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Understanding comics by Scott McCloud
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Understanding comics (original 1993; edition 1993)

by Scott McCloud

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3,281681,670 (4.34)52
Member:emcglohon
Title:Understanding comics
Authors:Scott McCloud
Info:[Northampton, MA] : Kitchen Sink Press, c1993.
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud (1993)

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Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
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... ( )
1 vote knowledge_lost | Dec 2, 2014 |
My blog post about this book is at this link ( )
  SuziQoregon | Oct 28, 2014 |
A great book for understanding any art on a deeper level. His six steps of art particularly resonated with me, and I think they're a wonderful lens to look at the craft of any art form. ( )
  Chuck.QuinnIV | Aug 25, 2014 |
Who knew that there is an academic approach to comics? This is the first of Scott McCloud's three books on the subject of comics, and of course it is presented in comic format. My younger son, who is a comics and manga fan, and I read this side-by-side and we learned a lot. Next time I pick up a graphic novel, what I've learned here will probably give me a fresh eye on "how it's done". ( )
  ValerieAndBooks | Aug 7, 2014 |
Scott McCloud published this classic in 1992 after 15 years thinking about and trying to understand comics. In comic book form he comes up with a useful definition of comics, traces its history, and uses drawings to "illustrate" ideas and theories. The book's drawings are clever and creative and the narrative's almost philosophical musings on art, language, and the specific medium of comics can at times be conceptually difficult. Nevertheless, this serious book is a must have for those adults who held on to their childhood comic book collection or never let this passion fade. After reading Understanding Comics it's safe to say that you'll have a deeper appreciation of graphic novels and the artists who create them. ( )
  OccassionalRead | Jul 9, 2014 |
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:01 -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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