31 January 2012

Closure of the Gutter

In Chapter 3, Blood in the Gutter, of Understanding Comics the Invisible Art McCloud explains closure, its importance in the gutter, and the expectations of comic writers. Closure is the capability of seeing something minuscule or incomplete and still able to perceive the complete picture as a whole. What writers refer to as “the gutter” is the space between the panels of comics and is left open for the reader to distinguish what events takes place during that time. He gives an example saying that he may have drawn a picture of someone raising an axe at another person, but it is up to the reader to visualize the scene in action. He then goes on talking about the six different panel-to-panel transitions which are moment-to-moment, action-to-action, subject-to-subject, scene-to-scene, aspect-to-aspect, and non-sequitur. Most comics from the west derive from three main transitions: action-to-action, subject-to-subject, and scene-to-scene. Unlike the west, the east makes comics using almost all types of transitions. When he tells a story about a person who drinks, drives, and then becomes deceased he retells the story a total of three times and each time he shortens it. By doing this he shows how the art of comics is as subtractive an art as it is additive and how finding the balance between too many panels and not enough is crucial.

I never thought even small parts of comics can be so complex. When he talks about the gutter he goes in depth and takes apart each aspect of it, explaining it thoroughly.  I had always thought of comics as very simple books until I read this book. 


  1. I know what you mean when you say that you didnt know that the smallest part of comics can be so complex. I always thought that comics were just a book full of drawings that someone drew in their freetime. I never realized how much time and effort is put into making a comic. This chapter along with the other chapters that I have read changed my point of view greatly.

  2. Great summary! You clearly explained all the main points of the chapter, which gave you credibility. Nice work.

  3. I really like how your summary was done, it seems that once everyone is done with their summary of his chapter we all come to the same conclusion that we never would have guessed that comics could be so complex. I love how you have a thuro summary that really breaks down what was in the chapter. Very well done.

    1. I actually don't like how you all seem to come to the same conclusion...because most of you aren't concluding anything :-P Remember what I mentioned in class this week about applying what you read.