23 February 2011

Is McCloud's Definition Still Great?

Dylan Horrocks wrote a response to Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art called Inventing Comics: Scott McCloud's Definition of Comics. He believes Understanding Comics is the most important book of comic theory. He states that McCloud's definition of comics is saying this is what comics should be and should not be. In his response to Scott McCloud's book he takes a look at McCloud's definition.

He goes over chapter one by summarizing and paraphrasing selected panels in the chapter. He paraphrases that in page 3, panels 7-9 Scott McCloud come up with a solution to change people's perceptions of what they think comics really are. Dylan Horrocks explains that McCloud's metaphor of himself spitting out the comic drink because he does not acquire the taste for that specific comic; McCloud is implying that if a person does not like most comics they still can admire the form (genre, style, publishing and history) of comics.

Dylan Horrocks then begins to go over Scott McCloud's definition. He says sequential art is where Scott's search for a definition begins and ends. He believes that part of McCloud's definition "sequential art" is the "hidden power" because it makes the readers think of closure. According to Dylan Horrocks, McCloud does not try to prove that his definition is right but that McCloud is showing what he admires and appreciates most about comics. He shows that McCloud expands on his idea of sequential art and turns it in to a standard dictionary definition. He states that McCloud's definition is great because it includes so many things but it also has its limitations stating that comics are not single panel cartoons.

Although Dylan Herrocks believes Scott McCloud's definition is great, he also states that Scott McCloud is unable to define it all. When McCloud was asked if his definition included children literature his answer was "not if the prose is independent of the pictures..". Herrocks find his answer reviling because you would think that from Scott McCloud's definition, children's books would be considered comics too. He believes McCloud would be willing to include picture books because he included photo booth pictures and stained glass windows as sequential art. But why not children's books?

I agree with Dylan Herrocks that McCloud struggles to qualify his definition. I think McCloud should fully include children books or fully exclude children's books. After reading his response I wondered if McCloud's definition was as great to me as it originally was. I came to the conclusion that his definition is now "OK". Even though he did not specify everything his definition is broad yet it still excludes things such as a children's book.

1 comment:

  1. Breanna, be careful about simply summarizing what one author summarizes about another, especially if your audience (in this case, our class) already knows what that original author wrote.

    Also, be sure to proofread more carefully in the future.