31 January 2011

Chapter 3&4 Summary

The comic "Understanding Comics" by Scott McCloud is an informative comic which has replaced textbooks in some English classes throughout America. The comic "Understanding Comics" is a very informative book that educates without the reader even realizing it. The now known "textbook" is full of sequential pictures with informative word bubbles. At first glance the comic does not seem very educating because of all the pictures but the combination of the sequential pictures and the words is very clarifying for the reader. The comic is also more enjoyable to read rather than the traditional textbook because it seems as though you're reading at a faster pace.

The third chapter of "Understanding Comics" is called "Blood in the Gutter". This chapter explains what closure is and why it is important in comic books. McCloud explains closure to be a "phenomenon of observing the parts but perceiving the whole". This meaning that we only see a part of a picture but our common sense helps us to perceive the whole picture. He explains closure to be simple and complex because of the different types of showing the pictures. The pictures in the panel can be ranging form moment to moment to "non-squinter".

The fourth chapter of "Understanding Comics" is called "Time Frames". This chapter explains the importance of time and space in comic books. Each panel in a comic book is arranged so the reader can follow along and understand the concept being told. The space between the panels is called a gutter which helps the reader see time. The shape of a panel can also help the reader see time. For example, if the panel is long that can mean the duration of time from one panel to another is long. Also, the pictures in the comic can show time as well. For example, if the picture has "zip-ribbons" in it, this is showing movement in time. The "zip-ribbons" demonstrate that the action are being made is fast.

I think that Scott McCloud did an excellent job of explaining closure and time frames in chapter three and four. I believe that he would have not been able to explain the two topics without using a comic book. The comic book format definitely helped Scott McCloud achieve his purpose of informing his audience about the topics. He was able to illustrate his words though using word bubbles and pictures in the panels and examples which think was very effective.


  1. This post was a good summary. But i think that it could go more into depth on all that was covered in these two chapters. McCloud gives a lot of information in the chapters. But the main concepts are established in this summary. I agree that McCloud does a great job of explaining. He really uses his images to get major points across to his reader. The intro of this summary goes over McClouds main goal of his book understanding comics. This is good for a reader that may not know about the book. All the topics of the chapters are introduced very well. Good job!

  2. Great comments, Margaret! But "I" is capitalized ;-)

    Breanna, your post is great, but I think you misunderstood my remarks about using the book as a "textbook." Understanding Comics is not an actual textbook or used as such in English classes. We're just using it as our class text.

    Still, good summaries!