25 February 2012

The Flaw of McCloud's Definition

Dylan Horrocks, in his article "Inventing Comics: Scott McClouds' definition of comics", analyzes the things Scott McCloud does and doesn't do in his book Understand Comics. He says that McCloud's book is a great work of theory and persuasion, arguably the best in the comic community. But because of McCloud's art of persuasion, his book is rarely contested. People simply agree with what he has to say instead of looking deeply into the text and understanding why he is right, or possibly why he is wrong.
Horrocks takes a deeper look into McCloud's text, analyzing how he persuades his readers so well to make them believe what he is saying is truth. He starts at the beginning of the book where McCloud wipes away all stereotypes of comics. He must do this first to abandon his reader's preconceived notions of comics so that he can show them that there is a lot more that could be done with comics than what has been done previously. Horrocks goes on to explain how McCloud then erases the history of comics in order to separate the form from the content, comics being the form and content being what is inside of the comics. He uses the metaphor of a pitcher (form) full of water (content) to emphasize that to fully understand what comics could be, we need to empty the pitcher full of the content. The form is what McCloud wants to define, not the content.
The definition McCloud chooses to use is 'Sequential Art,' a term he uses from another comic master, Will Eisner. He bases the rest of his book off of this definition, but Horrocks challenges this. He asks why this definition is the defining aspect of comics when there are many other definitions he could have chosen from. The answer, because McCloud likes it. McCloud likes Eisner's definition and by his means of persuasion he implies to his readers that this is the correct definition. He makes his readers believe that the things he likes and believes are the things that are true.
All throughout McCloud's book he uses geographical metaphors in both his pictures and words. McCloud wants to spread his vision of comics to the whole world and does so by using these metaphors. Horrocks compares McCloud's definition of comics to a map, explaining that it is McCloud's way of helping his readers navigate through the world using his definition/map instead of all of the other definitions out there. He wants his readers to use his definition so he can expand their view of what comics can be. He does this by going back in time, further than when most people believe the beginning of comics to be. McCloud goes back to the 1500s and explains through his definition that the scrolls and egyptian paintings drawn hundreds of years ago were in fact comics. Comics have been a crucial way of communicating for longer than anyone on this earth has lived. In the definition of comics that McCloud gives, the most important part is not what it says, but what it doesn't say. Just like McCloud is trying to broaden his readers minds by showing them that things like Egyptian paintings are comics, he gives them a very inclusive definition of comics so that no boundaries are set for what comics could be in the future.
McCloud uses metaphors all throughout his book, one of which Horrocks believes is the definition itself. Horrocks explains that the beauty of a metaphor is it can highlight the aspects of something you want to focus on and hide other aspects that you don't want to be seen. In McCloud's definition he highlights that comics are a sequence of images while hiding all the other aspects of comics. This is very useful to McCloud because it makes it easy to convince his readers that there is only one aspect of comics when really that is not true. Another metaphor McCloud uses is the pitcher as the form metaphor. By using this, McCloud masks the elements of comics he does not want to focus on by choosing only one element to define as the form of comics.
Through metaphors and other means, McCloud ignores one of the most fragile areas of what comics are, children's books. By McCloud's definition a children's book would be a comic, but in an interview he claims that a children's book does not qualify as a comic. Horrocks points out that McCloud deliberately avoids this subject because he does not know exactly where to draw the line. McCloud says that pictures must dominate the medium, and that in a children's book you could still understand the story without the pictures, therefore they are not comics. But in McCloud's definition he says nothing of the sort. Horrocks points out that McCloud will accept an Egyptian painting as comic, but will not accept a children's book.
Horrock is explaining that McCloud's opinion on comics is not the only one in the world. He is analyzing McCloud's work to show people that his book isn't just something to be read and found interesting. It needs to be challenged, because although there are a lot of good points in McCloud's book, there are also a lot of things that he fails to discuss. In order to understand the entire picture, we need to educate ourselves with more than just one person's opinion.

