When I was eight or nine years old, I enjoyed reading Buster, The Dandy, The Topper and the like, but I've barely glanced at a comic since. I wasn't initially too enthused about reading Scott McCloud's "Understanding Comics," but once I opened the book, I found myself unable to put it down (well, until my arm was twisted to go to the pub).
Previously, I was aware that the comic was an art form, but I had little interest in learning more about comics because they dealt with fantasy characters, superheroes, action and other subjects that I have little interest in reading about, because I thought that superheroes are best seen on TV or in movies. I somehow managed to miss that comics are an ideal fusion of text and graphics, and I really wish I'd read this book earlier - perhaps around the time that I was studying literature and graphic design as an undergrad!
McCloud's comic-style presentation was a refreshing change from lengthy texts, although it was perhaps denser in content than the reading assignments we've had so far. By dissecting the roles of text and graphics, and discussing the need for a balance between the two in effective storytelling, McCloud convinced me to reconsider how I present information and communicate ideas. I especially enjoyed McCloud's discussion of how comics are set apart from other art forms in that they can appeal to all the readers' senses, and of how readers are required to fill in the areas between comic frames.
"Understanding Comics" was an enjoyable and informative text that I expect will come in handy not only for Comm Lab, but also for any design or storytelling projects that we work on. The book proved an indispensable roadmap for the sequential images project that Peter Holzkorn and I worked on this weekend (currently being polished... stay tuned!).