15 June 2010

A Mountain out of a Mollhill........

Horrocks argues with McCloud’s definition of comics as a form and his attempts to put up boundaries around what comics are. He pulls out implications of McCloud’s definition that are not immediately obvious and adds to his argument with quotes from a Comics Journal interview with McCloud. It seems that McCloud sees comics as being dominated by the images (“…If the pictures, independent of the words, are telling the whole story and the words are supplementing that, then that is comics.’’). He notes that McCloud has rhetorically latched onto the structural features of the comic medium. Horrocks also points out that among cartoonists, there is a fear of the word as dominating factor, an inversion of the possible anxiety those who privilege traditional text may feel. Horrocks suggests a broader, more inclusive definition of not just comics or print text, but language in general, and this definition is laden with image text sentiment.
Scott McCloud’s written in an informal and accessible style, Understanding Comics looks at the history of the medium, at its vocabulary, at common misconceptions about it, at what makes it work, and at its potential. The book as a whole is a great way in helping people such as myself better understand the use of comics and how they function. The book was so smart, funny, stimulating and unpretentious. Before you ask, no, you don’t need to be obsessed with comics or anything remotely similar to enjoy it. I think that anyone interested in art history or art in general would get something out of this book. Because even though it looks at an art form in specific, Understanding Comics also makes all sorts of interesting points about how art in general works, how our brains process it, how we respond to it and why we create it. Yes, according to Horrock, McCloud might have made a mountain out of a molehill. Truly, I believe it worked in McCloud’s favor.

7 comments:

  1. While I'm not sure this is up to snuff with your normal amount of analysis, Josh (you've only looked a couple of Horrocks' points), you done well with a very complex text here. Hopefully your peers will pick up the slack ;-)

    But I'm a little lost in your free response. It looks like your responding to McCloud's text as opposed to Horrocks'. That seems odd :-/

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  2. I was trying to defend McCloud lol! But I think I confused myself more than anything else!

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  3. Haha! That's what I thought you were going for, but it wasn't clear. And if there's anything we learned from They Say / I Say today, it's the important of relating summaries and quotes back to your own point ;-)

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  4. I will keep that in mind! I just really stress out easily and if you think about it there is no need to lol!

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  5. and no bullet points??!! your signature blog tool! ;)

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  6. I was eager to defend McCloud too! I guess we are biased.

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