Horrock attacks McCloud when he says that Egyptian paintings are comics but he wouldn't include children's books as comics. In Chapter six of Understanding Comics, McCloud states that there are different combinations of words and pictures in comics. He claims that there are word-specific, picture-specific, duo-specific, additive, parallel, montage, and inter-dependent comics. He defines word-specific as a comic where pictures add to the text, but you could still understand the story without them. He says that this is still a comic, but isn't this exactly what a children's book is? And he says that a children's book is not a comic. I think that it is a really important point that Horrock brings up against McCloud. This is definitely a flaw in his book.

24 February 2012

In the hope to bring comics back:

In The Twelve Revolutions by Scott McCloud he talks about where comics are now and where he would like them to be in the future. From 1984-1994, McCloud’s first ten years of making comics, sales were looking good for them then from 1994 to 1998 the demand of comics declined therefore causing many comic book stores to close down. McCloud hopes to turn this around by introducing his ideas on how comics can reach their full potential. By focusing on these key components: comics as literature, comics as art, creators’ rights, industry innovation, public perception, Institutional scrutiny, gender balance, minority representation, diversity of genre, digital production, digital delivery, and digital comics Scott McCloud hopes to see comics reach their full potential. Scott McCloud’s solution for comics are for them to “grow outward”, instead of move forward.(22) McCloud thinks artists should create comics for a broader audience, which will help comics branch out into different genres.
In this reading Scott McCloud shows us the possibilities comics have in the world today. We have an open view of life and I feel that it gives comics a chance to reach their full potential. In this day and age I feel that anything is and can be accepted.

Element of Life: Comics

Scott McCloud is extremely passionate about comics but is also great in making others not just interested but passionate about comics. Almost everyone in our freshman composition class is awed by the brilliant examples he gives and embeds a deep rotted seed for a desire to know more comics in us. And, yet again McCloud succeeds by publishing a second comic book called Reinventing Comics. The introductory chapter also titled, as “The Twelve Revolutions” is similar to the introduction he’d given in Understanding Comics, as he gives his audience a little background information about his childhood.

McCloud researches and digs into the main idea of comics and how they affect the American readers. In the passage of time he comes across many conflicting ideas, and tries his best to get them to a common ground. For example: In Chapter Two, Understanding Comics (page 48) he tries to combine and differentiate between two very important characteristics of comics- words and pictures. Similarly, the introduction to Reinventing Comics also shows him finding a common ground for the agreement of long-term goals and art form.

McCloud‘s concept of Twelve Revolutions takes his ideas into the very next stage as, the twelve ways of viewing comic’s shines an entirely new light on Comics. McCloud views almost our entire world as comics, making us aware of how we live our lives around and among comics. An important milestone for comics was during the period of ten years between 1984 to 1994 when comics were used in a broad way of conveying messages globally. A diverse genre also burst out, opposing the stereotypical superheroes comics. However the numbers reduce to a half in the mid-90’s, but ironically some of the brightest, talented and diverse cartoonists of the century were made. One of which also won the Pulitzer Prize a literature award (Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegeiman).

An analysis he makes after judging the history of comics and predicting about the future of comics is that only after establishing direct, meaningful exchange of ideas and experiences will the reader like the creators work. He wishes to see a time when comic book store’s will not only have superhero comics but a varied genre of comics book. By this his main purpose to widen the definition of comic books also broadens. If wide ranges of comic books are in stores then it will have a larger scope of customers from various discourse communities.

The last three revolutions are one of the most important for the future of comics as everything is digital nowadays. It is much more easier to create comics on a computer than to do it the original way. A vast media uses comics compared to other mediums, it has a broader audience. He closes the introductory chapter by giving us a map to his new book.

23 February 2012

Comics as Comics Again!!!

