30 August 2009

Gutter, Time and Motion, the Things that Bring Comics to Life!!!

In Chapter Three Scott McCloud creates a very interesting argument. McCloud first begins to say that while he is talking and only half of his body is showing on the panel, we assume that his legs are there. That simple argument tells us what he is going to be talking about. Just as we assume that his legs are in the picture, in comics we assume or imagine that certain things take place when the panel doesn’t actually show exactly what happened. This imagination about what happened is known as the gutter between panels in a comic strip. This gutter is very important because it allows readers to decide for themselves what happens in the comic. An example that McCloud shows us is the panel with a man holding an axe saying, “Now you DIE!!” and a man cringing away in fear saying, “No! No!” with a panel after that showing the moon, city, and EEYAA!! This panel doesn’t actually show us what happened to the man cringing away from the man with the axe. It leaves it up to us to imagine what happened. McCloud says that we, as the readers, create a closure to the panel and by doing that we “decided how hard the blow [with the axe was,] who screamed, [and] why.” McCloud called it the readers “special crime, [that we] committed in our own style. The gutter between the panels is so important to the readers and how much we participate in the comic. Comic books depend on the gutter effect and use them way more often than movies. It allows the reader to really be involved in the Comic they are reading.
Another thing that Scott McCloud talks about in Chapter Three is the fact that Comics have certain kinds of craft that they follow. There are six different types of craft that Comic writers can use when creating their panels. The first one is known as Moment-to-Moment which allows very little closure done by the reader because it is really second-by-second. The second one is Action-to-Action which features a “single subject in distinct progressions” of the next big action that will happen. The third craft is subject-to-subject and that means that the panel stays within “a scene or idea.” The reader must be very involved with this one in order to decide what happens in between the gutter to finish the story. The fourth craft that McCloud describes is known as scene-to-scene which “transports us across significant distances of time and space.” The fifth type of craft is aspect-to-aspect that “bypasses time and sets a wondering eye on different aspect of a place, idea, or mood.” The sixth and very last craft that McCloud talks about is Non-Sequitur, which really has no logic between any of the panels as all and isn’t meant to either. Each of these crafts present different ways in which a gutter can be used. Going from not having to use much imagination in between the panels to using a ton of imagination by the time the sixth craft is used.
Chapter four then deals with the time in a panel. McCloud says that “we all learned to perceive time spatially, for in the world of comics, time and space are one and the same.” Since a panel has no specific time we have a hard time deciding how long or short a conversation should be. So, Comic writers use the shape of the panel to help us decide how long or short a story/conversation takes place. The longer the panel shape is, the longer the time is and if the panel is short then the time seems to be shorter. Time can also be given a timeless space by allowing the panel to not really end except that it hits the end of the page. By the panel not have closer to it, time seems to just continue on and on. There is a panel the McCloud uses that shows a radio and song notes continuing off of the panel, but we can’t see them shows us that the music will continue to move on and on even if the panel doesn’t show it. Eventually time was shown on the actual panel by using lines that followed the icon in the picture. By using lines time was able to be shown in a whole different way. A car moving across the panel could be shown going very fast, by having the lines go all of the way around the car to have the car be the main focus. These lines allow time and motion to go hand in hand when creating a Comic.
Scott McCloud has done a very good job in explaining the gutter, time and motion in Comics to me. I really honestly don’t know much about comics and have not read them. By having these three factors explained to me I truly understand how much fun Comics can be. Time and motion are very important, but I believe that the gutter between the panels is more important because it allows the reader to be more involved in the story. I like to imagine how something is going to happen, rather than having someone else show me. These concepts make Comics have a life to them and a meaning to them as well. They become more than just pictures and words on a page.

1 comment:

  1. I found the whole idea of creating our own story in between the panels quite interesting. It's pretty intense to think of how many different scenes are thought of by the many people who read a chosen comic. Like you said, "It leaves it up to us to imagine what happened". I think that's what makes comics so interesting.

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