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Reinventing Comics: How Imagination and Technology Are Revolutionizing an Art Form
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Reinventing Comics: How Imagination and Technology Are Revolutionizing an Art Form

(The Comic Books #2)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  3,169 ratings  ·  157 reviews
In 1993, Scott McCloud tore down the wall between high and low culture with the acclaimed international hit Understanding Comics, a massive comic book that explored the inner workings of the worlds most misunderstood art form. Now, McCloud takes comics to te next leavle, charting twelve different revolutions in how comics are created, read, and preceived today, and how they're po ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 1st 2000 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2000)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  3,169 ratings  ·  157 reviews

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Better as a cultural artefact than anything else (though I did occasionally enjoy certain historical tidbits). Perhaps this would have been more hard-hitting if I had read it when it was published in 2000, but half-assed discussions of diversity and cutting edge technology like CD-ROMs makes it woefully obsolete (and the writing wasn't anywhere near as engaging as its predecessor). Understanding Comics needs an update just because I'm interested in his take on the subject matter now; this is in dire n ...more
Desktop Metaphor
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Other than his 3D Lincoln comic this is probably Scott McCloud's most overlooked comic, but unlike the Lincoln thing this book deserves your attention. Yeah, even today, still. Many people have claimed that this book was dated when it hit the shelves and is certainly irrelevant now, a historical curiosity at best. That's partly true. McCloud's cry for more diversity in subject and viewpoint in comics is as relevant as ever (the dated caricatures of 90's diversity notwithstanding,) and his histor ...more
Apr 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Read through it in the library today.
This is the first book I'm reading from Scott McCloud, however I hope to read more.

In the first chapter, he outlines reasons why he's worried about the comics industry, but it's very clear he's writing from the 90's. It really had me thinking, every other sentence, I wonder what the state of affairs is now and whether he's still concerned. He described a kind of "bubble" of comics-creation that inflated and then burst in the 90's. I work in
Owen Curtsinger
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Understanding Comics was understandably groundbreaking and something that I still draw inspiration from (no pun intended), but this appendix-like follow-up doesn't hold the same clout. Whereas Understanding Comics was a timeless philosophical study for the sake of the art, Reinventing Comics moors itself firmly in the late 90s, exhaustively studying the history and industry of comics as it stood in the 90s and how it may shape up in the then-future. The entire second half of the book is based on ...more
Jun 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Understanding Comics is significantly better and definitely stands the test of time much better (the half of this that discussed Technology seemed small-thinking in 2017 since it was written in 2000; I suppose it's exciting that many of McCloud's predictions definitely came true -- but it also left me wanting much more because I wonder what predictions he has NOW for what comics will look like in 2040) but this was a fun and interesting read.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
A more pragmatic book than his Understanding Comics—and thus a bit less timeless, perhaps—this is nevertheless a clear, well argued and explained essay.
Daniel Watkins
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Persuasive, thoughtful, and clear. Comics-as-essay still is a niche style, although I would like to see it used more, and McCloud is a master of the form.
Jay Daze
Apr 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Karl Marx was a great describer of capitalism, but turned out to be pretty terrible at forecasting its fall. It is a lot harder to predict or influence the future direction of something than it is to describe it. McCloud gives it a good college try, though from 2011 Reinventing Comics has aged a lot more than Understanding Comics.

I am impressed that McCloud for the most part doesn't fall on his face, though as I read it I was constantly wondering how he is reacting to the state of comics NOW - which is the
Zach Danielson
Oct 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
This sequel to Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art is more fragmented, kinda preachy, and less interesting.

Part 1 of his manifesto for the reinvention of comics focuses on their public perception, industry missteps, and the need for more diversity (in all senses of the word). Solid stuff.

Part 2 focuses on the digital revolution and its implications for comics' creation, distribution, and format. He ends with some lofty talk about comics breaking free of the printed page.
Dustin Hanvey
Jun 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
McCloud is something of a genius. Though his first book will likely remain his masterpiece, this one stands tall as well, not only explaining the ways in which comics as a method of art delivery can survive, but also how new technology will enable and alter the works. He presents a better explanation of the internet than Thomas Friedman while not giving in to the goblins of globalization in the way Friedman does in much of his work. Recommend to all lovers of art and where it will go in the 21st ...more
Ruth Ann
Sep 01, 2010 rated it it was ok
After Understanding Comics, this was disappointing. The economic analysis did make sense and I'm fully on board with the need for both authorial and genre diversity. However the long-winded exposition about comics' potential as an art form, especially in the digital realm, far exceeded my interest in the subject. Also, McCloud's prose style (long, declarative, overly dramatic sentences bisected by "but" or "and") grew very tiresome after 200 pages and the second half of the book needed a severe editori ...more
Feb 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Like McCloud's earlier Understanding Comics, this book is a must-read for anyone who plans to work in the graphic novel genre. Though it's now eight years from its publication date, its predictive power and perspective remain right on target(and the presentation style keeps it a fascinating read). Find a copy and enjoy it!
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Back in the mindset of if I'm losing reading time to research, I'm putting them here. It helps when they're about comic books, and fully illustrated as if it was a comic book. More textbooks should be like this.
Hannah Garden
May 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Well, I for one certainly was not thinking about the Internet in 2000, so all the stuff in here you'll be warned is dated was pretty fascinating to me.
He's such a good man, and thorough.
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Scott McCloud the author, describes Reinventing Comics not as a sequel to Understanding Comics but as it’s own book. Reinventing Comics focuses more on the business side of comics and how comic artist were affected by the fall of comics in the 1990’s due to drop in sales, interest and limited collector items almost killed comics and caused a large majority of comic book stores to be shut down. Many people believe that this book is solly McCloud's opinions rather than breaking down how comics wor ...more
Jaq Greenspon
I love Scott McCloud. I love the way he thinks about the art form of comics and I love the fact he has embraced the technological revolution whole-heartedly.