Comics as Comics Again!!!
            Times have changed over the 90s and 80s and so have the looks on comic’s perspective. In the introduction of the twelve revolutions, Scott McCloud explains his purpose for comics to reach their full potential. Over the years, comics have had a rough break in trying to convince the public that they are more than just non-interesting or childlike.  In this chapter, McCloud is back to explain or demonstrate his purpose for comics again and where and why it could be better for the public’s eye again. Through the years comics book stores and companies have tried to fashion themselves a new image for marketing and even as they came up with ideas, it failed miserably due to the fact that it was not about comics anymore but more like collector items speculation which definitely came out of touch with the works content or even the simple principles of supply and demand. There may have also been problems with over achievement between artists and writers but it did not mean the ideas were good. As Scott McCloud explains more, there are twelve revolutions he sees that could or may change the perspective of comics over the years.
            The twelve revolutions are Comics as literature, Comics as art, Creators rights, Industry innovation, Public perception, Institutional scrutiny, Gender balance, Minority representation, Diversity of genre, Digital production, Digital delivery, and Digital comics. They describe how comics have literary and artistic value, that creators should possess adequate financial stake, improved public perception that shows progress, positive recognition, balance between the sexes and minority representation, improvements in the industry for the artist and consumer, genre diversity, production with digital technology, distribution of comics digitally, and evolution of comics in a digital environment. There is still much to understand with comics and as he keeps explaining, there will be change in comics but the idea of what it achieves will not change, so artists over time may have to accept the concept of its change but never forget its purpose.
            There will be a lot more he will have to say, but the breech for comics begins now. In Scott McCloud’s first book understanding comics, he explains that there are more to comic’s artistic work than what is just seen on paper, and in his second book he argues more with that point. There are many comic artists on the rise, and it’s tough to notice change in comics, but if this change is expressed than maybe more of the public will get involved again and ideas will flutter. I think Scott McCloud is on the right track in explaining revolution of the artist’s work and that it should be expressed through change, and embrace but to never forget the past mediums for it is just as important as new ideas.

A Fundamental Change for the Better

Just because a person may not only want to make a change, but also strive to make that change does not mean a change will come to life. Scott McCloud gave light to a new view on comics in his book Understanding Comics that was published in 1993. McCloud left the debate open to new ideas and criticism, but unfortunately no one took the bait. Being the "comic loyalist" that McCloud is he just could not let this debate go cold, which is why he created Reinventing Comics just seven short years after publishing Understanding Comics. McCloud still believes comics will have their come back, but it will also take a lot of work. McCloud states that the two biggest threats comics are facing is loss of new talent and loss of new readers. Comic artists certainly don't get paid enough. With all the new technology that has come out reading period has been pushed aside for video games and television. With all this taken into consideration comics still have hope in the twelve revolutions which are comics as literature, comics as art, creators' rights, industry innovation, public perception, institutional scrutiny, gender balance, minority representation, diversity genre, digital production, digital delivery and finally digital comics.
Hard copies of comics are hard to come by because they do not make enough profit on their own and the majority of people no longer read purely for pleasure. What McCloud suggests is to give comics a new appeal. If comics were to strike a broader audience, diverse spectrum of styles and subject matter, as McCloud puts it, than perhaps people would look at comics as a past time worth returning to. Comics big problem is that they have only moved forward which leaves behind great work from the past and only a couple genres at a time to work with. McCloud suggests that instead of moving forward comics must move outward so as to intertwine the future, past and present and that will lead comics to better diversity and a better public perception. These twelve revolutions McCloud has given in turn gives comics twelve directions to grow.
I do believe that the time has come to give comics a fundamental change that will change the way they are thought about and visualized. Looking at present day comics, I don't think the way people percieve comics has changed very much, but comics have definitely been brought up to date with modern day technology. You can download hundreds of comic apps on an iPad/iPod/iPhone which makes them easier to find and search through which in turn helps comics,at the very least, start to be read by more people.

