The comicbook version ended with a giant squid...
January 31, 2009 3:18 PM   Subscribe

Understanding comics - Scott McCloud recaps his comics theory work at TED.

He also has two more graphic novels on the way.

Lots of previously.
posted by Artw (29 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
The talk is from 2005, but they just posted it up.
posted by Artw at 3:21 PM on January 31, 2009

He also has two more graphic novels on the way.

I just wish he'd reprint Destroy!!
posted by Joe Beese at 3:43 PM on January 31, 2009

Not to be forgotten (by a long-shot): Google Chrome
posted by humannaire at 3:51 PM on January 31, 2009

He also has two more graphic novels on the way.

The first, tentatively titled The Sculptor, will be released in the Spring of 2013

I'll mark my calendar!

Has any other "Understanding Comics" style work be published by others?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:53 PM on January 31, 2009

Old, and more prosey than McClouds approach, but still good: Will Eisners Comics as Sequential Art.
posted by Artw at 3:59 PM on January 31, 2009

I have to admit enjoying the ongoing spat between him and the Penny Arcade duo. Snarky, true, but he was wrong about micropayments.
posted by anthill at 4:17 PM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

If my parents had named me Scott McCloud, I'd probably be into comics, too.

Sadly, the McJanitor clan has a different path to tread. And sweep.
posted by spiderwire at 4:17 PM on January 31, 2009

Another 2005 comment from here:
At the core of [McCloud's vision of webcomics] is a discussion about business, whether Scott McCloud wants to phrase it that way or not. It is about the ability of a creator to earn a living. We will never see eye to eye on this because he is a charlatan. Imagine if Moses had lead the Israelites not to the promised land, but to an empty fucking parking lot.
posted by anthill at 4:21 PM on January 31, 2009

"Reading Comics" by Douglas Wolk.
posted by wolfewarrior at 4:24 PM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't even know if he was "wrong" about micropayments as he was "ahead of his time." The financial model didn't exist to support the idea.

Almost everybody making a living in webcomics is making it from subscribers to exclusive content (or just flat-out to support the site), t-shirt or other merch sales, or straight-out pleas for cash. I don't think people are making a go of it on ad revenue alone. I may be out of date on that, but IIRC that's what the situation was a few years back, at least.

Even though it didn't work, I had a lot of respect for McCloud for trying to find ways for young creators to make a living from their work. He didn't need to bust his ass trying to figure out ways to make webcomics function, and those that railed at him tended to be successful webcomics creators that had a vested interest in making sure nobody stole their thunder.
posted by Shepherd at 4:31 PM on January 31, 2009

"The talk is from 2005, but they just posted it up."
posted by Eideteker at 4:55 PM on January 31, 2009

His book changed my life! That's weird. Thanks for the links, though.
posted by unknowncommand at 5:01 PM on January 31, 2009

Micropayments were a dumb idea. You can probably do it today with things like Amazon DevPay, but no one wants to spend 0.1¢ for 30 seconds of entertainment or whatever. A buffet model makes more sense.
posted by delmoi at 5:07 PM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

That was great, but I it got really rushed at the end.

I'm going to pick up his book now; it looks great. Thanks for posting this!
posted by defenestration at 5:07 PM on January 31, 2009

Brandon: also the book Reinventing Comics which talks about the changes because of the digital age.
posted by metricfan at 5:16 PM on January 31, 2009

I was excited to learn about this video, given my admiration for many of the other TED talks and McCloud's "Understanding Comics", but I'm a little disappointed by the talk itself. The last third of the talk is fantastic but too rushed, as defenestration noted, and I wish McCloud had cut to the chase a lot sooner. I guess I just prefer my lectures less "cartoon-like".
posted by oulipian at 5:34 PM on January 31, 2009

That was a great video. When I see stuff that shows me the potential for creativity and art in the digital age, I get really inspired. Like the feeling I get with the Anthropology of YouTube lecture.

Thanks for the link
posted by metricfan at 5:34 PM on January 31, 2009

When going through the original Beanworld issues, I was surprised to see McCloud's name in the letters section. Seems he's been around for a while.

Well, it was news to me.
posted by JHarris at 6:08 PM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Just started reading understanding comics in my comics class, I'm excited to see this, thanks a lot ArtW
posted by Del Far at 6:29 PM on January 31, 2009

I just interviewed Scott for my public radio show a couple weeks ago, and he was really wonderful. I'm shocked to hear that he's had snarky exchanges with anyone, he was such a nice fella. Of course, I greatly admire his work.
posted by YoungAmerican at 7:15 PM on January 31, 2009

"Reading Comics" by Douglas Wolk

Anymore, anyone? Non-american examples?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:16 PM on January 31, 2009

Brandon, you might like Mark Newgarden's How To Read Nancy (PDF) - and if you do, be sure to check out McCloud's own Five-Card Nancy (and the interactive version).

There are several good essays about comics in McSweeney's #13 (edited by Chris Ware), including one by John Updike. And a ton of great comics from all over the place, to boot.
posted by oulipian at 7:30 PM on January 31, 2009

Inventing Comics by Dylan Horrock. (A great meditation on some of the inconsistencies and contradictions at the heart of McCloud's definition of comics.)
posted by Missiles K. Monster at 7:39 PM on January 31, 2009 [2 favorites]

That was great, but I it got really rushed at the end.

The whole thing seems like they sped up the video.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:15 PM on January 31, 2009

I just realized I never knew what he really looked like, although I've "recognized" him for years now.
posted by yhbc at 8:27 PM on January 31, 2009

Brandon, not sure exactly what you're looking for, so here's a shotgun blast of stuff in print that could be applicable.

The System of Comics by Therry Groensteen
(formalistic contrast to Wolk's Reading Comics)

99 Ways to Tell a Story by Matt Madden
(a style exercise that makes a good companion to McCloud's work)

Drawing Words and Writing Pictures by Matt Madden and Jessica Abel
(a textbook on creating comics)

The Comics Journal
(a pretty good regular source of comics criticism)

The Imp by Daniel Raeburn
(exhaustive analysis of a few creators/styles)

Chris Ware by Daniel Raeburn
(the imp that became a book)

And don't forget McCloud's other books... Making Comics and Reinventing Comics (which contains the controversial path to the "empty fucking parking lot").

I'm reading Reading Comics right now. It's reeeeely light, but there are some great nuggets in there.

Also, you can probably find slightly under a billion dissertations/theses/papers on "reading between the panels." But that whole discussion is a sham.
posted by pokermonk at 8:38 AM on February 1, 2009

22 Comics panels that always work
posted by Artw at 9:06 AM on February 1, 2009

I know that the "Classics Illustrated" comics that I got as a kid lead directly to me reading a lot of those books.
posted by DaddyNewt at 10:06 AM on February 2, 2009

About Digital Comics - really neat little peice. Click on the arrows, and don't worry that it looks blank at first.
posted by Artw at 12:07 AM on February 10, 2009

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