09 February 2010

Understand Comics?

Chapter nine “Putting it all Together” of Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, McCloud states “All media of communication are a by product of our sad inability to communicate directly from mind to mind.” We are unable to understand what it is like to be within another individual, we cannot endure the same detailed feelings of other human beings and they cannot understand us nor feel what we feel. Media reconstructs thoughts into configurations that can journey across the physical world and be reconverted by one or more perceptions back into thoughts. In comics the transformation follows a course from mind to hand to paper to eye to mind. Preferably the artists “message” will go through this intimidating place without being affected by it. McCloud indicates “The comics I “see” in my own mind will never be seen in their entirety by anyone else.” The knowledge of ones medium is the measure to which the artist’s thoughts and ideas make it through the journey. The power of understanding is the only obstacle that can separate artists from their audience. Today comics are one of the extremely few types of mass communication in which individual expressions still have a possibility to be heard. Ignorance is what prohibits us humans from recognizing and understanding each other with clarity; communication is the only possible way to influence our ignorance. The only way we can realize the whole span of possibilities comics provide is by empting our minds from any prejudged ideas about comics. The entire province of visual iconography is at the disposal of the comics’ creator. The language of comics proceeds to advance, as all languages must progress. Ignorance will unquestionably obscure the potentials and possibilities of comics as they always have, but the truth about comics will come out someday. The possibilities for comics are infinite. All we need is the aspiration to be hear, the want to learn and the power to see.

McCloud has given us his definition of comics; “juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer.” McCloud also talks about the significance that history and prehistoric arts have with comics. He educates his audience that icons are only images, paintings, drawings etc. that are a resemblance, representation or a symbol of it’s subject. There are non-pictorial icons, abstract icons and pictorial icons. He explains “time frames” by explaining that each panel of a comic displays a particular point in time. McCloud enlightens his audience that pictures, intervals and words all generate the impression of time; each single image, word or gap has their own single moment. McCloud also tells us that not all panels are the same, even a panel without words is still a time frame “single image, single moment.” The length of a comic is up to the artist; the creator can include more panels, compose a longer panel or vice versa. McCloud also goes into past, present and future. He expresses that it is possible to have the past and future surround us in comics unlike any other form of media. McCloud discusses “show and tell,” he initiates that children combine words and images because it is easier to comprehend a narrative when images and words that are similar get together. He tells us that traditional thoughts are that considerable art and literature are only probable if kept at distance, but McCloud attempts to prove otherwise. He declares that with writing and pictures combined, comics have been distinguished with the ability of storytelling. And now in chapter nine he explained how we think and feel individually.

Reading McCloud’s Understanding Comics has given me a lot of insight mostly on how comics are made. I never thought comics were a type of narrative. McCloud has been trying to get his readers to understand that comics are a form of art and I agree, I never knew there were so many factors in creating a comic; words and pictures work great together, time is important but can be manipulated by the artist. I have much more appreciation for comics then I did before because I now see that the artist have a desire to be heard, to share their thoughts, ideas, beliefs, theories, opinions or even stories. Everyone wants to be heard and understood. I’ve learned how difficult it is to create a comic, but I’ve also learned how difficult it is to understand a comic, we should not judge anything without giving it a chance.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very detailed post, Lu...maybe a little too detailed. Remember that Ch. 2 in They Say / I Say points out that you should only summarize the key points of a text, but you've given us a blow by blow of the chapter.

    Still, your writing here is very strong! I look forward to reading your first essay next week.