31 August 2009

The "C" and "F" of Comics

While reading Scott McCloud's book Understanding Comics I went over chapters 3 Blood in the Gutters and 4 Time Frames. In "Blood in the Gutter" his main argument is talking about closure. He says there are six different categories in which panels fall into. The first one is Moment-To-Moment which requires very little closures and has very many differences between. The next one is Action-To-Action which is progressions of the panels. The third one is the Subject-To-Subject which is where it stays within a scene or idea. The fourth one Scene-To-Scene in which these panels transport us across significant distances of time and space. The fifth one was Aspect-To-Aspect which it bypasses time for the most part and sets a wandering eye on different aspects of a place idea of mood. Finally the last one is Non-Sequitur which offers no logical relationship. He goes on by saying how comic book use these categories and how they try to balance them out thorough out their comics when they write them.

So while reading chapter 4 "Time Frames" he speaks about how you can extend time in a panel by just adding a pause in a panel. Also instead of adding duplicate panels to make the pause longer it shows how it makes the panel bigger thus extending the pause. He mainly speaks of the time and space of the panel and also how frames come in various sizes. The sizes can be used in a numerous amount of ways. One example is the Bleeds method he shows by making the panel reach the edge of the page and make it into timeless space. McCloud also speaks of how they capture motion in comics as movies were using. The example I love is the car if you take a picture of it going at 60 mph it is a blur, but when you are going side by side with it at the same speed you keep the car in focus and have the background in a blur kinda image.

These two chapters were hard for me to read. I think chapter 4 wasn't so bad compared to chapter 3. I had such a hard time understanding what he was talking about half the time jumping from his categories to Japanese comics. I had to read these pages over a few times to truly understand what he was trying to say about closure. How it works and what it means. To me it means what we see happening between the panels even though they are not showing anything between them. The panels basically are more than what you see on them it is also what you imagination can bring up while you are looking from one panel to the other. You need to be able to use this imagination to be able to see what is going on deeper in the comic you are reading at the moment. So yes I had a hard time reading chapter 3 but by reading it a few times I was able to understand what McCloud was trying to get across in the most basic sense.

1 comment:

  1. Quick question, John--what is closure? A summary of such an important concept should include a definition ;-)

    I'm glad you're learned that rereading leads to higher understanding. Believe it or not, most people will never be able to read something complex like this and completely understand it. I've read this book dozens of times of the years, and I still stumble upon ideas I only thought I understand before! Rereading them, I discover the true meaning I'd been missing. I know it takes more time, but I hope you don't ever stop rereading for understanding.