01 February 2011

How We Understand Panels and Time....

Chapter 3 of Understanding Comics starts off with a young boy trying to determine the meaning of his daydream that he believed was about the world being a figment of his imagination put on for his benefit. Then McCloud goes on to introduce the term closure which takes us from moment to moment of a comic and how we are able to make different panels become one scene. McCloud he gives us an in-depth look at what the “gutter” is between panels. The gutter is basically the change in scene from one panel to the next. Its our mind working from one panel taking in the scene and developing it to the next scene. McCloud then goes on to elaborate on the six different types of transitions that panels can have: Moment-to-moment, action-to-action, subject-to-subject, scene-to-scene, aspect-to-aspect, and lastly non-sequential.

Chapter 4 of Understanding Comics is explaining how important time and space are between panels of comic books. The size of panels also plays an important role in how we view the amount of time in the scene. Larger panels may allow us to assume a longer amount of time the same goes for smaller panels and a shorter amount of time. Also a single panel in a comic does not only represent a moment but it can also be an entire scene. The size of the space between panels can increase the pause we get out of each scene or moment.

In my opinion McCloud did a very good job at explaining and helping me “understand” both closure and time frames in both these chapters. I really like how this entire book is in comic book style. I am able to grasp the simplicity of reading a comic in an educational manner and i really think thats great. McCloud makes things much easier to understand while giving us examples of everything he’s trying to teach. This book so far actually has me interested! However I really want to color this book.


  1. As much as it isn't funny, I have to agree with it you about liking the book as a comic and not a text book. To me, like everyone else, comic books were about cartoons and super heroes. And even know this one isn't action packed or funny it still is a lot better than reading plain text

  2. Excellent post, heli!

    But if you ever forget to capitalize "I" again, I'll fail you for the semester ;-)