31 January 2012

Ch. 4 Time Frames

In the forth chapter of Scott McCloud’s book Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, he talks about time in comics and how it is often overlooked. McCloud begins his explanation by showing a large single panel where many characters are present and there is a lot of activity taking place in the panel. Just because it is a single panel does not mean that is also just a single moment. In fact, Scott McCloud explains that the single panel can actually be broken into several different panels. The reason for that is because the words, including the words that illustrate sounds, introduce time. McCloud then explains that photography may be the reason why many people see a single panel as also being a single moment because that is what we are conditioned to do when looking at photography.
            Scott McCloud also writes about another crucial piece of comics that is also overlooked by almost everyone, the panels. The panels in comics are very important because they show when time and space are being divided. The shape of the panels vary but with that, it will not change the “meaning” of what is in the panel, however it can affect the experience for the readers. He then explains how time and space go hand in hand in comics. McCloud writes that readers are usually able to guess the duration of a sequence but what if the author of the comic wants to extend the pause of the sequence?  The ways that the author can do so is by controlling the content of the panels, the number of panels, the closure (space) between the panels and the shape of the panels. Another important aspect of panels is the border of the panel. If an image were to continue off the page it is illustrating that the time in the panel is endless.
            Lastly, Scott McCloud writes that towards the end of the 19th century, everyone was focused on becoming the first person to successfully produce moving pictures and as that evolved Italian Futurist and artist, Marcel Duchamp, were focused on painting moving images on still mediums. However they soon moved on from the task but it was picked up and later perfected by other artist. The techniques that McCloud shows on how to create movement are using multiple images, streaking, and “subjective motion”.
            I thought everything Scott McCloud wrote in the forth chapter was very interesting and it made me realize that when reading comics, you, the reader, don’t even realize how we are processing time and all the moments in the panels. The chapter really opened my eyes to how we can read comics and process them with no problem even though the process of making them that way readers won’t have a hard time understanding them is very complex. 


  1. I have to agree with you on this one, its amazing how simple comic's may seem, they are so complex that they trap your mind into them, and sort of make you finish reading them due to the suspense you build up.

  2. Your summary is a little overly detailed.

    Also be sure to not just state what you learned in the chapter :-/