In Which I Talk Some More About McCloud and Offer Some Pictures

March 18th, 2008

So I typed this up after Thursday’s class in Word while my internet was down and then kind of forgot to post it when the internet came back:

A lot of what McCloud writes about is very interesting to me, because a lot of it was things that I guess I subconsciously knew about (or felt that I should), but had never really considered. I’ve read quite a few comic books over the years, so I felt while reading McCloud that I should have thought of these things before, but at the same time, I can’t imagine how I would have thought of most of that. In fact, I started going through my comic book collection in my dorm room, looking for instances of timeless space, of frames that clearly showed only an instant, of frames that showed more than one instant (where the speech comes before action, in this case), and of frame size influencing perception of time.* And here, on the last page of The Killing Joke (a Batman comic), you can say that the first eight define specific moments or periods in time, while the last suddenly becomes that timeless space, despite remaining the same size/shape/etc as the others.

And now, of course, this leads me to look at the use of art in comics and want to explore how much the story is dependent on the art. Well, clearly the visual conveys important information, but why a comic book instead of a normal book? Why is this more effective than a written description? Is it?

Suddenly, I find the word “comic” kind of funny—Er, no pun intended. Because it means “funny,” yet a good amount of what can be described as a “comic book,” well, isn’t. Then again, this is. To me, anyway. I guess I should draw the line between comic books and graphic novels, but I figure that’s been done. (As far as I’m concerned, the difference between the two is in no way dependent on subject matter, which is the thing that’s more important to me.)

But there’s a sort of rule, I think, in how much time a frame is allowed to cover. Conventionally, at least. It seems that there’s usually a line or two of dialogue or an action that immediately precedes another line of dialogue or action. The two have to come right together for it to “read correctly.” If there are about twenty minutes between the two, you might get this.** And that doesn’t make sense.

And on an ending note, I wanted to find a reason to link to this but I couldn’t. (And that’s terrible. )

*In this case, the use of long horizontal panels works in the same way as the wider panel of the pausing guy in McCloud’s example.

**I drew that. I felt I had to.


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