Saturday, July 6, 2013

Graphic Grandeur (Captain Marvel Undershirt Edition)

20 years ago,  Scott McCloud wrote a very influential book called Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, a treatise on what's variably been called sequential storytelling, graphic narrative, pictorial exposition, panel composition, non-animated cartoons, and the funny papers. That right there takes a lot of understanding. McCloud does a pretty good job explaining if not that than everything else having to do with comics, and not in prose but rather through sequential pictures and (mercifully, no one's come up with a technical-sounding synonym for this yet) word balloons.  Basically, it's a book in the form of a comic. But not a comic book, as we understand the term. Comic books aren't books at all, but really skinny graphic magazines, usually sold on different racks than thicker graphic magazines like Mad or (assuming it still exists) Cracked. On the other hand,  McCloud's book is just that, a book, with a hard cover. Unless you have the paperback edition, in which case it has a soft cover, though one still much harder than anything from DC, Marvel, or Archie that you'll see on a comic book rack. Back when there were book stores, Understanding Comics could usually be found in the graphic novels section. Except it's not a novel.

Whew! No wonder McCloud didn't bother with prose. Anyway, here's a sample page:

Ha! The joke's on McCloud. Since you're now reading all this on a computer, it's actually a digital copy of a printed copy of a drawing of a painting of a pipe. As such, you can't fold it!
Unless you're computer is attached to a copier.

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