“Understanding comics,” says Scott McCloud, in a defining panel of his book, “is serious business.” He then proceeds to prove his point gloriously. In fact, in his able hands, understanding comics is more than serious business; it is a delightful pleasure as well.
With great erudition shining through a wacky sense of humor, McCloud talks us through the history of the comic book from the cavemen of Lascaux to Jack Kirby, Herge, Art Spiegelman and beyond, the elements of visualization and verbiage involved, the tricks and techniques of putting it all together to create illusions of time, space and motion in the mind of the reader, even in part the economics, but mainly the aesthetics: the (I use the term advisedly) philosophy behind the comic book.
The main preoccupation of McCloud is in establishing the precise place occupied…
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