24 February 2011

Comic Superstition

In Dylan Horrock's Inventing Comics: Scott McCloud' s definition of comics, Horrock explains hows McClould's work is theory. Horrock says that the only reason people take McCloud's argument as truth is because they share McCloud's ideas. McCloud uses his definition to establish limits, but like all definitions, it is an expression of values and assumptions.

Horrock explains that the main value McCloud establishes is closure. Closure allows pictures to transcend the traditional limitaitons of the single image, becoming narrative. Even though McCloud values closure, many people see the problem of comics as crude, poorly drawn pictures while their real problem is the reason people see them this way. What holds comics back are people's attitudes.

Along with comics problems, McCloud writes that comics problems are associated with not what they could be, but what they have been. In order to advance, comics need to get rid of their history. McCloud talks of a division of form vs. content. He also explains the phrase "form as vessel." Form as vessel can hold any number of ideas and images. Even if you do not like comics, you should be able to admire the form. The form McCloud talks about focuses the readers attention on the pure shiny form. This makes comics an equal medium in the eyes of the public.

Horrock also writes of how McCloud uses Eisner's term because it is useful. The term highlights the things McCloud values most about comics. Horrock explains how McCloud basically just uses Eisner's term and makes it into a dictionary style definition and renames it comics. The new meaning just colonizes the old meaning. This is why Scott McCloud's book is arguable because he bases his book off a definition that he just renamed.

Another argument Horrock brings up is McCloud's fear of words or Logo phobia. McCloud thinks a comic should be dominated by pictures and have little dialogue, but my McCloud's definition, as long as their is two pictures somewhere in a book and they tell a narrative, then that book is a comic. McCloud also does not attempt to define the border between words and pictures. There is no rule stated to as how much text and pictures can be in a comic.

This reading was somewhat hard to read, but had a lot of valuable information to make the reader think twice about some of McCloud's ideas. The summary was to show the reader that McCloud's book should not be taken as fact, but as an arguable opinion. The reader can argue the statements McCloud makes. Horrock does a good job of making his arguments of issues he disagrees with McCloud. We now have good reason to be superstitious about the definition of comics.

1 comment:

  1. Aside from a few spelling mistakes, this is a great post, justin!

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