14 February 2010

More than Meets the Eyes

In Chapter 4 of Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud the importance of time frames is discussed. This chapter covers how important for comic readers to understand that each panel can be more then one moment in time. This is because even just the briefest of wording in a panel can take longer then just one moment. McCloud explains how our mind is trained to see a panel as a whole but that doesn't mean that everything we see is happening at one moment in time. There is much more going on then meets the eyes so obviously its going to take more then a single moment in time to get through everything that is happening. It takes a persons eye time to move from one panel to another, meaning that there is not much of a possibility for a panel to be a single moment in time. The panels in which hold the art in it are mainly to show that time is passing and it indicates that space and/or time is being divided. The shapes and size of the panel is similar to the one just before then we understand that only a short period of time has passed. Other things that might make us perceive the time that has passed during a panel is the size and detail, but that shouldn't make a difference.
There are major differences in the chapters of McCloud's book, like Chapter 6, called "Show and Tell". The main purpose for this chapter is to show that as we grow we should be able to start using more words and less pictures. He explains how society expects people to read books with less and less pictures as we grow older until we finally read those that have no pictures at all. Society thinks this because they have the thought stuck in their heads that pictures and words do not go together. But why is that? Everyone loves movies, that's almost the same as having pictures in a book with words, it just doesn't move. At one point in time pictures and words were the same thing and now they shouldn't be according to society. Pictures just add to the words and eventually after separating the two they will have no where else to go but to come back to each other. There are several ways in which words and pictures can be put together and McCloud explains them in detail in his comic book.
So going back to everything I read, I have to say that it makes sense. It's obvious that time is passing through the panels in a comic book otherwise everything would all be happening at once. That's just not possible. How can everything happen at once when a story is trying to be told? without closure in comics they just wouldn't make any sense. I think most people are smart enough to get the fact that when moving from one panel to the next time is passing and things are taking place. I don't think it had to be explained in so much detail in the book, but i guess if that's what it takes to get his point across then he did a good job. On the other hand I completely agree with McCloud in chapter 6. Why can't people read books with pictures after they hit a certain age. Yes, I understand that age is defined but still what's the crime in reading a book with pictures when your 35? Pictures give more room to imagine what's going on between the lines and it gives a better idea as to what characters look like instead of having to make them up in your head. Honestly reading through these past chapters is making me want to read comics, unlike before.