24 June 2010

Understanding Sequential Art

Chapter one begins with a young Scott McCloud realizing that comic books are usually "crude, poorly-drawn, semi literate, cheap, disposable, kiddie fare," but understands that they don't have to be. People fail to understand comics because they define them as having set boundaries and rules to what they have to be. "A proper definition, if we could find one, might give lie to the stereotypes--And show that the potential for comics is limitless and exciting!" After examining a few extended versions of Will Eisner's definition of comics, which is "Sequential art" he comes out with his own thought provoked definition "juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or produce an aesthetic response to the viewer. Seeing as how people might get bored reading this novel of a definition, McCloud decided to stick with Eisner's solid definition.
To begin chapter two McCloud introduces us to the painting "The Treachery of Images" by Magritte. The subject matter of the painting is obviously a common tobacco pipe, although the text on the painting reads "This is not a pipe." But as McCloud explains this is really not a pipe, it's not a photo of a pipe, nor is it the drawing of one. It is actually ten printed copied of a drawing of a painting of a pipe, when it's considered that every panel represents one single copy of the painting. This is an example to the use of icons in comics. Icons represent any image used to represent a person, place, thing, or idea (any noun to make it easier). If comics are the language, "words, pictures, and other things are the vocabulary." There are a lot more to comics than meets the eye!
I was particularly drawn to how he explains how our mind perceives icons, they represent nothing to people who are out of the common culture it is used in. For example, when I was in London the currency there is pounds, and it has its own icon to represent it. Here in the United States we use the Dollar which is totally different. The two represent the same thing, currency, but it's used differently in icon ism based on the geographic and cultural difference. No culture's Icons are exactly alike, there may be many similarities but there is always gonna be one icon that is different in every culture.

1 comment:

  1. Ruben! Glad to see you're back in he game! And a great post!