Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, in McCloud's introduction he opens with a conversation he is having with his friend Matt Feazell. McCloud makes an effort to explain his comic book on comics by referring to some topics he writes about; such as the definition of comics, basic elements, process, closure, time, words, pictures, storytelling, comprehensive theory, creative process and art in general.
In Chapter one McCloud expresses his thoughts about comics during his younger ages "Comics were those bright, colorful magazines filled with bad art, stupid stories and guys in tights" as you can interpret, his view on comics was somewhat hopeless, his idea was that he was too old for comics. Contrary to his opinion McCloud became completely obsessed with comics and decided to become a comic creator (artist) after being introduced to them by his "smarter" friend. In this chapter McCloud explores his thoughts to find a genuine definition for comics. Ultimately his definition is; “juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer.” McCloud also writes about the significance that history and prehistoric arts have with comics.
“For the purpose of this chapter, I’m using the word “icon” to mean any image used to represent a person, place, thing or idea.” McCloud’s chapter two educates its audience that icons are only images, paintings, drawings etc. that are a resemblance, representation or a symbol of it’s subject. There are non-pictorial icons, abstract icons and pictorial icons. Abstract icons are words, and words have no correspondence to their subject and non-pictorial icons have no influence on their implication and for pictorial icons McCloud indicates that the more simplified the characters are the more we are able to relate and use our imagination but the backgrounds are not simplified they are very realistic. McCloud reviews comics in Europe, Japan and America. Animated characters are used in Europe more then in America, Japan uses realistic, complex and simplified art. The vocabulary of the word comic consists of three terms words, vocabulary and icons. McCloud is convinced that words and images are more suitable if they are separated.
After reading these first two chapters of Understanding Comics I feel somewhat more knowledgeable on art in general. I learned a little history about different cultures and how their art is a form of comics because they give information and tell a story. I now find images really interesting, the background appeals the most to me because of how realistically they are drawn and the characters have become more fascinating then before to me because I now know why they are so plain. I currently have a nonjudgmental mind frame about comics because I was made aware of the difficulty it takes to produce and understand them.