28 February 2012

Is Scott McCloud and Idea Thief?

Taking note of Scott McCloud's initial purpose for creating “Understanding Comics” and “Reinventing Comics”, I ventured into Horrock’ analysis of Scott McCloud to work. Initially reading Mr. V’s heading for the proposed link, I thought this fellow comic author Dylan Horrock would be a lot more critical about Scott McCloud's work. Realistically, he only has a few problems or slight edits that could have been incorporated into Scott's work.

Horrock starts his analysis by earnestly and graciously applauding Scott McCloud for creating a informational graphic novel which “arguably (is) the most important book of comics theory published in English so far”.

Horrock then beautifully transitions in his argument into this introduction by stating the fact that convincing an audience who is already infatuated with comic book culture would prove to be too easy. Dylan Horrock then scrutinizes Scott McCloud very subtly when analyzing Scott McCloud's opinion on what comics aren't. In Horrock’ opinion, most comic books are crude, poorly drawn, cheap, and disposable kiddie fare. This opinion doesn't really matter because it is just a precursor to Horrock’s main problem with Scott McCloud's definition. Horrock is pleased with Scott McCloud's metaphorical depiction of the separation of form and content, but Dylan Horrock still is not happy about Scott McCloud's general definition in his first book.

Horrock makes an interesting observation in which he explains how McCloud has taken an old idea and refurbished it along with the dictionary definition to create something new, but is this new? It's not necessary stealing, but Horrock believes that it might be a biased adaption of Will Eisner's original sequential art definition. Is this stealing or elaborating on a previous idea. Speaking solely with a personal conviction, I believe it is an accessible and fun adaption of an old thought, kinda like how the guys from Flight of the Concords created a more humorous but slightly echoing image of Daft Punk's original robot disguise.

This definition also technically includes children's books and picture books as comics, though this might not have been Scott McCloud's initial intention. The only real reason Horrock has a questionable you about Scott McCloud's presentation of comic books is that he asserts the idea that his definition is what comic books are, as opposed to what they should be. The same thing goes for his analysis of “Reinventing Comics”. Scott McCloud proposes the possible forefront of comics in his second book books and what they could be, but he does so in such a persuasive manner that it seems it is what comic books future fate will be has a definite.

The rest of Horrock’s analysis actually isn't that critical. He acknowledges Scott McCloud for “reclaiming” and suggesting that sequential art has been present since the dawn of time. The thing that really interests Horrock and puts a grimace on my face is Scott McCloud's humble nature in which he never concerns himself as completely correct, and how he suggests that sequential art is an almost unlimited medium with arguable but present borders. This leaves the reader with the choice to explore the potential of comics and encourages current comic book artists to pursue it genre of their own, even if it doesn't bring revenue, though Scott McCloud discusses the potential success for a revolution in resurgence of comic books. All in all, Horrock did a very good job of meticulously taking apart Scott McCloud's life work and suggesting that none of it could be definite, because all of it is debatable.

1 comment:

  1. Some interesting thoughts here, Rob. Just proofread a little more carefully.