28 January 2012

sean sanchez ch.3 understanding comics

Sean Sanchez

Chapter 3 Summary/ opinion

English composition 2

     In Chapter 3 of Understanding Comic, Scott mcloud explains how we rely on senses to understand the world as a whole. He says “our perception of reality is an act of faith based on mere fragments”.  Scott McCloud calls this idea of observing the parts but perceiving the whole as closure.

   He uses the examples of movies and television watchers how they can turn still images into a moving sequence of events. He relates this to comics because of the gap between panels called the gutters.  Closure helps you to understand the story unfolding in the comic.

   Scott then talks about transitions.  He explains the five types are moment to moment, action to action, subject to subject, scene to scene, aspect to aspect and non-sequitur. He compares other comics to see what transitions are most used.  He finds that action to action transition is the most used followed by subject to subject and scene to scene in famous American comics.

   In Japanese comic though it is different subject to subject is nearly the same amount of action. Also aspect to aspect transitions appear more often than seen in the west.  He explains that this difference could be the length of Japanese comics compared to American comic but he thinks this is not the only factor. He states that the western world is a “goal oriented country and that in the east there is a rich tradition of cyclical and labyrinthine works of art.

   Scott begins to explain how to find a balance between too much and too little for a reader to understand the closure of the story and comic.  He talks a little about how to arrange theses panel also. In conclusion Scott asks you to have faith and a world of imagination.

   I think Scott McCloud explained closure very well and detailed. Most comic books readers do not realize they do this process every time they read a comic. An author must understand closure so he can make a successful connection with his reader.

Chapter 3 Closure

In chapter 3 of Understanding Comics, the Invisible Art, the author Scott McCloud introduces the concept of closure and its importance in comics. Closure is when your mind puts together the individual parts to create the whole picture. This is the most vital element of comics, it is how the reader perceives a story from a sequence of still pictures. There are six types of closure, moment-to-moment, action-to-action, subject-to-subject, scene-to-scene, aspect-to-aspect, and non-sequitur. The most commonly used styes are two-four, especially in the western world. However, in the east, mostly Japan, the aspect-to-aspect style and moment-to-moment are used almost equally with styles two-four. Style six is very rarely used in any comics around the world. Closure can be used both inside the panels, and in-between them. Closure in-between the panels allows the reader to imagine using all of their senses what happens from one panel to the next. This is the art and magic of comics, it puts the story into the readers imagination, creating endless possibilities to a single story.

This chapter was very interesting to me. I have never noticed how much my mind fills in when I see a sequence of images. I think this helps prove his point that there is a comic for everyone because everyone perceives the same comic a little differently according to their own taste. I liked how he explained the differences between western comics and Japanese comics because it shows that there really are tons of different ways that you can draw comics.

26 January 2012

Chapter 3

In, Understanding Comics The Invisible Art, the author Scott McCloud tells us about transitions and closure. Chapter 3 is all about transitions and how the creator of the comic uses them strategically to give the reader closure. Their are 6 main transitions they are moment to moment, action to action, subject to subject, scene to scene,aspect to aspect, and non-sequitur. In most comics the creator uses action to action,subject to subject, and scene to scene. in Japanese comics they use 1-5, mostly using scene to scene. The panel transitions are all used for closure. Creators of comics have to make sure they get the right balance of transitions so the reader can have closure. If the creator has to many then the reader may not get any closure at all. The icon and non iconic drawings could also have an affect on the closure of a comic.

This chapter was really interesting. It helped me to understand why creators of comics do things the way they do them. I never really thought there was a reason for the transitions other then i thought the creator just wanted to add a little extra art into the comic. Its pretty cool how your mind can make a conclusion based off of on transition like an eye closing, you see and open eye and a closed eye but your mind adds in the extra steps giving you the closure he was talking about.

Push Those Boundaries!!!

