08 June 2010

Chapter 4 and 6

In Chapter 4, McCloud's focus is on 'time frames' in comics. He begins explaining that time in comics is infinitely weirder then normal. Each panel in a comic shows a single moment in time with the space between the panels which helps create an illusion of time through closure. But a single panel can look like a single moment but in fact be the opposite. The example on page 95, there's a single frame but time isn't still in it. The metaphor that McCloud uses is a rope with each of it's links representing a few seconds and in the picture each person making a comment represents time going by. The panel itself helps represent time in its own way. A panel acts as a general indicator that time or space is being divided and the shape of a panel can actually make a difference is the readers perception of time. For example, 'Bleeds', meaning the panel runs off the page, escapes into timeless space leaving the reader in it's lasting presence or establishing a mood. Another concept that McCloud covers in the ability of motion in a panel. On page 108-109 there is a great picture that establishes the act of movement there each panel. The different positions of the man allow him to look like he is running and jumping over the hurdle, landing and running off again. The only thing lacking is a sense of how fast this particular action (him running) is. That's where Zip-lines or Motion lines come in. Zip-lines are attempts to represent the paths of moving objects through space. There are different types of motion lines, the examples given are the main character or a focus point is the focus of the panel and the background is blurred across the page, the Japanese loves this particular style. The second type is the opposite of the first, with the background in focus and the character or main focus is blurred as it moves across the page. In Chapter 6, Show and Tell, McCloud explains the earliest words, stylized pictures, were used with similar pictures to magnify its purpose. Some art, dating back to 15,000 years ago, are considered to have a pictorial representation, detailed, while others are iconic, acting as symbols, more along the lines of primitive language. As words grew to be more specialized, abstract and elaborate, pictures grew in the opposite direction: less abstract/symbolic and more representational and specific. Finally, most modern writing came to represent sound only and lost any similarities with the visionary world.


  1. I loved the section on motion lines and sound. It was so interesting! And then the reference McCloud makes back to the picture plane (a concept I am still trying to figure out!) when talking about words and pictures colliding...

  2. This post is written very well, Tamra. But where's your free response?!