McCloud 4-6

Oh man, McCloud’s chapter on time in comics was wildly interesting. The first thing I thought of was how they say that six years in our time is equivalent to one year in Marvel comic time, nevermind all the reboots and retcons. Along with this, his idea of what text placement in a panel means with respect to time was something I think I’d subconsciously realized as a reader, but definitely wouldn’t be able to vocalize had he not laid it out on the page the way he did.

I particularly appreciated how much he broke down the time it physically takes to speak in combination with how that is drawn, and about how even though the frame is a “snapshot,” it’s more like… a still? Or maybe one of those moving pictures from Harry Potter, or at least that’s how I’m choosing to have it make sense in my head. The placement of the text as narration vs. speech bubble was especially cool, and it makes me wonder where on the spectrum of snapshot to moment would a panel with only sound indicators lie.

With regards to time, his discussion of panel width was really interesting, but I wish he would have spent more time on it. On page 101, he gives the example of the men having a conversation where time between man one’s statement and man two’s answer can be represented by multiple panels of the same thing, wider gutters, or a wider panel itself. However, the last part of the example, with the wider panel,  felt more like that wider panel was representative of emotional weight than time difference, which I both feel is very different and am at the same time not quite sure that it actually is.

McCloud’s history of painting motion, particularly that they were and were not quite comics, and how western comics uses different ways of depicting motion than that of, say, Japan, was something that I don’t know much about and have never paid much attention to. After reading that though, particularly how a movie/TV show is a set of pictures, sometimes attached to sound, and comics are a set of pictures that are not as quickly strung together and without the sound. Are things, then, like quartoscopes or View-Masters considered comics or movies? Or are they some weird, third category?

Finally, for this chapter, on page 115, McCloud talks about comics occupying space differently. Do purely alphabetic texts do space like comics, or is time space even less anchored? Would alphabetic writing alone’s complete removal from visual indicators mean that its writing is even further away from real space/time constraints? Maybe this would explain how villains are able to rattle off minutes-length worth dialogues in the last thirty seconds of a bomb, or how someone can have an entire internal monologue with themselves before they have to respond in an ongoing conversation (it makes me think of this “Scrubs” video).

I read chapters five and six, but besides the bit about the different combinations of words and images and how they were used, and what they mean (which was really interesting but I don’t feel like I have anything to add, really), nothing stuck out to me too much. The part about people being expected to grow beyond combining words and pictures as they grow older was notable, but it also made me sad, because of its truth and how much I didn’t actually want to think about that particular divide.

Goofy comic

McCloud’s comic with the guy stealing a dollar from his own wallet made me think of this awful meme. Thanks, Scott. (I wish I had a source for this, but I cannot, for the life of me, find one).

3 comments

  1. austinllewellyn95 · October 11, 2018

    HAHAHAHAHA YES!!! I am so happy that someone else likes Dolan memes! Gooby is quite the character. Anyways, I totally I agree with you regarding McCloud’s discussion on time and space in the comic world. I found that his metaphor with the rope was particularly helpful with this idea. I also wrote about the comic with the guy stealing money from him in the future and liked how this related to his idea of time in a comic. I tried thinking of an example of this in movies and could only think of the sudden flashes of Tyler Durden in Fight Club.

    Like

  2. Anonymous · October 11, 2018

    Hey Kylie — I had a similar response to McCloud’s chapter on time. I too felt like I subconsciously knew what each panel meant in respect to time but I never would have been able to articulate it in the way that McCloud did. I’ve felt like that most of this book actually. Although we’re talking about comics, I’ve found this book to be extremely helpful in my own writing which is definitely not comics mostly because its put words to actions in writing in ways I didn’t know how.

    I do get what you’re saying about the examples on 101 with the two men having a conversation. I guess I thought it was both, the comic artist slowing down time to tell the readers to pay attention to the man’s face for the purpose of adding more emotional weight. In that instance, I don’t know if the understanding of time was as important as just visibly telling the readers to pay attention to his face, if that makes sense.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  3. Jessica Hackett · October 11, 2018

    Hey Kylie — I had a similar response to McCloud’s chapter on time. I too felt like I subconsciously knew what each panel meant in respect to time but I never would have been able to articulate it in the way that McCloud did. I’ve felt like that most of this book actually. Although we’re talking about comics, I’ve found this book to be extremely helpful in my own writing which is definitely not comics mostly because its put words to actions in writing in ways I didn’t know how.

    I do get what you’re saying about the examples on 101 with the two men having a conversation. I guess I thought it was both, the comic artist slowing down time to tell the readers to pay attention to the man’s face for the purpose of adding more emotional weight. In that instance, I don’t know if the understanding of time was as important as just visibly telling the readers to pay attention to his face, if that makes sense.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Like

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