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McCloud on Comics Components

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by

Andrea Gilroy

on 29 July 2014

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Transcript of McCloud on Comics Components

It may be helpful to think of many of the components mentioned before as the “grammar” of comics.
Remember diagramming sentences?
The Grammar of Comics
Juxtaposed pictorial and other images
in deliberate sequence,
intended to convey information and/or
to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer.
Scott McCloud’s Definition in
Understanding Comics

The “Auteur”
Mainstream/Studio/Superheroes
Creator-Owned
Independent/Alternative/Underground Comics/Comix
Even more Delineations
Comics
on its own generally refers to the medium or the art form.
This often gets overlooked--the page itself is a component of comics
The Page
“Traditional” comics are usually done in four steps
Making a comic page
Zines/Minicomics
Trade Paperback/”Trade”
"Comics are not prose. Comics are not movies. They are not a text-driven medium with added pictures; they’re not the visual equivalent of a prose narrative or a static version of a film. They are their own thing: a medium with its own devices, its own innovators, its own clichés, its own genres and traps and liberties."
Douglas Wolk, from
Reading Comics
Graphic Novel
Original Graphic Novel
Flimsy/Floppy/Monthly/Magazine/Periodical
The Comic Book
McCloud likes to categorize!
Word specific (illustrate not add)
Image specific (soundtrack to visuals)
Duo-Specific (reinforce each other)
Additive (words amplify/add to meaning of image
Parallel – show two stories not visibly related without forcing them to combine
Montage – words are part of the picture
Interdependent – words and pictures are necessary for the full meaning
Types of Word/Image Relationships
Scene-to-Scene
Action-To-Action
Motion…how is it shown? How can it be used effectively or ineffectively?
Motion
Like images, language can be used at many different levels, appealing more to basic concepts or sensual experiences.
Using Language
Artists can use sound, panel size, and even line and shapes within the picture affect our experience of time.
Time
Aspect-to-Aspect
Subject-to-Subject
Are there ever Non-Sequitirs?
Aspect-to-Aspect
Scene-to-Scene
Subject-to-Subject
Action-to-Action
Moment-to-Moment
Non-Sequitur
The level of iconicity isn't limited to depictions of people or animate objects.
Masking
McCloud describes the
iconicity
of an object in terms of the difference between...

Concepts or Idea
and
Sensual Perception
Concepts versus Senses
Key to McCloud’s concept of the icon is the problem of
representation
: How on earth do you recreate something? What does it mean to be realistic or not?
This is Not a Pipe
漫画
A
סמל
رَمْز

β

$
Z
÷
@

1 2 3
%
The relationship between words and images is part of why comics are so interesting, but also why they are often viewed as “easy” or “childish” or “lowbrow”
A few Words on Words
It is also a catch-all term for any work expressed through the medium of comics. Comics-the-art-form is also
Sequential Art
.
comics manga fumetti
bandes desinnées (BD) manhwa
komiks manhua historieta
Webcomics
Motion Comics
Comic Strips
...
The "basic unit" of comics, the panel is, at some level, what makes comics
comics
. They are the steps of the sequence.
The Panel
How is speech, thought, narration, sound portrayed in a primarily visual medium...one without sound?
Language
Closure is what makes us able to “read” comics.
The gutters are the most common form of closure we encounter reading comics--the space between panels.
Gutters
Moment-to-Moment
Remember, motion itself is the moving through space in time—and space and time are keystones to the construction of comics
The ICON
a visual representation of a person, place, thing, or idea
Images
Words
from Semiotics
most famous iteration in Roland Barthes's
Elements of Semiology
a relative of linguistics concerned with
what and how language means
but this applies to IMAGES, too.
this is one of Barthes's major points in
Rhetoric of the Image
Denotation: the "objective" description of what the image is (a description of the signifiers)
A red curvy shape inside a pentagon, yellow filling in the spaces between red.
Connotation: what the image means, from the basic meaning to more emotive and descriptive meaning
The Superman symbol; "Truth, Justice, and the American Way;" heroism; bravery; Clark Kent...
More on that later.
Let's get back to McCloud.
Paul Gaugin,
Painter of Sunflowers
, 1888
Pablo Picasso,
Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler
, 1910
John Singer Sargent,
Lady Agnew of Lochnaw
, 1892
Thutmose,
Nefertiti
, 1345 BCE
Annie Leibovitz,
Self-Portrait
, 1990
Kurt Vonnegut, self-portrait/signature
Reality/Nature
Concept/Ideas
Picture Plane/Art
the language line
the
CARTOON

"Amplification through Simplification"
masking
refers to realistic backgrounds (or particular objects) in contrast to cartoony people or other objects.
tree
Trees, proud standing people
stretching fingertips to the sky, reaching, praying
glorious attention, breathing light.

strength / shelter / timeless confidence
bending and firm / comforting / rooted chorus line
dancing with the moon, the wind, the clouds
framing bursts of stars

tender rugged celebration

absorbing and releasing life
each holy branch
holding the power of the Universe.
Let's look at some whole pages...
(you'll be reading that soon)
T h e R e t i n a l E d g e
Building a
COMICS
T h e R e p r e s e n t a t i o n a l E d g e
T h e C o n c e p t u a l Ed g e
Color
Line
Size
Texture
Value
It's
A
W
E
S
O
M
E
besides the fact that it might kill you
Full transcript