I Blame Technology

For the past two decades the economy and the public has been less than loving to comic books. McCloud argues that comics now a days are less appreciated than when they were at their peak of popularity. He claims that comic books can once again be popular if they are reintroduced to a wider range of discourse communities. McCloud discusses how there is a big social conflict on how comics are intended for certain groups. He mentions that there needs to be more comics that attract different races as well as genders. McCloud also argues that comics can be used for academic purposes to introduce various subjects. He thinks its possible to improve our ecoomy if comics were to become more popular.
I think that comics can become popular again if they are promoted right. They should be promoted to try and reach new comic readers by adding more genras. It is iportant as not all people enjoy reading the same stuff, they all have their own genres they enjoy. I also agree with McCloud on his idea that comics can be used for academics. And I think most people would agree because it can make learing alot more easy and a lot less boring. I never imagined having to take a college class that revolves around comics but im glad I am because I think its more effective than having to write about something I cant relate to at all. I also belive that the reason why comics are not as popular as they once were is because of the new technology. Because of all the new technology people got away from reading and spent most of their free time watching movies and play video games.

Are Comics on the Road to Extinction?


            Exposing the awesome internal workings of a comic was apparently not enough according to Scott McCloud in Reinventing Comics. In this textbook he plans to show the other side of a comic since he was not satisfied with the reaction toward his previous textbook Understanding Comics. After 15 years of being in the comic business, McCloud focuses on the external life of a comic in the introduction of this text. He subtly expresses his frustration with comics being underestimated and debates whether it is just a phase in American comics or if it is permanent. In his view comics should form a complete puzzle with all the different visions and varieties being an individual puzzle piece. From 1984-1994 comics were at the top of the ladder and had increased sales, innovation and public image. However, the decline came soon afterwards causing many comic book stores to close down and comics to be less available to the general public. Scott McCloud goes over the common ground ideas that professionals work hard to achieve which also form part of the twelve revolutions he will describe throughout his text. The first 9 revolutions are: literature, comics as art, creators rights, industry innovation, public perception, institutional scrutiny, gender balance, minority representation and diversity of genre. Although these revolutions of comics did show progress in its golden years they never reached their full potential. McCloud describes how a certain type of comic always succeeds at the expense of another type, therefore creating a never ending discrimination toward anything that is different. His overall  focus in this chapter is to create awareness so that comics are placed among the rest of basic art forms and communication media. McCloud acknowledges that the challenge of comics is not to move forward but to grow outward. He looks to start a debate that was not fulfilled with his previous text and in the hopes of bringing all biases to the table change the future of comics to a much brighter one. 
Discontent with the success of comics after his first textbook McCloud uses this chapter of Reinventing Comics to show yet another side of comics (the external life) in hopes of creating awareness to all readers of this form of art. McCloud is an advocate for all professional comic writers who have been discouraged of continuing their art due to the many struggles comics have been through since 1994. In this chapter he exposes his point of view more openly and uses his own life experience as a testimony of how a comic book author is looked down on by society. By explaining the 9 revolutions, McCloud pushes the boundaries and insists upon the existence of a comic for every individual person. If comics were once at the top of the ladder and had the potential to connect with readers, McCloud wants to create a debate among all the readers of his text so that this form of art can take its well deserved place among all basic forms of art! 

To Grow Outward

      Introduction The Twelve Revolutions  and Understanding Comics both written by Scott McCloud. Both of the books seem to have a very different approaches on comics. In the Introduction McCloud starts by stating his love for comics and it runs much deeper in him then others who think they have a love for comics. He is wanting to make clear he is not like every other comic book fan who puts them away in plastic bags or in it for action figures or trading cards. McCloud is a comic book realist!
      During  McCloud's generation from 1984-1994 every professional comic book written agreed on certain common grounds such as Comics as Literature, comics as art, Creators rights, Industry Innovation, public perception, Institutional scrutiny, Gender balance, Minority Representation, Diversity of genre. Which made it easier to compete with other comic writers and it made the success of a comic book more than likely possible because everyone standards were the same. McCloud now hopes for the new generation to look at the glass half full than half empty on expanding in the comic world.
      The intro and understanding comics relate to one another by him simply wanting society to see the bigger picture on comics. He wants to make a point that comics should be highly respected by everyone and not just boys who like to read about superheroes. The two books differ from one another by McCloud seems to be putting more of his love and personal life with comics in the introduction. Then with Understanding Comics he is simply setting the readers up on the basics of comics of how they work, the background, closure and every space in between. Mainly Understanding comics set us up on how to understand the history of comics and prepares us to get a better grasp into the Introduction.
        I feel the Introduction The Twelve Revolutions is a very one sided opinionated book on comics, very bias. Understanding comics is something I could relate to more because McCloud was more open to what others had to say, like in the beginning of his book he was taking what others would say about his creation of the definition of comics. In the end McCloud leaves it up to the reader whether they want to take in what he is saying and go with it. McCloud simply wants us to grow outward in the adventurous world of comics.

