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Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by…

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (original 1993; edition 1994)

by Scott McCloud

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3,410711,584 (4.33)60
Title:Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
Authors:Scott McCloud
Info:Harper Paperbacks (1994), Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library, Read
Tags:Acid-, Aesthetics, Nonfiction, Pop Culture, Pub Harper, Read+, Visuality, Shelf

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Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud (1993)


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Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
THE book for comprehending this new (ancient, original) storytelling medium.

You think you know comics? You don't know till you've read this (ok, and Will Eisner's Comics As Sequential Art). ( )
  VladVerano | Oct 20, 2015 |
Published in the early nineties, McCloud's discussion of comics takes the form of a comic itself, and both the discussion and the use of the form to enhance that discussion are brilliant. He defines comics, explores the language of comics, and illustrates how comics work, including the ways they suggest and manipulate movement and time. McCloud also explores briefly the history of comics, both as the average American might perceive them (think comic books) and as we might identify them as an art form stretching back thousands of years. The discussion of how modern comics have developed differently in the west and in Japan is especially interesting. Anyone who has ever read a comic book or even the funny papers probably has some understanding of how comics work, but this book does an excellent job taking the form apart and pinpointing exactly what is going on narratively, visually, and artistically when we read them. Recommended for anyone, really, but especially to anyone interested in comics, visual art, or narrative. ( )
  lycomayflower | Oct 19, 2015 |
Best book I have read on media. How graphics and text work together. In comic format. ( )
  showaelc | Oct 10, 2015 |
4* pela narrativa & arte 1* pelo serviço público prestado ( )
  Ritinha_ | Aug 26, 2015 |
I have been getting into comics lately and I am quickly discovering there is so much about this medium that I do not know. When trying to review a comic or graphic novel, I find it easy to talk about plot but talking about the art is difficult. I picked up Understanding Comics because there is so much to learn and I wanted a better grasp on the art form. And it is art, it might not be as highbrow as artists like Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet or my personal favourite Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, but it is still art. To exclude comics as an art form would be like removing Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollack or René Magritte from the art world because you 'don't get it'.

Now that I have had a little rant about art, let’s talk about comics and Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. This book is a graphical look into comics as an art form, exploring the history of comics and tries to explain the meaning behind the art. It starts off trying to define what a comic is, which I quickly realised was an impossible feat. McCloud ended saying “Comics are juxtaposed pictorial and other images in a deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or produce an aesthetic response in the viewer” but then went on to explain how problematic that definition can be.

A highlight for me was found in chapter two where Scott McCloud explored the vocabulary of comics. The chapter begins with explain René Magritte’s painting The Treachery of Images (1928-29), an artist I am a big fan of. I actually went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the hope to see The Treachery of Images, but it was currently on loan to the Art Institute of Chicago. What I liked about this chapter was how he took the meaning of this painting and expanded on it to help explain comics. He took something easy to explain and built upon that to the more complex ideas.

This is not a pipe

Reading Understanding Comics makes comics sound like highbrow pieces of art and maybe that is how we should view them. Instead of thinking about comics as a lowbrow medium, it is about time we experience the art and what it can tell us. In this book six major ideas around the art. Idea/purpose, form, idiom/style, structure, craft and surface; explaining how they can all work together to make great pieces.

There is a lot of information within Understanding Comics and I don’t think I have explored it all yet. It has equipped me with some new tools when reading and reviewing comics. The best thing about this book is the way Scott McCloud changes his art style and methods to explore the different ways you can execute the theories behind this book. I am glad he referenced all his work, especially when talking about other artists and how they write comics. The graphical representation of the art theory in the book helped me to understand comics a little better but there is just so much here that I will need to reread this a few times before it sinks in.

This review originally appeared on my blog: http://literary-exploration.com/2014/10/29/understanding-comics-by-scott-mccloud... ( )
2 vote knowledge_lost | Dec 2, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Scott McCloudprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eisner, WillEditorial advisorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilEditorial Advisorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lappan, BobLetterersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Martin, MarkEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 006097625X, Paperback)

A comic book about comic books. McCloud, in an incredibly accessible style, explains the details of how comics work: how they're composed, read and understood. More than just a book about comics, this gets to the heart of how we deal with visual languages in general. "The potential of comics is limitless and exciting!" writes McCloud. This should be required reading for every school teacher. Pulitzer Prize-winner Art Spiegelman says, "The most intelligent comics I've seen in a long time."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:12 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Praised throughout the cartoon industry by such luminaries as Art Spiegelman, Matt Groening, and Will Eisner, this innovative comic book provides a detailed look at the history, meaning, and art of comics and cartooning.

(summary from another edition)

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