This is one of those books that anyone with the slightest interest in comics is supposed to check out, so I, being someone with the slightest interestThis is one of those books that anyone with the slightest interest in comics is supposed to check out, so I, being someone with the slightest interest in comics, checked it out. It is a book about comics told as a comic. While I was disappointed that it didn't go as in-depth as I was hoping (I may have to check out Eisner's book), it was a really fascinating text aimed squarely at an introductory reader.
McCloud begins by defining comics ("juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence"—"sequential art" for short) and then uses his definition to explore the history of the medium, showing that comics have really been around a lot longer than comic books. Then he starts going into how comics work, primarily focusing on the visual aspect and examining how a reader responds to certain images and icons. He makes a really interesting observation about the degree of reader identification possible in different art styles: a cartoony drawing without much detail allows the reader to more easily see himself as the character, whereas a more realistic drawing doesn't leave as much room for interpretation. It's not something we do consciously, but a lot of McCloud's observations are about our subconscious reactions that inform our readings. He develops a whole system of aesthetics for the pictorial vocabulary, a triangle with vertices of Reality (where pictures represent reality), Language (where pictures simply communicate an idea), and the Picture Plane (where pictures are just shapes).
Then he moves on to look at comics themselves and makes a point I never really thought about before: we fill in the spaces between panels. What is on the panels is what is on the panels, but our minds are what do the work of connecting them. This leads to a look at the wonkiness of time in comics and the ways in which panels can fit into the time-space continuum. He talks about the use of lines, the different ways in which dialogue/words interact with the pictures to tell a story, and color. And he has a whole chapter about the creative process. Throughout the book, he compares the evolution of comics in the Western world to that in Japan, where comics/manga are quite different from what we're used to.
It would be useless to try to summarize the whole book when you can just read it yourself; it's a pretty quick read. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in comics, as it does make you look at them in a new light, not just because McCloud staunchly defends comics as an art form but because he makes you think about what you're actually doing when you read and process a comic....more
This was quite good. As its name implies, we get tales of various Slayers throughout history—including Nikki Wood. Some of the stories take darker turThis was quite good. As its name implies, we get tales of various Slayers throughout history—including Nikki Wood. Some of the stories take darker turns and deepen the mythology by acknowledging the dangers and prejudices Slayers may have encountered. There isn't really a weak story in the bunch, which is impressive....more
This is more of a mixed bag than Tales of the Slayers, but it has a nice frame story and has more guest appearances by show characters. There are someThis is more of a mixed bag than Tales of the Slayers, but it has a nice frame story and has more guest appearances by show characters. There are some great vampire stories, some touching, some funny, some clever, some creepy. One of the strengths of both collections is the different artists. Even when the writing isn't as strong—and most of the stories are written by Mutant Enemy alumni, so it's generally pretty strong—it's neat to see different artists' takes on Slayers and vampires. I'd definitely recommend checking both books out, even if you're not a Buffy fan, since they don't require a knowledge of the show....more