The Potential Of Comics...

In the Introduction The Twelve Revolutions McCloud  introduces himself and go directly into pointing out that he is a true comic Author. He explains he is not a professional comic book author for the money or the fame he does it simply to get comics to reach their full potential. He explains his past experiences writing and drawing comics. He goes back ten years to 1984 and says that comics where at their peak and all of the comics authors thought that was just the beginning of comics, but they were wrong that was their peak. The years following it was a down hill fall for most of the authors and comics fans. McCloud goes on to talk about some of the common ground that most authors in the 80 and 90 all agreed on. Comics as Art, Creators Rights, Industry innovation, Public perception, institutional scrutiny, gender balance, minority representation and a few more are all agreed a pone perception of comics back in 1984 till 1994. McCloud explains he thinks that there are so many new and great ideas that are yet to be discovered, he just needs younger generations to realize comics potential and stop judging them as lame, for boys, and useless.

I think one of the things that are different between this books introduction and Understanding comics is that he does not directly give the reader an opinion. He is stating his opinion, explaining his view of comics, telling why he is writing this book, and what he wants out of writing this book. In the first book he left the door open to his reader to make their own opinions and even let the reader help decide what a comic is. I think this book sounds a little harder to read because of the big vocabulary. This book seems to be for a reader that is a fan of McCloud's last book and  wants to hear more of what McCloud has to say bout comics.

Fighting for Comic-Civil Rights, Analyzing the Introduction to Re-Inventing Comics

The past couple of weeks we have been analyzing and pondering the many ideas that Scott McCloud presents in his very descriptive informational graphic novel “Understanding Comics; the Invisible Art”. As we move on towards bolder and broader ideas, Scott McCloud goes on to talk about the future of comics. This may be a broad subject to discuss, and believe me after reading 30 pages and made the assessment that this was very important, it's something that must be discussed if we wish to continue to enjoy comics. In the introduction, Scott McCloud divides the issues or rather the revolutions in to nine categories that present the issues which could endanger the livelihood of such a medium. These nine goals presented by Scott McCloud are intended to read through and restore the popularity of comics. This is only touching the subject on the very vague and superficial manner, and I will elaborate further on each of these subjects to give you an idea of what Scott McCloud is trying to reiterate to us.

First and foremost, cloud addresses the argument of comics and literature. This argument stems from the neglects and lack of educational interest by academia. When I say academia I mean teachers, professors, philosophers, and theorists about. More and more people returned her realize that comics can be utilized as an efficient median to present any sort of information not with artistic flair, but artistic guidance Then again can't come up with appeal to any audience, regardless of age, sex, gender. This idea leads me to another one of his topics, though not in order. His eighth standpoint deals with the issue of the mindless neglect to include main characters of another denomination other than Caucasian. I never noticed this and so I looked into the past Marvel comics that all seem to contain a very chiseled and each very white superhero. The only severe as I can recall of another culture or Black Panther and Iron Fists (and that comment is very recent). These ideas blend more and more as he discusses the limited appearance of women as main characters and comics, which has been overlooked for quite some time in my opinion.

