28 February 2012

Indeed we have been seduced!

Dylan Horrocks not only rips McCloud in his article, Inventing Comics: Scott McCloud’s Definition of Comics, but reminds us readers that in McCloud’s book Understanding Comics we are nothing more than seduced. McCloud went on the whole book about comics, the history of comics, and basically only his own theory of comics. As we are uninformed of almost nothing remotely close as what EXACTLY comics is, of course we are going to believe McCloud and not only are we uninformed but he is persuasive in the act of helping us “understand comics.” But if McCloud isn’t introducing us to the concept of comics, who would? Someone else, with just another theory? Harrocks points out that Scott’s definition is not more accurate or more correct; it is his own theory whether we choose to believe/agree or not.
Nonetheless Harrocks is not taking anything away from McCloud, but pointing out his thoughts on Understanding Comics, which keep in mind makes this his own theory that he is informing us of also.
As stated by Harrocks, Understanding Comics is full of verbal and visual metaphors. In these metaphors Scott created his definition, and changed it several times throughout the book, then contradicts himself when he tells us single panel cartoons are not comics and then later on changes this turning it around that they now are in fact as much of a comic as any sequential art is considered to be. For example most political cartoons are single paneled, and are considered comics. But for those that aren’t single panels Harrocks asks, “how much closure do we allow between two illustrations before we decide if they contain ‘continuous narrative’?” Words and pictures balance making this sequential art a comic but what weighs out to be considered a comic, and how many pictures or words are needed in this narrative. But then the boundaries have to be considered. Harrocks tells us boundaries are naturally there but aren’t dividers, they are merely a social system with certain functions. We as people are adopted into this system and serve a role in these functions that become natural. But again boundaries are not literal, they are not borders, because borders control ideas and movement and Harrocks notes these “borders” are simply an invitation for true travelers. This is where the world of comics is broadened.
This article goes to show that while comics have become a community, many different theories by many different artists have developed on this Sequential Art, but it is the reader who chooses which theory to listen to and learn from, because getting everyone on the same track is close to impossible. Comics are indeed anything but restricted with limitless potential, as Harrocks agrees with McCloud. So it is up to us, what is comics?


  1. Erin,
    This is a good blog missy! I agree, we were seduced. It makes me mad and I feel like we all got blindsided. However, should we just forget everything McCloud taught us all because we feel betrayed? I guess that is just something we all need to decide for ourselves. Hopefully, we can discuss how we all feel in class. I would love to know how everyone feels about McCloud tricking us!

  2. Good points, Karli.

    And this isn't bad, Erin. You just need to proofread for clarity a little more closely--especially in your first paragraph.