28 February 2012

Reverse Engineering McCloud’s Definition

Dylan Horrocks Article Inventing Comics: Scott McCloud’s Definition of Comics presents a critique of Scott McCloud’s publication Understanding Comics the Invisible Art. Harrocks’s article commences with the claim that McClouds work of Understanding Comics is polemic theory, in that there hasn’t been much discussion of the indifferent perspective because most who have read Understanding Comics have pretty much jumped on McCloud’s band wagon. Horrocks’s main aim is to really decipher McClouds perspective and definition of comics. He attempted to do this by not filtering out what McCloud actually does, just to make sense out of what he is claiming in Understanding Comics.
Harrocks first attacks the phrases that McCloud uses throughout his book, giving examples of why McCloud chose to say many so much indirectly. The article then moves along to Scott McClouds background, the reason why McCloud has taken on this task of providing a definition of comics. In his article Horrocks explains that McCloud had a strategy, in throughout the article Horrocks carefully analyzes just about aspect of that strategy beginning with the history. Horrocks points out that Mccloud chose to erase the history of comics to disassociate them with the mishaps of their past in that Mccloud does this by using a dichotomy of form versus content. Horrocks also emphasizes how Mcloud dramatizes the metaphor of form as a vessel and combines that common metaphor and the dichotomy to draw the readers’ attention towards the surface of comics. Horrocks then spends the bulk of his article dissecting Scott McClouds definition of comics. He begins with McClouds foundation, sequential art.
The details of why sequential art is useful to McCloud is further analyzed in then in turn is scrutinized because Horrocks believes that Mcloud doesn’t provide enough evidence as to why sequential art is the ground layer for his definition of comics. Horrocks then sums up McClouds definition as just a simple rewording of Eisners Sequential art, with a dictionary style layout. Horrocks also factors Scott McClouds Reinventing Comics into his article with a reference to how McCloud uses geographical metaphors to reiterate what was discussed in Understanding Comics and further his ideas. What immediately stands out in Dylan Horrocks article is the idea that McCloud filters out information in his favor. The best example that Horrocks gives is when he states why McCloud chose Eisners Definition of sequential art. Horrocks provides that McCloud simply chose this definition because he likes it, and it ties into what he already conveys with his concept of how comics should be viewed, not because it is more fact than any other definitions out there.
With this being said Horrocks paints this perfect path of where McCloud is intending to go with his belief. It details that it draws one away from the less diserable definitions that has been associated with Comics. But more importantly Horrocks attests the McClouds use of sequential art almost makes him seem omnipotent with his persuasive use of it; because it allows him to make these claims possible for him to argue that general don’t include anything verifiable. Horrocks really unveils the secret to McClouds magic when he reveals that McCloud hasn’t come up with anything new in regards to this definition, he just simply tweaked Eisners definition. But McCloud continues to work his magic because he never claimed that his idea was anything new in although his work is controversial, one could say that this was his intention all along because it brings the appeal back to comics.

1 comment:

  1. Late!

    You've got some good points here, Montel. But you're not really responding, and you could do with a proofread.