Jil's Reviews > Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
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's review
Mar 06, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: school, graphic-novel
Recommended to Jil by: Momo, Gregory Moss
Recommended for: people interested in visual storytelling
Read in February, 2009

I never had any intention of taking the graphic-novel class here at Brown, but I had every intention of taking my roommate's textbooks for class and reading them on my own time. I hadn't gotten around to it yet when my playwriting professor assigned a big, photocopied chunk of this to us for reading - "Though it's about comics," he said, "there's a lot to be learned here for playwrights, too."

I decided just to read the whole book, since my friend Momo had also read it and recommended it enthusiastically. I certainly liked it - it was clear and concise, funny but not overly so, and really made me think about the nature of comics in a different way. The reason I'm giving this three rather than four stars is that it felt a little weak on the content side - McCloud spends so much time trying to prove that comics are a real art form that there's not much room left for exploring it. I enjoyed this, but don't know how much practical information I'm actually walking away with. The title here is "Understanding Comics", but I feel like my understanding of comics was merely augmented rather than completed, as McCloud never seems to decide whether he wants to focus on comics' history or the differences in international styles or why comics matter at all. Nonetheless, this was a quick-enough read that it was fully worth what I got out of it: some interesting explorations of time between scenes--valuable information for anyone crafting a story--and the relationship between icons, art, and language.
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