Saturday, March 25, 2006

Defining comics

Ok, don't tell my wife, but yesterday I bought three books — shhh! I only intended to buy one, anything by Scott McCloud, but ended up getting three books instead.

My purchases: Reinventing comics — How Imagination and Technology Are Revolutionizing an art form, and Understanding Comics, both by McCloud. I also picked up a signed copy of Seadogs: An Epic Ocean Operetta, written by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Mark Siegel. I know what your thinking: "Devas T., I thought you had no interest in graphic novels." Well, I didn't. But suddenly I do.

In just the first few pages of Understanding Comics, McCloud addressed one of the main problems I've experienced with comics and graphic novels. I felt that comic books were simply cheap and crude, and surly not an artform I'd want to identify with. And in my mind, graphic novels were just an extension of that belief. The problem: my definition of comics was too narrow. According to McCloud, I wasn't alone in my limited thinking.

Using a comic book style of storytelling, McCloud opened my mind up to cartooning, or comics and offered an intelligent definition, as well as a history of comics, and more.

Comics: Juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or produce and aesthetic response in the viewer.

I like that! I can do that! Yes, I am a cartoonist, too!

But I won't lose my children's book illustrator hat anytime soon.


Cynthia Leitich Smith said...

Don, I've been reading comics/graphic novels for years and have collected a stack of how-to books that you're welcome to borrow. Let me know if you're interested, and I can either drop them off to you at work or you're welcome to swing by. Best, Cyn

rindambyers said...

I must confess! My dad got us some COMICS to read when I was in upper grade school. They were very special and expensive and hard to get overseas, but he managed to snag a few for us. I LOVED them all from Superman to the Great Classics Comics. Having words and pictures play together like makes for a very special reading experience, I think. I think I've said before how much I enjoy your cartoons! Well, I'll say it again then, loud and clear: I LOVE YOUR CARTOONS, DON!

paula said...

Please share more as you read and learn from the books. Oh...and you can tell Mrs. Devas T. that the books are tax-deductable. : D

The Gig said...

Ohhhhhh -- I'm gonna tell the wife... ha, ha