09 February 2012

Welcome to Show and Tell - Ch. 6

In the beginning there were pictures, and it was good. So good in fact, it existed thousands and thousands of years before written words were even considered a good idea. As McCloud explains in chapter 6, pictures as a way to communicate were around before written words, but as time went on, humans created symbols which represented sounds, and before you knew it, we had the printing press and written word was up and running. But pictures, as McCloud argues, developed in the opposite direction of its counter part: words. Pictures took a wild journey from impressionism to cubism, to abstract expressionism to constructivism and back again. While words and pictures were on two different ends of a spectrum, McCloud states that they were both headed straight at each other in an attempt to find meaning. As the two met, never was the combination accepted as "high art", and McCloud argues that comics are not taken in because it is perceived as a new media that is judged by old standards. And even though the combining of words and pictures is not in McCloud's definition, he states that the presence of words does increase the acceptance of comics. McCloud expounds on the many different ways words can be incorporated into comics. There is word specific, picture specific, and duo-specific. There is also additive, which elaborates on the picture, and parallel, and montage. However the most popular type is inter-dependent, where the words and pictures balance each other.

McCloud starts the beinging of the chapter with a little boy at show and tell,  and he does so to demonstrate how comics are in way, show and tell. Comics are very much the same thing (McCloud is clever). The item you bring is the show part. The comic book brings you the pictures. The pictures are nice, but the words, they help you to understand why the pictures are there in the first place. Granted, both words and pictures are worth their OWN weight in gold, but together, as McCloud puts it, it is Alchemy. I liked that comparison, it articulates just how precise comics are once they reach their finished state (the good ones at least.)

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