Scott McCloud goes on to argue that comic's should be appreciated as part a useful educational medium as well as a habit-forming past time. Most people think there is no educational value to a comic book, but Scott argues that not only do comics show social issue, but can be altered and presented in a form of a historical media that can appeal to younger audience. This idea ties into his ninth philosophy about trading in abundance of different genres instead of limiting them to stories of super humans. He also tries to show his audiences that he switches the public's perception on comic books and we persists to buy more and more comics, we could not only learn more about it for our economy. These coalescing ideas blend perfectly together and you present issue that I've noticed in comics when I have read them in previous years. Scott McCloud's theory of bettering the world through comics and vice versa proves to be not only interesting but almost factual in a sense, though it’s not. It could be argued that there still is a fairly large audience that reads, works daily or that issues of minority and gender have nothing to do with the usefulness of comics as a medium, but I can't follow through with those arguments. After reading a fair selection of Scott McCloud's work, I has not only been persuaded of further fascinated in this form of expressions known as comics even more than I was before.

Save the Comics!

In reading the Introduction: The Twelve Revolutions, by Scott McCloud, Scott begins the reading off with a little personal information about him self and introduces an important topic that he feels is an issue. The topic he mentions is how comic artists have been going unnoticed for a while now, since about the 90’s to be exact. The condition of comics are not going unnoticed. Wondering how much longer guys like him are going to be able to continue making comics for the business side of it is a mystery. Although Scott is what you may call a comics loyalist, all he wants is to be able to see comic’s full potential as well as his own.
Considering McCloud’s natural love for comics, he has never been in the comic business just for the fame or the fortune. Most comic writers are in it for just the reason. Making a profit out of the action figures, memorabilia, or even putting that plastic bag over one of your comics to be sold in the comic book stores is the exact problem with this era. Anyone can do anything just to have a job; eventually someone or something will come by and take your place. For example, movies have been taking over. Without the love for comics by the artists, readers tend to lose their interest.
McCloud is one out of many writers who still hold this love for comics.McCloud then goes into how most comic artists had a common ground for long term goals for art form. These goals included comics as literature, comics as art, creator’s rights, industry innovation, public perception, institutional scrutiny, gender balance, minority representation, and diversity of genre. Despite many setbacks, 1984-1994 was definitely a time of progress shown. Through this time many lessons were learned, for example, the official scrutiny of academia turned increasingly to comics during that era.
Scott then began an argument about media and comics. All the technology that is available now is causing a huge problem for comics and the production value. Just because the television is booming now-a-days doesn’t mean comics need to become undercover. In fact, going back to how it starts with the comic writers, I bet there would be a huge difference if the writers were doing it out of love.
At the end of the day, the writers cannot be blamed for it all. We as readers should do a better job at purchasing comics and helping the comic world out. If we do a better job at this, maybe, just maybe, the world of comics can come back to life and become re-popular. McCloud gets his point a crossed clearly. The ins and outs of comics in the timeline of the past couple centuries have gone up and down drastically. Hopefully we can help change this for the brighter future of comics!

Comparing Both of McCloud's Masterpieces!

In the book Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud, he thoroughly explains every aspect of comics, trying to persuade his discourse community, which is everyone, that they need to read comics and change their opinion of them. McCloud's purpose of writing the book was to spark conversation and debate of the things that he stated, when however that was not the effect of the book. McCloud wrote the book so well, that nobody argued with the content, and that was that.
McCloud prompted to write another book, almost ten years later that had a different purpose then his first book, he begins with the Introduction:12 revelations, which talked about how he wants comics to reach their full potential, and he proposes how we might be able to make that happen. One example he uses, is to expand the genres of what comic book authors write about, he believes that they need to venture our from talking about just super heroes, because the audience is potentially limited. He believes comics are very similar to film, because comics and film both use time to create a better story, McCloud is very realistic and realizes that film will most likely always be more popular then comics, but he explains that comics can potentially be not that far behind the popularity of film.
In chapter three of Understanding Comics, McCloud explains all the different types of panel to panel transittions that create time. The difference between the two books is that McCloud is informing in the book Understanding Comics, where as in The Introduction to his next book, he talks about the importance of time, but he doesnt inform the audience the importance of panel to panel transition, instead he explains the importance of time to help the whole genre of comics to becoming more popular, so that comics can be as popular as they were in the mid 1990's.