According to Kunzles definition, a comic has to have a sequence of images, more image instead of text, be mass produced, and have a moral whether it be good or bad.  Scott McClouds definition states that a comic has to be pieces of art deliberately put in sequence, or side by side, in relation to space.  Since this is only one frame, not several in sequence, then according to both definitions this is not a comic.  It also violates Kunzles definition by having too much text and not enough picture.  I am starting to wonder why a comic has to have more than one image to be classified as a comic. I understand that this part of the definition helps to slim the world of comics down, because if it wasn't there we would have to include almost every piece of art since the beginning of time.  I think that this part of both definitions makes sense, but now I,m on the fence.  Why can't these single images be comics too?  We just need to keep pushing those boundaries.  Just a little push will take me over that fence to the side where comics can be a single image if they want to be.

                         Not a Comic, but I kinda want it to be!!!


Simulated Experiences

In chapter two of Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, McCloud delves into the world of icons and our ability as readers to perceive even the simplest ones. He begins with the very famous "Treachery of Images" by Magritte Called that everyone who has taken intro to art or philosophy 101 knows the confusing circle of the painting's message.  Like the painting, McCloud begins by explaining that what is on the page is not the actual object that we see. He uses the example of the classic two circles and two lines “face” that every person can recognize as a face immediately, he suggests that this is possible because humans are such a self-centered creature that sees itself in everything.  He then proposes that this is why the majority of cartoons are drawn so simplistically, so we can see ourselves in the character’s place. This is very important to stories because an audience’s involvement is produced by how much they can identify with the characters. McCloud explains that comics are a media that can mix 3 factors that make up the “pictorial vocabulary,” these things are language, reality, and the picture plane. Comic book artists can mix these things however they like to tell their stories in a matter they see fit, whether it is by simple drawings with complex dialogue or extremely intricate art with minimal vocabulary. He concludes that it’s up to the author to create the stories and images but it’s up to us as readers to give the characters life.

The entire concept of what we perceive as objects or reality all goes back to the Allegory of the Cave and Plato’s Theory of Forms.

Ghost in the Shell is full of philosophical questions of being and possessing life.  

25 January 2012

The Vocabulary of Comics

As everyone knows comics are best known for their creative art and engaging text writing but as many don’t know, there is more to it than meets the eye. Scott McCloud wrote a brief chapter about the significance of vocabulary in comics. McCloud tries to explain that in his perspective, vocabulary of comics is an “icon” that represents a person, place, thing or idea. He gives a small example by using a picture of a pipe but says it’s not a pipe, more like a painting of a pipe but it’s not a painting, rather, it’s a drawing of a painting of a pipe but it really is a printed copy of a drawing of a painting of a pipe. (I know it’s a confusing concept to grasp). He notes that any picture in the world of comics is not quite what it may seem but rather it is an iconic category and its concept is to express idea and philosophies. There may be pictures more iconic than others but there are also some that are non-pictorial icons and also others that are more abstract than some. As McCloud finds ways to abstract and simplify images, he comes to the counter point in many comic arts, “cartoon”. When abstracting an image through cartooning, it’s not so much eliminating details as focusing on specific details but stripping down an image, the artist can amplify its meaning in a way that realistic art can’t. If you may draw an art picture in detail, would the audience observing or reading the text ever pay attention to it? Well, probably not because more people would respond more to a cartoon figure. It’s just the way people were brought up in the 20th century today and that’s one of the issues in vocabulary sense that McCloud tries to explain.
                McCloud expresses non-visual self-awareness, when saying people whom experience things in life can have two separate realms, meaning the realm of concept and senses. Non-visual self-awareness can be the identities and awareness by using inanimate objects, and people use this concept in everyday life. In any case of vocabulary, Icons is a big participation in a work of art and the same goes for comics. McCloud makes some really good views about the Iconic role of comics and when he explains some strong values about art and the concept of each type of genre art, like cartoons, pictures or paintings, he gives his input of how valuable it is towards comics. Some of his work and research may strike me as unusual but he puts his observations in proper perspectives that could or may relate to the world of comics and in everyday life. Comics do have a wide range of definitions and just by my own observation of his information on sequence imaging, ”icon” is another good perspective I see as understanding comic; as it will help me understand the unraveling mystery of comics. 

