10 June 2009

The Path Bringing It All Together

Scott McCloud explains in chapter seven of Understanding Comics that comics are art (yet again). He continues to write about how all art has various characteristics/properties in common. He believes that comics are art mostly because of his definition of the word art: "any human activity which doesn't grow out of either of our species' two basic instincts: survival and reproduction!" McCloud then gives an example of (what I'm assuming to be)a day in the life of early man. The male begins by chasing a female around in chances of mating, then is forced to run for his life in a means of survival while being chased by a large animal. Scott McCloud refers to all of the time in between survival and reproduction as art. He then states that "any work in any medium will always follow a certain path." The six steps of this "path" are: purpose/idea, form, idiom, structure, craft, and surface. McCloud then continues to explain how artists use the six cycle path and uses an apple as an example in the process.

Chapter seven, in my opinion, is a tad bit confusing. There's many things that McCloud pieces together and it's hard at first to understand how he is doing so. His example of the apple kind of left me scratching my head. I couldn't understand if he was trying to say that the shiny apple was actually bad all together, because he refers to the inside as "hollow" or, if it was okay except that it was lacking some necessities?? I'm sure it's a great example, I just can't really understand it. One thing that did clarify some things for me is the part where he explained that the six steps are like a dinosaur's skeleton in that "they can be discovered in any order, but when brought together, they will always fall into place." So maybe that shiny apple was missing some steps??

In chapter nine, McCloud basically summarizes everything from the whole book, Understanding Comics. He begins the chapter by asking two questions, "Why is this medium we call comics so important?" and, "Why should we try so hard to understand comics?" He believes the answer to this "lies deep within the human condition" and explains how "all problems in human history stem from the inability to communicate." To him, comics as a medium "serves as a bridge between minds, " and that's what allows all of us to better communicate. Comics is a form of mass communication, enabling opinions and "individual voices" to "have a chance to be heard." In the end, McCloud writes about all the things comics has to offer.

This last chapter was easy to comprehend. I thought it was a good summary of all the things McCloud previously talked about throughout the book. He made a lot more sense when piecing ideas together than in previous chapters, but then again that's just it, I've already read his ideas in previous chapters, so that's more than likely why things were easier to understand now.

1 comment:

  1. You're understanding McCloud's concepts better than you think, Crystal. Your dead on with his shiny-but-hollow apple metaphor. Think about when you buy an amazing looking apple. You get it home, start to wash it, and peel off that little "Washington Apples" sticker only to discover *gasp* that some stock boy placed that sticker directly over a huge, ugly, brown gash! Sorta ruins the whole thing, doesn't it?

    You have some great things to say here. Don't be afraid to speak up in class more.