely, by looking at the picture one can see the face of a person who is sad. Thus, McCloud was passing a message to the viewers and readers that the person represented in that case was not happy with what he was going through at the moment. As a result, he was denying the circumstances he was going through by saying the face does not represent who he is in the book.

In so doing, a facial image drawn by McCloud using a line and three circles was enough to explain the inner emotions of a person. Thus, McCloud was able to simplify things that cannot be explained or understood quickly using comics inform of pictures and images of a person. A focus on the images eliminates any need to go into details when explaining what he intends to say to other people. The pictures are also appealing to readers who don’t like reading long novels.

Definition and Understanding of the Gutter

The word channel as used by McCloud in his book Understanding Comics as an invisible art is defined as the space between subsequent events. Thus, there is the time when an event began and when it is closed when represented in a pictorial form. Further, McCloud adds that gutters in comical events represent mysteries and magic that can only be perceived by the reader of the comics. Therefore, after receiving the image, one has to recognize what is happening to understand the mysteries and magic of the comics. A reader of comics will fill the blank spaces if he sees three pictures of an event in a book or a work manual. The perception of the ideas in the mind of the reader is what McCloud described as gutters of events. Thus, instead of seeing the three pictures as different from each other, the user creates movements of events in his mind to remove the blank spaces. In so doing, a closure of incidents in a pictorial diagram is witnessed by the learner. The brain receives the information and then using perception generates it into practical ideas. In so doing, one finds is easy to read and understand comic books. On page 63 there is a hand touching money in an open wallet while the other hand is holding the purse tightly (McCloud 63).

In this case, the person looking at the picture only sees the hand and money, but through the phenomenon of closure, he or she can explain what is happening. Note that McCloud does not offer other details on what the man is doing but using the little information on the picture we can predict what is going on. In this case, the person is taking money out of the wallet to buy something. The reader of comics can understand what is happening because he or she has witnessed the same events for many years. Thus, the gutter and closure phenomenon teaches us how people create meaning from images in their minds based on past events they had witnessed. The engagement makes learning fun, and the learners do not forget what they saw on pictorials.

Thus, from the Understanding Comics, the idea and phenomenon of comics have been explained by McCloud. Understanding of the gutter enables the reader to relate different images in comics. The definition of comics as described in this paper was important for learners to connect events in comics. Finally, the vocabulary of images used in comics simplified events we face in life.

Work Cited

McCloud, Scott. "Understanding comics: The invisible art." Northampton, Mass (1993).

January 25, 2023

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