ICONS- The new vocabulary of Comic Books

In Chapter two of Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud starts off by analyzing a painting but according to him it is a printed copy of a drawing of a painting of a pipe. Doesn’t that sound bizarre? Well, McCloud then introduces the word ICON that he’ll be using to signify a person, place, thing or idea. He begins analyzing the difference between images and vocabulary, which is what this chapter is about. McCloud makes a point about how drawing and cartoons are so expressive even if they seem very abstract to our eyes. McCloud tries to get every point across by making it relatable to us and how we think.

McCloud talks about media’s and animations in America, Japan, Europe and the fact that in spite of them being extremely cartoonish we as readers find a few lines and dots reasonable. For example: a circle with two dots and one line represents a face regardless of the abstractness in them. He switches on to vocabulary and pictures. The two are related but yet very different as pictures are “received information” whereas reading is “perceived information”. If pictures are more abstracted from reality, they require greater levels of perception, which is equivalent to lower levels of perception when words are bolder and more direct. I don’t seem to disagree with McCloud at all as this is a wonderful way to relate each one to another. The Picture Plane table, reality and language are the three vertices he uses to represent the total pictorial vocabulary of comics or any visual art. He points out various characters based on their drawing styles, indicating a mix of characters and their environments. Towards the end he analyzes other comic book artists from the mid sixties, eighties and nineties. Based off from the earlier comic books he predicts that the twenty-first century will use more visual forms/iconography for universal communication. McCloud ends the chapter by stating McLuhan’s opinions of the only two medias he finds coolest are televisions and comics.

A picture is the most important factor of a comic. The main highlight of a comic has to be the pictures. And, Scott McCloud in chapter two is emphasizing on ICONS and how they communicate with the reader even if he/she isn’t literate. It is true that we need text in comics but McCloud has made pictures so appealing that it is almost like the vocabulary of a comic. In my opinion McCloud shone a totally new light for drawings in a comic book, expressing not just mere feelings but having the ability to explain beyond them. McCloud simplifies every point he makes by backing them up with examples and bizarre drawings.

In Your Face

Scott McCloud uncovers some very deep points behind the comic in chapter two of his book Understanding Comics.  He shows us how comics use the world of icons to pull us into the story.  Icons can really be anything, anyplace, anyone, or any idea.  With such a broad spectrum of icons to choose from, the world of comics is limitless, infinite so to speak.  Making this world of comics even more complex, we see that even the icons themselves can change, altering how the reader perceives them.  Showing us one of the most used icons in comics, the cartoon face, Scott McCloud informs us how abstraction plays a vital role in how the human mind processes the image.  A cartoon smiley face, contrary to a detailed picture of a face, allows the onlooker to imagine oneself as the character; but the extremely detailed background takes our mind into a realm of wonder.  The ability to impose our identity upon a simple object like a smiley face goes deeper than one would think.  This ability bridges the gap between the conceptual and sensual world.  Scott McCloud goes on to formulate a table of some past comic artists including Mary Fleener, Jack Kirby, and Stan Lee just to name a few.  This table shows us how abstract comics can get, ranging from the simplest of shapes to the most detailed pictures.  This triangle- shaped graph has three different points representing ideas, nature, and art.  The placement of the artist’s comic shows us where his strongest views are.

Understanding what an icon really is broadens the horizons for the entire medium.  An icon can truly be just about anything you can think of, and more are being created every day.  This gives the comic artist unlimited ways to communicate with his audience.  There are also the timeless icons like the smiley face.  How long have people looked into that face and saw themselves staring back?  Maybe since the beginning of time.  Some stories and tapestries of the ancient world have very simply drawn faces; did these artists realize that the onlookers would identify themselves within the face?  The smiley face has stood the test of time, and I think it will remain important to future comic artists.  


