07 June 2009

Blog #1 Ch. 2+3

Chapter two of Understanding Comics: the Invisible Art, is about icons and how our minds perceive them. McCloud writes about how the human eye believes an object printed on paper to be real. Although in reality, it is just a printed version of the real thing. When images are drawn in their simplest form, they make it easier for the mind to understand what is going on. An easier way to understand this is when you think of an image of yourself, it is very basic. We can’t see the details of ourselves and it makes us feel more connected with simple cartoons because they aren’t that detailed either. When pictures are more detailed, it is harder for our minds to perceive what is going. We have more questions as to who the character is and what his or her background may be. We don’t feel as connected to more complex pictures as we do with simple cartoons. Also chapter two mentions a diagram called the picture plane. It is triangular in shape and each corner represents the whole picture vocabulary. The top represents shapes, the left side represents reality and the right side represents language. Comics can fall in between all of these characteristics.
This was a good chapter to read because it was very informative. It forced information into my brain that I never even thought of before. For example when McCloud is saying how humans are a self centered race because we see ourselves in everything like cars, and plugs. We also try to give inanimate objects human characteristics. I never realized that all these things are very true. I always look at cars and see faces. The slower cars look friendlier than fast cars even, and it is all brought together with simple shapes.
Chapter three is about closure, which means to observe the parts of something, but perceive it as a whole. It also talks about the gutter, which is the space in between panels that leads to the next image. Gutters give your mind enough time to understand what happens from panel to panel. Even if there are no gutters, your mind still imagines them to be there. Closure has many ways of being done. There are six styles to making closure: panel-to-panel, action-to-action, subject-to-subject, scene-to-scene, aspect-to-aspect, and non-sequitur. Each style differs in time and subject matter. While panel-to-panel captures each movement, non-sequitur jumps from completely different images through the panels.
This was also an informative chapter because it mentions different styles that are used to help you understand different techniques in making comics. Once again I never noticed how the mind assumes what goes on in between panels without literally being shown what is happening. It was interesting for me to see the picture of a man holding an ax over another man in one picture, the in the next picture to see just a scene with someone screaming in the background. Automatically I thought that the man being threatened with the ax was attacked, even though nothing ever mentioned that happening.


  1. You've written a good summary of the chapters here, but I'm more interested in what you think about McCloud's ideas here. Do you agree with his picture plane? Does everything on it seem properly placed? Does it really make sense, or are we just supposed to assume McCloud knows what he's talking about? Think about these kinds of in-depth questions for your next blog.

    Also, your title's kind of lame :-P

  2. I love your summary of chapter two. You took that huge idea of McCloud's icon and turned it into something simple that made sense. Personally, I think you might have explained it better than McCloud himself.

  3. Your summary of chapter two is awesome. I didn't understand what McCloud's message was at all until i read your summary. You explained things way more simpler than he did.

  4. I wish I could write and explain myself more clearly as you did in your response to Ch 2/3. You clarified the chapters very clearly, and I think everyone so far has agreed.

  5. Your summary of chapter two really clarifies the chapter in a nut shell. I really was confused about what McCloud was trying to convey until I ready the summaries posted and your blog set things into perspective for me...Thanks!