That said, this is a fascinating book for a number of reasons. While I'm a huge fan and have owned Understanding Comics and Designing Comics, reading them several times each over the years, if I've read this one before, I don't remember it. And I think part of that reason is because the this other two are much more timeless, dealing with un
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reinventing Comics is a fascinating look at the evolution of comics and digital media in the Internet age. McCloud was incredibly prescient, and despite its age this book still has important things to say about what comics and technology can do for storytellers.

I only identified one topics that McCloud, and many others, were dead wrong about: the rise of novel forms of data visualization. I mean, don't get me wrong, data visualization is huge, but mostly using visual metaphors simila
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hobbies
This is a prescient book that is relevant to all creative people, not just those who care about comics. McCloud covers issues ranging from creative ownership to the impact of technology on the distribution pipeline (and thus creative freedom). Many of these issues apply to technologists as well as to artists (consider how services like AWS have made it easier to create internet based businesses).

Even though the book was written in 2000, McCloud's analysis of the internet with respect
Steve Tetreault
I picked up this tome because I thoroughly enjoyed McCloud's first book, Understanding Comics (which I strongly urge you to check out if you haven't yet). That first book is focused on timeless theories about what makes comics and graphic novels worth reading, and how to read them. This one is longer and, because it's about the early 2000's and the technology that was coming on the scene at the time, it feels a lot more dated. There are still some interesting ideas and insights, and it's sad that near ...more
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
A continuation of some of the ideas in his first volume, this book looks at comics unfulfilled potentials. Originally published back in 2000, it's also a tad more utopian about webcomics and digital media in general being the salvation of the comics form than really seems justified nearly two decades later (for at that it's unusually clear-sighted about the inevitability of the dot-com crash that hit a year or so later). But like its predecessor, it's smart, thoughtful and clearly expressed. McC ...more
Ashley Lambert-Maberly
Interesting, but dated, but interesting because of that--he was certainly ahead of many in imagining ways computers/the internet could change things. Though as deftly handled, the subject of this book wasn't nearly as compelling to me as his earlier Understanding Comics, and I would probably have survived nicely if I'd never read this one--but would really regret not having read the first.

(Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful,
Chloe A-L
I'm sure this book would have been an absolute revelation, if I'd been a comics person in 2000 when it came out. Alas, I was 5, and reading it in 2017 (with a lot of comics theory reading under my belt already) is just kind of boring. At best a semi-interesting historical artifact, at worst a series of arguments against comics trends that have been fixed or are very much in the public eye already, at worst a boring economics rant. If you're also reading it for the first time, unless you REALLY l ...more
Camilo Vasquez
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really engaging, both as an essay on comics and as a graphic narration, loved the way MacCloud used the icons to show how to add a new layer of meaning to comic, it may be not a prophetic work on how markets and comic industry are developing, but his overall look at technology, authors, public an editors can be easily aprehended and applied to the contemporary comic world to draw new conclusions, buyt above all, its a calling to expand the boundaries of sequential art, and in that its completely ...more
Jan 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I read "Understanding Comics" in grad school and loved it so I'm not sure how I didn't continue down the McCloud path. I stumbled across this somehow while doing research at work and had to read it. It's impressive how clearly McCloud envisioned the future of comics and he does a great job making the case for the format and all that it's capable of.

This was published in 2000 so a lot of the information is dated, but at the same time it's valuable information presented clearly. If you
Mar 29, 2018 rated it liked it
As others have noted, "Reinventing Comics" is more a product of its time (and thus less timeless) than McCloud's "Understanding Comics." While there were many points where I was impressed by McCloud's forethought, there are so many interesting aspects of modern comics and e-commerce (Patreon, composition-as-product via Twitch's Creative streams, the advent of comic book movies and the notion of the "cinematic universe") that I was left wanting an updated edition more than anything else.
Josh Hamon
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“It’s time for comics to finally grow up and find the art beneath the craft”

“The Great American Graphic Novel hasn’t been written yet.

If you want to dive deep into the meta of comics, this is the series to get you started. 📖 #2 is no slouch, even though it was written in the year 2000, it astutely sees the writing on the (digital) wall.
Jackie Snow
Jan 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Published in 2000, so seriously out of date in terms of predictions of how the internet will impact comics (although he was more or less right). Fun to read about the history of comics though.
Naomi Ruth
I enjoyed this. I liked Understanding Comics a little bit more, but there was a lot of good content and a lot of good questions were raised. Definitely worth the read if you are interested in comics.
Nov 29, 2017 rated it liked it
A wonderful analysis of comics in the growing digital age, but fairly outdated in 2017.
Shawn M.
Oct 07, 2019 rated it liked it
While it was informative, it felt like the text dominated the art and was not really enjoyable like Understanding Comics. This could have worked as a dummies book.
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Scott McCloud (born Scott McLeod) is an American cartoonist and theorist on comics as a distinct literary and artistic medium.

Other books in the series

The Comic Books (3 books)
  • Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
  • Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels