Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Welcome and Questions for Eisner and McCloud

Since Summer school starts officially tomorrow, I decided to unveil the first post for our whirlwind Summer course (which will actually take as long as a typical Intercession class to complete, I just didn't want to start at the normal Intercession time right after Finals). 

Check your e-mail, since I have sent you the syllabus with the brief course calendar. It's very simple--for every reading, you will have a series of questions to respond to. The first two are specific to the handouts, and then the next 5 follow a template (which I'll give you soon). So for this week, I want you to read the handouts by Eisner and McCloud, and you'll find questions for them below. This shouldn't take you long, but read carefully: these readings are foundational to everything we'll do in our class. 

Answer ALL SIX questions as a comment, or as an e-mail attachment to by Friday at 5pm

Eisner. from Comics and Sequential Art

Q1: What does Eisner mean when he discusses the "grammar" of comics? What does it consist of, and how can it help us read comics (or understand what we're seeing)?

Q2: Traditionally, Western culture makes a distinction between art and text. Why do comics break down this distinction, and furthermore, why might we consider art AS text (or text as art)? 

Q3: What is the purpose of frames/panels in a comic book? Why is it necessary and how can it be manipulated by the comic book artist? 

McCloud, from Understanding Comics

Q1: What does McCloud mean when he writes, "Cartooning isn't just a way of drawing, it's a way of seeing"? Would Eisner agree with this (in the earlier handout)?

Q2: What might be the advantage of telling a comic through a more cartoony, stylized point of view rather than a more photo-realistic one? While many people assume that cartoons make the work read "younger," why might this be a misreading of the artist's intention? 

Q3: The most important thing in this handout are the pages on Word and Picture Combinations. While most people assume that comics are simply "Picture Specific" or "Word Specific," comics rarely rely on this very simplistic mode of storytelling. "Interdependent" storytelling is the most commonly used, and the most literary form of word + image combinations. Why is this? What does it allow the writer/artist to do with the story that even a traditional novel wouldn't be able to accomplish?

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