The Invisible Art: Reflections to Understanding Comics

Understanding Comics is more than a comic book. Scott McCloud uses simple and illustrative comics to demonstrate the history and characteristic of comics as a form of art. At first I do not understand why he would have the subtitle as The Invisible Art. In my knowledge, comics may not be receiving the same acclaim of traditional paintings, it is still an accepted art form. While I read the “struggle” of McCloud trying to give a definition of comics, I see the reason why he calls comics as “the invisible art”. We have confused comics with other forms of art, and we have encountered with comics almost anywhere in life thus losing the clear mind of what comics actually is. The invisibility is not that comics is not being realized as a form of art, but the fact that it is almost everywhere.

McCloud uses the main character, the boy with glasses, to demonstrate the skills of comic painting, story-telling, layout, etc. As a reader, it is extremely easy to accept all the professional knowledge of comic drawing because McCloud writes/draws in a way that he seems to be talking directly to readers.

I find it really amazing that McCloud puts forward the notion of universality of comics in his work. He claims that by abstracting the specific characteristics of a character, people will tend to connect more to the character. Also I think the universality of comics also lies in the fact that anyone can pick up a pen to draw, however well or bad. This universal act of drawing contributes to the wide-spread understanding and resonation of comics. Also, he relates our childhood appreciation of cartoon: “I believe this is the primary cause of our childhood fascination with cartoons. Though other factors such as universal identification, simplicity and the childlike features also play a part. (McCloud 36)”

Although I am not a fan of comics and extremely disliked the cartoon drawing when I learned to paint in my childhood, I think McCloud has shed new lights on the understanding of comics. Indeed, he has led me into the understanding and appreciation of comics. Comics is more than drawing, it is a concept. Behind the comics there are a world to be discovered.

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