31 January 2012

Keep Your Mind In The Gutter!!!

The beginning of chapter 3 in the book Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud introduces a topic that is known as closure. He introduces closure by explaining what every child has experienced and it has happened to him when he was a child. As a child you tend to daydream (I still do it every once in a while). As most children tend to think, a daydream was just a show for us, we didn't know that while we are a child that this was something we did to entertain us. We didn’t know that what we were doing was nothing more than a simple theory. Scott McCloud also explains that we use all of our senses, while reading comics. As children we followed the simple rules, if we can't see it, touch it, smell it, or taste it. It doesn't exist in our minds, but the game of Peek-A-Boo is a great example of how this is put to the test. We learned that no matter what our Mom and Dad did they didn’t go anywhere, because they would reveal themselves a couple seconds later. This is called closure, and what this means is, in our everyday lives we complete things, based on our past experiences. One of the most difficult mediums that require closure is T.V. This is mainly because scenes on a movie can change in an instant, without us knowing. This is a result of time and motion. The gutter is the space that is in between the panels, and to me this is what makes comics worth reading. The gutter is what makes use our senses, it creates suspense. While having the ability to draw and to create a storyline, which is a craft in itself, there are other types  of crafts that they use. One of the many crafts of being a comic book requires you to know these; moment-to-moment,action-to-action, subject-to-subject, scene-to-scene, aspect-to-aspect, and non-sequitur.  Moment-to-moment requires very little closure between panels. Action-to-Action panels are those that have a single unified subject. Subject-to-Subject closures have the ability to change the scene, but it remains on the subject. Scene-to-Scene is transitions that challenge our minds to cross distances of time and space to remain on the subject, and to picture the story and its settings. Aspect-to-Aspect closures are more likely to bypass time majority of the time, and forces us to wonder around. While Non-Sequitur panels offer no possible link to the possible subject. As McCloud states " Comics is a mono-sensory medium it relies on only one of the senses to convey a world of experience."
From what I can understand, "gutters" are one of the main points of a comic, they make us use all of our senses to figure out what is going on in the comic. Not only is this making me more interested in the book, it has the potential to make pick up a comic book (unlikely as of right now) and actually pay attention to what the meaning behind each panel is. So for now I'm going to stick with keeping my mind in the gutters and using my senses to react the comic storyline.


  1. I like this one...title is what made me read it haha.

  2. See! What did I say about good titles?! It works :-)

    Regardless, this is a good post.

  3. I like your blog because it's very informative but I disagree with your point as to us using our senses in the gutters. I find that the gutters are more for our imaginations rather than our senses because it is our imagination that helps use piece pictures together as stated by McCloud in Chapter 3 page 66.