McCloud's Understanding Comics is a 1993 graphic novel about comics by Scott McCloud. It explores all areas of comics, including the development of comics, fundamental vocabulary, and the different elements of a comic. In chapter 4, McCloud draws on the aspect of time frames in comics. This chapter talks about the combinations of time and space and time and motion within comics, and how comics allow them to be combined in a way that no other medium really allows. McCloud talks about the fact that the panel acts as a general indicator that time or space is being divided, and that the durations of that time and the dimensions of that space are defined more by the contents of the panel than by the panel itself. In a comic, time and space are closely linked. As a result, so are time and motion.
Key Concepts Edit
McCloud talks about how a good way to think about timing in comics is like a rope. "Another way to look at it: Let's think of time as a rope. Each inch represents a second. Such a rope might be said to wind something like this through our panel. Simplified, of course, since each balloon has its own twists and turns." (1) Another thing that he touches up on in this chapter is panel direction in comics and how a cartoonist can switch up the direction and order of panels. "Conditioned as we are to read left-to-right and up-to-down, a mischievous cartoonist can play a number of tricks on us." (1)
Critical Conversations Edit
Has been cited 2934 times according to Google Scholar and it has appeared in various different topics involving hidden meaning and invisible works.
In this graphic novel, the cartoonist actually uses the drawings in the comic as examples of what he is talking about. Here is a few examples of things I talked about in Key Concepts:
In this example, you can see how different panels are different sizes. The panel sizes serve a purpose. Artists of comics design the panels according to the plot and the point they want to get across. Panels are a great way to show time frames. If a panel is extended or there are multiple panels designating one event, this means that a lot of time has passed in the plot. Blank panels are also a great way to show that time has passed.