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Graphic Novels

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mike easterling

on 11 December 2016

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Transcript of Graphic Novels

Scott McCloud
Key Terms
"Masking"
: a visual style, dramatic convention, and literary technique described in the chapter on realism. It is the use of simplistic, archetypal, narrative characters, even if juxtaposed with detailed, photographic, verisimilar, spectacular backgrounds. This may function, McCloud infers, as a mask, a form of projective identification. His explanation is that a familiar and minimally detailed character allows for a stronger emotional connection and for viewers to identify more easily
Reality
: images that very closely resemble the thing they are representing
Meaning
: words that are combined with meaning
The Picture Plane
: images that represent only themselves like geometric shapes and color
Gutter
: Space between panels
Panels
: Picture Plane containing images and words
Closure
: Closure is the process of "observing the parts but perceiving the whole"
Closure occurs:
(A) in frames. He describes two instances of this:
In bridging the gap between representation and reality.
When information is missing in a frame.
(B) between frames
What the reader may be required to fill in between panels.
What possible relationships may the comic reader be required to interpret between two panels?
He describes 6 possible types of frame transition.
The 6 possible types of frame transition:
1- Moment-To-Moment Transition Emphasises a small time change. For example an expression has changed slightly or a planet has moved fractionally. The effect is to show small but significant or simply atmospheric. In the west artists prefer to use action to action to keep the pace moving. In the east where comic books can be longer, it is often atmospheric to have moment-to-moment frame transitions.
2- Action-To-Action Transition Emphasises change in a subject's actions. For example a ball has been hit by a baseball and one frame is before and another is after the hit. The effect is to keep a fast paced plot.
3- Subject-To-Subject Transition Emphasises change of subject. For example two people in a conversation, the first frame has the first character speaking the second frame has the second character replying. The effect is to change emphasis of an action or idea.
4- Scene-To-Scene Transition Emphasises a large change in space or time. For example a time gap of 10 years between two frames or one frame set in Paris and another in London. The effect is to give the comparison of two different spaces or times or to increase the action or location of action.
5- Aspect-To-Aspect Transition Emphasises a small change in space or mood or ideas. For example different frames show different details of the same scene. The effect is to give the mood and some detail.
6- Non-Sequential Transition Emphasises a change between unrelated frames. For example one scene and/or character in one frame followed by a second frame with a deliberately unrelated scene and/or character. The effect is to get the reader to question the possible relations.
Graphic Novels
The term is not strictly defined, though Merriam-Webster's full dictionary definition is "a fictional story that is presented in comic-strip format and published as a book", while its simplest definition is given as "cartoon drawings that tell a story and are published as a book". In the publishing trade, the term is extends to material that would not be considered a novel if produced in another medium. Collections of comic books that do not form a continuous story, anthologies or collections of loosely related pieces, and even non-fiction are stocked by libraries and bookstores as "graphic novels" (similar to the manner in which dramatic stories are included in "comic" books). The term is also sometimes used to distinguish between works created as standalone stories, in contrast to collections or compilations of a story arc from a comic book series published in book form.
Closure
Understanding Comics is a wide-ranging exploration of the definition, history, vocabulary, and methods of the medium of comics. An attempt to formalize the study of comics, it is itself in comics form.

The book's overarching argument is that comics are defined by the primacy of sequences of images. McCloud also introduced the concept of "closure," to refer to a reader's role in closing narrative gaps between comics panels. The book argues that comics employ nonlinear narratives because they rely on the reader's choices and interactions.
The book begins with a discussion of the concept of visual literacy and a history of narrative in visual media. McCloud mentions, among other early works of graphic narrative, the Bayeux Tapestry, as an antecedent to comics. Understanding Comics posits Swiss caricaturist Rodolphe Töpffer as in many ways "the father of the modern comic." McCloud emphasizes Töpffer's use of "cartooning and panel borders" along with "the first interdependent combination of words and pictures seen in Europe."
Closure occurs:
(A) in frames. He describes two instances of this:
In bridging the gap between representation and reality.
When information is missing in a frame.
(B) between frames
What the reader may be required to fill in between panels.
What possible relationships may the comic reader be required to interpret between two panels?
He describes 6 possible types of frame transition.
The 6 possible types of frame transition:
1- Moment-To-Moment Transition Emphasis a small time change. For example an expression has changed slightly or a planet has moved fractionally. The effect is to show small but significant or simply atmospheric. In the west artists prefer to use action to action to keep the pace moving. In the east where comic books can be longer, it is often atmospheric to have moment-to-moment frame transitions.
2- Action-To-Action Transition Emphasizes change in a subject's actions. For example a ball has been hit by a baseball and one frame is before and another is after the hit. The effect is to keep a fast paced plot.
3- Subject-To-Subject Transition Emphasizes change of subject. For example two people in a conversation, the first frame has the first character speaking the second frame has the second character replying. The effect is to change emphasis of an action or idea.
4- Scene-To-Scene Transition Emphasizes a large change in space or time. For example a time gap of 10 years between two frames or one frame set in Paris and another in London. The effect is to give the comparison of two different spaces or times or to increase the action or location of action.
5- Aspect-To-Aspect Transition Emphasizes a small change in space or mood or ideas. For example different frames show different details of the same scene. The effect is to give the mood and some detail.
6- Non-Sequential Transition Emphasizes a change between unrelated frames. For example one scene and/or character in one frame followed by a second frame with a deliberately unrelated scene and/or character. The effect is to get the reader to question the possible relations.
Relate-ability
Refers to the readers ability to relate to the image they see in the graphic novel. The less defined the subject is the more people that can relate to the subject. For this reason many graphic novels or cartoons or even animated films will use cartoon animals to depict the subject.
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