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This is an Original Graphic Novel which explains "Comics" and its potential.  This book is a visual essay on how comics work and why they are special. 


A 215-page comic book about comics that explains the inner workings of the medium and examines many aspects of visual communication. Understanding Comics has been translated into 16 languages, excerpted in textbooks, and its ideas applied in other fields such as game design, animation, web development, and interface design.

Winner of the Harvey and Eisner Award, the Alph'art Award at Angoulême, and a New York Times Notable Book for 1994 (mass market edition).

Topics include:

  • Definitions, history, and potential.

  • Visual Iconography and its Effects.

  • Closure, reader participation between the panels.

  • Word-picture dynamics.

  • Time and motion.

  • The psychology of line styles and color.

  • Comics and the artistic process.


1 - Setting the Records Straight:

 This is a historical examination of comics.  What defines it, where did it come from and most important the definition.

2 - The Vocabulary of Comics:

Because comics is a mixture of pictures and words, Scott McCloud explains the differences of pictures and words to what we see.  Comics are really a language all its own.

3 - Blood in the Gutter:

In this chapter McCloud explores perception of the world and the fragmentation in what we really see. He applies this to comics, in how we don't see everything in a panel, but we trust its there, such as off camera arms and legs. Us humans need closure.

4 - Time Frame:

In this chapter McCloud explores "Time" and how it is different in comics then it is in real life.  Even if comics perception of time is different, time can still be translated for us to understand.

5 - Living in Line:

In this chapter McCloud explores how a single line in comics can mean so much.  Thick to thin lines, broken to complete, zigzag to squiggly, all lines affect the picture some how.  A single change in a smiley face for example, can be happy, sad or undecided by the shape of the line that make the mouth.

6 - Show and Tell:

Another chapter dealing with history of words and pictures and the struggle of balance.  When does pictures in books no longer mean for kids?  Why does fine art and written master pieces have to be arms distance apart?

7 - The Six Steps:

 There are six steps to any form of creating art. These apply to comics, movies, paints, film, etc.
  1. Idea/Purpose
  2. Form - Book? Sculpture? Song? Comic?
  3. Idiom - The Genre, what art of School is it from?
  4. Structure
  5. Craft
  6. Surface

8 - A Word About Color

In this chapter McCloud explores what colors and shades do in a comic.  This chapter is the only chapter to have color, the rest of the chapters remain Black and White

9 - Putting it all Together:

With what we have learned in the Eight Chapters before, McCloud shows us how to Put it all Together.  By recapping everything we have just learned, Scott McCloud reaffirmed our education on "The Invisible Art" of comics. 







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The Invisible Art. 0

What can I say? I am a sucker for the comic book medium and books that make you appreciate the medium are  great in my book.  I can't believe I never read this book until I mentioned it to Dark Noldor. I am not sure if it came off as me recommending it as a way to understand the medium, because at that time I did not read it.  I just panicked when he asked how do I know so much about the medium and if I was a pro.  I am not a pro, I wish I was paid to review, but I do it out of love for ...

8 out of 8 found this review helpful.
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