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Understanding Scott Mccloud September 5, 2007

Posted by jmoran21 in Comics, Games.
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I knew Scott McCloud before picking up this book, or at least I knew his avatar. He appeared in a few issues of an old gaming magazine I used to read (Computer Gaming World, maybe) and after my initial excitement at discovering a comic strip, I realized it was merely the adventures of some guy in a plaid shirt who used too many big words (I was young.) I came across his icon once again as a loyal devotee of Penny-Arcade. I immediately assumed, based on this satire, that he was just a blowhard with nothing to contribute to comics. This may have been slightly hasty.

I’m impressed by his definition of comics, and the number of other art styles he’s able to overlap with it. I do get a little weary of the unending optimism, however. Anyone who cares to look can find dozens, even hundreds of examples of comics that can stand alongside any modern work of art or literature, but the idea that comics will ever be embraced by the majority as a legitimate form of art/literature is silly. Critics, scholars, and someday literary historians will look at books like Watchmen and understand their importance, but comics have passed that critical period in the youth of the medium where consumers decide where they will fit in the grand scheme. I hate to sound so pessimistic about something I love, but that’s my gut instinct.

I can definitely see why we use this book as our New Media textbook. So many of his ideas and theories can extend beyond comics into gaming and Web 2.0 (3.0?) The pyramid he creates to categorize work as iconic/realistic/abstract was especially compelling for me. I went ahead and created my own pyramid for a few of my favorite games. gamenyd.jpg

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