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Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novelsby Scott McCloud
Synopses & Reviews
Scott McCloud tore down the wall between high and low culture in 1993 with Understanding Comics, a massive comic book about comics, linking the medium to such diverse fields as media theory, movie criticism, and web design. In Reinventing Comics, McCloud took this to the next level, charting twelve different revolutions in how comics are generated, read, and perceived today.
Now, in Making Comics, McCloud focuses his analysis on the art form itself, exploring the creation of comics, from the broadest principles to the sharpest details (like how to accentuate a character's facial muscles in order to form the emotion of disgust rather than the emotion of surprise.) And he does all of it in his inimitable voice and through his cartoon stand–in narrator, mixing dry humor and legitimate instruction. McCloud shows his reader how to master the human condition through word and image in a brilliantly minimalistic way. Comic book devotees as well as the most uninitiated will marvel at this journey into a once–underappreciated art form.
"Every medium should be lucky enough to have a taxonomist as brilliant as McCloud. The follow-up to his pioneering Understanding Comics (and its flawed sequel Reinventing Comics) isn't really about how to draw comics: it's about how to make drawings become a story and how cartooning choices communicate meaning to readers. ('There are no rules,' he says, 'and here they are.') McCloud's cartoon analogue, now a little gray at the temples, walks us through a series of dazzlingly clear, witty explanations (in comics form) of character design, storytelling, words and their physical manifestation on the page, body language and other ideas cartoonists have to grapple with, with illustrative examples drawn from the history of the medium. If parts of his chapter on 'Tools, Techniques and Technology' don't look like they'll age well, most of the rest of the book will be timelessly useful to aspiring cartoonists. McCloud likes to boil down complicated topics to a few neatly balanced principles; his claim that all facial expressions come from degrees and combinations of six universal basic emotions is weirdly reductive and unnerving, but it's also pretty convincing. And even the little ideas that he tosses off — like classifying cartoonists into four types — will be sparking productive arguments for years to come. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Like his previous books, this is thoughtful, fascinating, stimulating, potentially controversial, and inspiring." Library Journal
"The volume covers a lot of ground and always in comic-strip format that McCloud's mastery makes easy going. There's plenty of practical value here for neophyte and veteran artists alike; meanwhile, those content to just read other peoples' comics will have their appreciation of the medium enhanced." Booklist
Book News Annotation:
Focusing on the storytelling aspects of comics, McCloud offers advice on choosing which moments to draw, the right distance and angle to view those moments, image style, words that add information, and flow layout. Comic frames illustrate character design, facial expressions, body language, environments, pencil and brush variations, and drawing techniques. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
In a voice that mixes dry humor and clear, concise instruction, McCloud's cartoon narrator shows readers how to master the human condition through word and image in a brilliantly minimalist way. Comic book devotees as well as the most uninitiated will marvel at this journey into a once-underappreciated art form.
About the Author
Scott McCloud has been writing, drawing, and examining comics since 1984. Winner of the Eisner and Harvey awards, his works — which include Zot!, Understanding Comics, and Reinventing Comics — have been translated into more than sixteen languages. Frank Miller (Sin City, 300) called him "just about the smartest guy in comics." He lives with his family in southern California. His online comics and inventions can be found at scottmccloud.com.
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