Terry's Reviews > Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
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's review
Apr 05, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: education, graphic-art, non-fiction

A professor who actually uses graphic novels in her class --gasp!! innovation!?!?--recommended this book to me. I enjoyed it quite thoroughly, although my one tiny quibble is that it is almost twenty years old and thus clearly does not address twenty years' worth of graphic art and novels and their popularity around the world. Time for a new edition! Separate from that, this is a very serious work of literary theory, really. Well, a blend of literary theory and visual art theory. I could see this book being used in a wide range of classes (that is, a wide range of fields). But since it is a work of theory, it does tend to say things like "the phenomenon of non-visual self-awareness" and "if visual iconography is the vocabulary of comics, closure is its grammar" and "somewhere between the futurists' dynamic movement and Duchamp's diagrammatic concept of movement lies comics' 'motion line'". So how you feel about this book as a whole will be dictated by how you react to phrases like those. I recommended Donalyn Miller's book The Book Whisperer to educators who need a good series of arguments for the depth and breadth of reading she recommends to teachers of K-12 students. I would recommend this book for anyone who wants/is forced to defend the use of graphic art books in his/her classroom.
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