The introduction to Understanding Comics written by Scott McCloud, briefly describes what will be included in the book. Things such as, the basic elements, how the mind processes the language of comics, closure, how time goes through comics, and comprehensive theory of the creative process.
The first chapter starts with the fact that McCloud once thought he was too old for comics until, he was in the eighth grade and his friend lent McCloud his collection. McCloud believed that people didn’t understand comics because they had a narrow definition of what exactly a comic was. Maybe if there was a proper definition people wouldn’t take comics so lightly, McCloud thought. Finally, after serious trial and error, McCloud final comes up with the perfect definition for a comic. Comics are juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer.
Comics have always been around for thousands of years, we just don’t connect brightly colored paintings to comics. McCloud stated how comics have had a major role in history and the ancient cultures existing during those times. The paintings on the walls that can be defined as comics told the stories of different cultures. Egyptian hieroglyphics, when shown as a whole, fit the comic definition McCloud came up with.
In the second chapter, McCloud explains how to understand comics and the idea that images aren’t always images. Comics are made up of icons and not actual images. A reader responds to cartoons that aren’t realistic and highly detailed. Our minds take two dots and a line and make a face in our head. The fact is when we look at icons, our minds automatically put two and two together creating the image in our head and understanding what it is. The human mind sees everything as having human features. After reading the introduction and the first two chapters, I have a better understanding what a comic is defined as. Now, when I read history books and see pictures of wall paintings, I will want to automatically connect those wall paintings to comics. McCloud made me change my mind that comics are just simple drawings that are straightforward. When in fact, comics can be interpreted even further than what is on the page in front of us.