Focus on the future!

McCloud paints the reader a picture of a pretty oasis that was the comic book industry before 1994. The industry was on the rise, but eventually peaked out, leading to a steep and violent downhill fall. The number of comic artist that actually made fiscal gain was a shrinking group, despite the uncertainty of the future of comics; the artists never forgot that comics are meaningful literature. They are a powerful form of art work. The creator of the comic has all the power and takes all the risks involved. The industry of comics can be recreated to better accommodate the reader and creator. The general negative opinion of comics can be swayed in their favor. Also comics have to capability to carry any genre. Before the decline of comics, there was a revolution. Different genres and styles were being created, and the amount of diversity that comics have is their future. The ability to be constantly innovated and continually grow allows the medium to reach a greater audience. Comics have reached another point where revolution is vital. Comics must search for solutions to its current problems and this journey will guarantee the future of comics is a bright one. ​The concept that comics are gifted with the ability to be great art and great literature simultaneously, reminds me of chapter 3 from Understanding Comics. McCloud brings up how comics are unique in the fact that they involve closure. Closure is completed on a daily basis, but comics use it in a way that makes reading interactive. And like how closure makes comics a “hands on activity” the future of comics, which McCloud says is his main focus, is all based on people’s willingness to actively look for answers to end the decline comics is suffering. I think I enjoy comics because they do not exclude any one person; McCloud implores people to read comics for that exact reason.  

Comics Reinvented

McCloud's chapter 2 of Understanding Comics and The Twelve Revolutions are very alike because they both talk about the different types of comics and that there is a different type of comic out there for everyone.  In Understanding Comics, McCloud views comics as an art.  He relates back to Ancient Egyptian times where sequential art is looked at in a comic view.  In The Twelve Revolutions, we see comics as not only an art, but a form of spoken word.  This proves that comics even with text, are a type of art.
In Reinventing Comics, there is a large focus on how comics can be appreciated and become more popular.  In Understanding Comics, McCloud also wants comics to be appreciated.  When McCloud and David Kunzle's perspectives on comics are compared, it is hard to tell whether they share the same views on the comic strips popularity.  Kunzle says "of all the lively arts, the comic strip is the most despised, and with the expectation of movies, the most popular."  McCloud says "comics may never attain the popular height of moving images."  McCloud sounds as if the gratitude for comics is decreasing.  We learn that McCloud and Kunzle both want comics to appreciated for their work.  They don't want comics to be viewed low and want their works to be available to all different types of people and age groups, not just children.  There is a different genre for everyone.