23 January 2012

Review of Chapter One in Scott Mcloud's Understanding Comics Textbook

At first glance, this book may seem like just another graphic novel of some dorky college student's exploits to analyze comic books, but once you flip to the introduction or even the table of contents you will see that Mr. Mcloud has gone above and beyond. This book completely defines, analyzes, and graciously accepts there argumentative points and I know this just by reading the first chapter. Starting with the introduction, Scott Mcloud (well, his fictionalized cartoon image of himself) is having a conversation with his friend about what he plans to elaborate on what comics are what what they can do and do do (yes, I said do do). His friend assures him that this challenge is fit for someone with more experience, but Mcloud has a higher consciousness about sequential art.

Speaking of sequential art, Mclouds whole first chapter is narrowing and perfecting the definition for comics. He is very opposed to the original name given to this widespread medium because it infers that ALL art that shows progression of time with more than one panel is FUNNY and quite possibly childish.

SO, instead of calling this form of visual and text assisted medium "Comics" or "Comic Art", he would rather address it as "Sequential Art". But Scott proceeds to further define the definition after being heckled from an illustrated audience. The development of definitions extends from:
Sequential Art to
Sequential Visual Art to
Juxtaposed Sequential Visual Art to
Juxtaposed Sequential Static Images to
Juxtaposed Static Images in deliberate Sequence to
Juxtaposed Pictorial & other images in deliberate sequence
After all of this specification, Mcloud proceeds to show the reader the deep-rotted origins of sequential art throughout history. Technically, Pre-Colombian Manuscripts (Mayan Picture drawings or sculptures), The Bayeux Tapestry, and Egyptian Scribes are all examples of a style of story telling through visual static images. After reading his thorough definition for this specific type of storytelling, I did not dispute the fact that all of these examples could be construed and even presented (in my own personal opinion) as early sequential art.
Mcloud uses a few more examples to support his claim, but my favorite was his look at a collage novel from a man named Max Ernst. The novel was entitled "A Week of Kindness" and was widely considered to be a 20th century artistic masterpiece.Scott brings up the question of why this collage was not considered panel art, even though it is. The answer to that question is the era and ideology of the time.
Max Ernst

Anyway, Scott then presents very recent examples of sequential art like instructional diagrams, stained glass windows, and even series of photos can be considered "Sequential Art". I think what Mcloud is trying to do here is give us an overall mindset that "Comics" shouldn't be thought of restrictively, put down, or underestimated, but taken seriously, praised, and further observed. All I know is that I'm digging this book and the next time I look at the visual instructions for a hand dryer I'll think "Scott, you rule". That or "Push button, receive bacon"

Welcome to Our Class Blog!

Welcome to NMHU's Rhetoric of Comics class blog!

If you're a new student, this is where you'll be posting your thoughts on the various subjects we'll be studying this spring. Since your classmates will be doing the same, it will also be where you'll learn and exchange new ideas outside of the classroom. I'll also be posting from time to time with helpful links, important notices, and anything interesting I might find (click the link to see the kinds of stuff I've posted for past classes). On the right, I've already begun collecting links to other interesting bloggers, whose ideas might inspire or guide you in your ongoing research for this class. You'll also periodically find a poll, which I'll use to get your anonymous feedback on the course.

Even if you're just visiting our site, feel free to read and comment on our posts. Students have been asked to summarize the most important points of a reading and then "free think" about the piece. I'll be taking the best written/well thought out post of each week and re-posting it on my own blog, The Daily Pugle, and your feedback will be very helpful.

And whether you're visiting or not, here's our course syllabus:

You'll also find the "Labels" I use to organize the subject of our posts on the right. Simply click one you might be interested in, and every post on the subject will appear for your review. In any event, I hope you will find our class blog interesting and useful.

And now, a funny comic about blogging from XKCD. For bonus points, would David Kunzle classify this a comic? Scott McCloud?

Questions? Quibbles? Controversies?