08 June 2010

Time Tells All....

McCloud opens chapter 4 with and example of a single frame in which the unusual passage of time in comics is accurately represented. The conversation depicted in the word balloons makes it clear that the events occur over several moments, even though the reader's eyes view the panel as a snapshot of a single moment in time. McCloud explains that people have been well trained by photography and " representational art" to see any single continuous image as a single instant in time, but time in comics is actually more like a rope. Each inch of rope represents a second. McCloud then winds the rope through the image to demonstrate the analogy on page 96. In chapter 6, McCloud details the history of the written word and pictures. Young children are expected to read books with lots of pictures, but they are also expected to grow out of this habit as they mature. This process helps them become a better reader and fully grasp the meaning of letters in a sense. Traditional thinking holds that truly great works of literature and art are best appreciated when viewed separately. This helps the reader understand the written work presented to them a lot easier. In general, works that combine both words and pictures together are looked upon as simple diversions or examples of commercialism. McCloud gets upset with the idea that combining words and pictures together is somehow " base or simplistic". McCloud believes that comics would be more highly respected if people did not have this attitude toward combining the two art forms.

A brief overview:

  • Comics allow time frames to get tangled up. ( chapter 4)
  • In comics, pictures and words work together in an appropriate balance to show and tell a story. ( chapter 6)
Time frames of course are a period of time in which something occurs or is expected to occur. Time really helps give the reader the whole reading experience. By using time frames in comics I feel we are given the full experience of motion and sensation which helps the reader not lose interest. I believe time frames are an essential part in forming the comic. In chapter 6, the chapter consists of " Show and Tell". This process shows how pictures an words work together. I believe over the course of the next few thousand years, they diverged. Letters sacrificed visual representation for writing ease ( and, later, printing ease) and pictures grew richer and more complex until looking at them was more like looking at reality than at thoughts. Comics to me have always been hard to understand as being " serious" but one thing is certain, no matter how bizarre the workings of time in comics is the face it presents to the reader is one of simple normalcy. Or the illusion of it anyway. I guess it really all depends on your frame of mind.


  1. Great job!!! Well thought out and constructed! I think that I got more you rreadingthem the book. =0)

  2. Kudos! Man oh man! You're like Professor Josh! haha.. Nice work! :)

  3. Nicely done, again, Josh!

    My only complaint is that your "free response" sounds like just another summary. Add some opinion in there!