01 February 2010

Time to show and tell

The fourth chapter in McCloud’s Understanding Comics is titled Time Frames. The whole point of the chapter should be in the title but it gets a lot more complicated as McCloud expands on this subject. He talks about how a persons’ perception of time in a comic is his/her own choice but maybe the author of the comic would want you to get something else from the comic. He backs up his point by showing many examples of how an artist may want you to perceive the point in time of their comic by adjusting borders, or drawing lines that show action, etc. An artist can do this in many ways though the reader is the one who takes in the information and interpret it or to follow along in a way that the comic would make sense. McCloud’s main reason for this chapter talking about time would be to give his reader an example of how an artist might represent points of time in their comics and that they could do this is many different ways. Not only is the artist creating a comic in their own style to represent time but it also gets the reader to become involved. McCloud’s fifth chapter of Understanding Comics is titled Show and Tell. He starts with a short story of this boy presenting his toy to his classmates. The boy in this short story decides to do this by combining words with pictures as McCloud says. As expected he says when we are younger we use pictures more to communicate something to someone but as we grow older we’re expected to use words more. Even though he says that pictures came long way before words which were used in almost an iconic kind of way. As time passes though words and pictures grew to be further and further away from each other and their interaction. However comics and modern art is now starting to work alongside each other but there are about seven categories that combinations of words and pictures are classified. Word specific is when pictures illustrate but doesn’t significantly add to a largely complete text. A picture specific combination is where words do no more than add a soundtrack to a sequence that is told visually. A duo-specific panel is when both words and pictures send essentially the same message. Another kind is additive combination where words would amplify an image or have the image make the words more elaborate. With parallel combinations pictures and words follow different courses without intersecting. Yet another option is the montage when words are integrated to be a part of the picture. Then the most common of the seven is interdependent combinations where words and pictures work together perfectly to convey something that neither could do alone. These are the picture/word combinations comic artist could use. Although he means that they could both work alone (pictures and words) to tell a story. This balance of the two remains to be only the creators’ choice on how they would like to use them. McCloud then ends this chapter with this quote “Still, I do feel a certain vague longing for that time over 50 centuries ago when to tell was to show and to show was to tell.” (161)
Although this reading took a lot longer than the reading before this on, I broke it down within a couple of hours and I took more interest in it. I liked it, not only the pictures, but the simple way McCloud explained things. He seems to be doing a good job in explaining time and the use of words with pictures in both chapters but he also provides evidence to back up his point.

1 comment:

  1. I see you're sticking with the tiny font, Candace ;-)

    This is a good post, but watch your proofreading. And remember, a new subject should begin with a new paragraph.