27 February 2012

Who Said Subliminal Messages Were Bad?


People are different, and form different opinions and ideas on all things. How is it possible to get everyone on the same page? Dylan Horrocks author of Inventing Comics: Scott McCloud’s Definition of Comics, writes a deep analysis of Scott McCloud’s book Understanding Comics in order to get all people on the same page of comprehending comics. Horrocks identifies Understanding comics as one of his favorite comics and as the most important comic book in English. Seemingly finding the fault in many of McClouds ideas throughout his book, Horrocks actually describes McClouds strategies in that way. According to Horrocks, Understanding comics is a piece of polemic which is intended to create a definition of comics by explaining all the concepts that make one up. Starting off by identifying the problem and solution of McClouds stereotypes against comics, Horrocks then moves on to explain how the past history of comics had to be erased before a new perception was even possible. The way people have classified comics due to their form and content had to be separated for the full beauty of a comic to be admired. Distinguishing comics apart from other art, the basic definition was set to “Sequential Art,” that with the power of closure became a narrative instead of a still image. Horrocks discovers the ingenious, subtle strategy of McCloud’s simple definition suggesting the way things are which in reality he is making things be the way he wants them. Horrocks explains the ways McCloud creates charts, diagrams and defines the boundaries of comics to such an extent that the expansion, break through and push of limits is encouraged by his text. Furthermore, the definition of comics in Understanding Comics is seen with a metaphorical system that exist in most of the ideas McCloud brings about. A great debate is formed when defining the amount of words in relevance to pictures and wether one should dominate the other in order to still be a comic. The war between words and pictures is narrowed down to narrative is to words as spacial is to pictures. Horrocks states the intervention of McCloud to identify how modern comics have won the battle and maintained the written language but successfully replaced it with actual words with pictures. 
Both Scott McCloud and Dylan Horrocks appear to agree with the fact that comics have been underestimated and misunderstood until current times. At the beginning of Understanding Comics McCLoud states how he himself was included in the great majority of people that believe comics to be childish and without important content. Horrocks related back to that statement and elaborated on how McCloud insists for everyone to separate comics as form vs. content. The absolute goal of McCloud according to Horrocks is to successfully convert people unto seeing comics as an art and even though it may not be your favorite art or something you would read, that at the least people may respect it as such. The ridicule that society has formed around the whole idea of comics and comic readers has by far surpassed the actual art form which should be given some attention and should not be judged before really understanding what goes into a comic. “People associate what comics have been instead if what they could be” (2), Horrocks suggests that erasing history is what McCloud has to do in his text in order to correctly change the perspective once already made of comics. As a matter of fact, McCloud combines all his descriptions and explanations of comics to create this atmosphere where all previous biases are erased and therefore the reader can start from scratch. An Analysis within and analysis is created in Horrocks writings. He points out the weaknesses and strengths McCloud has in his text and uses those to create a further understanding of how the invisible art of comics had to be broken down in order for all readers to be on the same page. 

1 comment:

  1. You have some great observations here, Paulina, but there are also some inaccuracies in your summary. I also think you may have misread some of Horrocks' points. Still, a good post.

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