30 January 2012

Not Just Blank Spaces

Paulina Medina 
Chapter 3 
January 29, 2012
 Not Just Blank Spaces
How big can ones imagination be, in order to see whats not really there? In a world dominated by our senses, Scott McCloud breaks apart “reality” and puts together the fragments that allow us to perceive a comic with much more detail. Chapter 3 of Understanding Comics-The Invisible Art, describes how the panels, word bubbles and pictures in comics combine with such a complexity that even the blank spaces have a meaning. The automatic process in which we observe a part of something but perceive the whole, is known as closure in this chapter. For comics, closure allows for the reader to make a connection between two panels. The imagination of the reader is crucial for a comic to be enjoyed plentifully. With closure not only is the reader following along the story but he or she is also creating a big picture of the comic. According to McCloud, the reader of the comic becomes “The equal partner in crime,” and has a powerful role once participating in the limbo of the blank space known as “The gutter.” The 6 categories in which the different panel transitions fall into are: moment-to-moment, action-to-action, subject-to-subject, scene-to-scene, aspect-to-aspect and non sequitur. Although a comic typically does not include all categories, each author is free to use any of these combinations to “unravel the invisible art of comics storytelling.” Scott McCloud describes the importance of finding the balance between too much and too little in each panel. Not only does the storyline have its complexities, also finding the perfect amount of text and picture to support it plays a crucial part in comics. 
It is very interesting to see how comics involve so many concepts that have truly been ignored, at least by me. Scott McCloud really gets into detail in this chapter and caught my attention supporting the title, The Invisible Art. As readers we are always able to make judgements on weather something is good to read or not. However, to see what a crucial part the readers has in comics and the techniques used by authors is very impressive. It is almost fair to say that if we are not able to understand a comic, then something is wrong with our imagination. McCloud in chapter 3, is great at giving the hidden facts behind a comic and allowing me to look at every detail in order to appreciate them more. 


  1. I agree, McCloud does get a hold of the reader's attention. He explains and analyzes in depth the meaning and importance of the so called "gutter" in comics. His style almost enticed me to read ahead.

    1. "So called 'gutter'"? What's that mean?

  2. I could not agree with you more! Well put, and as for your thesis, brilliant! I'm very impressed.

  3. "It is almost fair to say that if we are not able to understand a comic, then something is wrong with our imagination." Or that the creator hasn't used closure well.

    Not a bad post. But what's with the tiny font? My eyes are bleeding ;-)