A Good Start


In the introduction of Scott McCloud’s second book Reinventing Comics McCloud goes over the peak and crash of comics, twelve long term, common, goals among comics professionals, and the direction in which he thinks comic should go. McCloud’s first major point in his introduction, entitled, “The Twelve Revolutions” was that comics were at their peak in the early eighties, but had a hard crash in the nineties. In his discussion of the downfall of comics McCloud presents twelve points which he calls revolutions that are essential to the evolution of comics. McCloud’s first revolution is that comics need to come to a point where they are recognized as important literature, and are worthy of study and acclaim. McCloud’s second revolution is that comics need to come to a point where they are recognized as a legitimate form of art, such as paintings and sculptures. McCloud’s third revolution has to do with creators’ rights, where the creators of comics should be able to control their own fate and make money on their comics.  McCloud’s fourth revolution is that comics need to be reinvented to a point where they can benefit both the consumer and the producer. McCloud’s fifth revolution is that the public perception of comics needs to improve to the point where the full potential of comics is being realized by the public, and when progress is being made the public recognizes the progress.  McCloud’s sixth revolution is that comics need to come to a point where institutions of higher learning and law overcome the negative connotations that are associated with comics and tread comics fairly. McCloud’s seventh revolution is that more females need to become associated with comics, instead of the male dominant culture that it is now.  McCloud’s eighth revolution is that comics need to come to appoint where a wider variety of people are associating and interesting themselves with them. The ninth revolution that McCloud presents is that comics need to gain a wider range in their genres, as opposed to their present state where adolescence and power fantasies are the norm.  Now the only problem with comics is that there is no new talent and not enough people with a passion for comics writing and or reading as there was. These first nine revolutions are only part one of McCloud’s book, he goes on to explain that part three consists of three more revolutions, all having to with computers. The first revolution of part two is digital production of comics, which basically mean comics being made on the computer. The second revolution of part two is digital delivery, which basically means that comics can and need to be delivered through the computer to be successful. And McCloud’s final revolution is that comics need to evolve in a digital environment to be successful. McCloud makes it clear that for comics to succeed and thrive the genre can no longer go one step forward and forget about the previous progressions that it made, but rather, the genre needs to expand on its successes in these twelve directions to reach their full potential.

In writing this introduction McCloud differs greatly from his writing style in his first book, Understanding Comics. It seems that this book is written at a much higher intellectual level than that of his last book. Understanding Comics was written as a much easier read, with less text and less complications within the text.
After reading this introduction I have come to realize that comics have seemingly unending potential, but I have also come to realize that comics will never reach their potential. I feel this way because comics already have a negative connotation attached to them, which will make it near impossible for them to move forward in substantially in the twelve areas that McCloud mentioned they need to move forward in.

Evolution Revolution


The introduction of Scott McCloud’s Reinventing Comics offers a brief summary of comics’ condition over the 1984-1994 period, and discusses the artist’s hopes for the evolution of the medium in the years to come.

McCloud states that while comics artists often don’t share the same objectives for their medium, 12 main goals are shared by the majority of comics professionals, which he refers to as the Twelve Revolutions. These goals are that comics should have literary and artistic value, creators should possess adequate financial stake, improvements in the industry for both the artist and consumer, an improved public perception that recognizes progress, positive institutional recognition, balance between the sexes as well as minority representation, genre diversity, production with digital technology, distribution of comics digitally, and evolution of comics in digital form. From 1984-1994, comics were on the rise, with an increase in sales and even an improved public image. During this period, several of the 12 revolutions experienced some sort of growth. For instance, minority representation in the medium experienced some progression as well as genre diversity, but change was approaching slowly. Comics hit their peak during this time and then began their unfortunate decline.  McCloud describes 1994-1998 as a standstill period for comics, with many shops having to close and many creators having to switch careers because the industry no longer offered them the means to make a living.

McCloud maintains that although comics may never reach the popularity of film, they are still important to “diversifying our perception of our world.” Numerous modes of perceiving our world are necessary to better understand it. Comics can’t fear change. Comics’ artists need to acknowledge their medium’s past but they must also allow their work to evolve.  McCloud uses the metaphor of a chess piece to explain this concept; in order to take up a new location, the old one must first be abandoned. Comics, however, do not need to move forward from their current position, they need to grow from it! McCloud asserts that comics have the potential to appeal to everyone, but they need to become a more diverse art form, incorporating more genres and more styles than ever before in order to achieve this.

One main point from McCloud’s first book, Understanding Comics, that the author expands on is the idea that comics can be for anyone.  More than ten years after the publication of his first book, the author still maintains that comics can appeal to anyone. However, he believes a few changes need to take place before this can be achieved. He states that it is even more important now that comics artists broaden the genres employed in comics, and they must also incorporate new techniques and art styles. Comics need to be about more than superheroes! I thought that McCloud’s chess metaphor was a really effective way of explaining how he envisions how comics should evolve to begin realizing their potential. I agree that comics’ artists shouldn’t completely forget their medium’s past, but they also need to evolve to help their art mature and progress.