09 February 2012

Tampon in a Tea Cup

In chapter six of Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud returns to the subject of words, pictures and their unified mission to tell stories. He begins by professing that common practice of making monumental pieces of art and literature is done so by keeping the two mediums separate. This also takes us back to the long held idea that comics are only for children because they are littered with too many pictures and, as we mature, we should desire our literature to be free of pictures and our art to be free of text. But McCloud suggests that art and stories of equal significance are produced through comics and pleads that the barrier of traditional thought open up to the idea of blending words and pictures without degrading the author’s work. He goes back in time and explains forms of ancient text were originally just stylized pictures that resembled the objects that they were representing. Eventually through centuries of writing and the printing press, written language mutated into what we think of it as now. Though through this mutation, the words slowly shed their association with pictures and they grew further and further apart. And then they began growing closer and closer together, with the entrance of abstract arts and modern poetry. But, these two things don’t just simply mix in one way, McCloud describes several ways that words and pictures can blend and tell stories. Word, picture and duo specific are self-explanatory. Then there’s additive where words are used to amplify the pictures, parallel is when the text and pictures seem to be doing two completely different things and montage that incorporates words and pictures into themselves. Inter-dependent though is the most popular, in which text and illustration team up to convey ideas they couldn’t get across alone. So once again, McCloud proposes that words and pictures be mixed in whatever way the author sees fit to tell their story.

"There are many different ways that we can express ourselves. By doing things like these cartoons that are amusing or as a sort of light entertainment. Or we can do work that's a little more serious in scope and feeling and that deals with issues; emotional, spiritual, political.... Of great importance."

2 comments:

  1. So true that self-expression is unlimited and can be viewed with many different perspectives, even if a persons emotions are expressed as some scribbles on a piece of butcher paper :-). Nice example

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  2. Great post, Doug. But you forgot to frame your quote ;-)

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