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The Effectiveness Of Mccloud’s Appeal Essay

1980 words - 8 pages

The most common art forms artists and writers utilize to express their ideas and creativity are fine arts, novels, and films. They are widely accepted and pedestrian. All three have renowned awards ceremonies for the best in their field, displays in galleries and museums, recognition in the news through the media, and have classes teaching or analyzing them in schools. Against traditional media that have already achieved international public acceptance, a relatively new, and different art form like comics, does not stand a chance in gaining the respect it deserves. However, there are some people who have tried to build a reputation for comics and help others better understand them. Scott ...view middle of the document...

Even in bookstores, this book is placed in the “Graphic Novel” section, where adults rarely browse. However, it is common for teenagers and college students to frequent that section, and be interested by what is available there.
For teenagers and college students who have not strayed too far from their childhood memories when they were exposed to cartoons and picture books, reading a comic book is both more alluring and relaxing than an assigned 500 page novel or complex textbook. In contrast, an adult would be much more likely to pick up a more serious looking novel filled with pages of text rather than one with a plethora of cartoons, pictures and colors accented with short inserts of conversation and narration. Unsurprisingly, there is usually a lack of picture books in the areas of the library or bookstore where most adults are frequently seen browsing, for example, the fiction and nonfiction areas. Even the young adult sections lack books with pictures but possess plenty of thicker text-filled novels. However, the children’s sections are stocked with books packed with color and illustrations. Even McCloud himself recognizes the fact that many adults do not respect comics, and shows this with a small panel on page 3 depicting two middle-aged men using the phrase “comic book talk” to regard some “talk” as unworthy (McCloud 3). Comics essentially fulfill all the characteristics adults use to deem a book unimportant and easily dismissive. In this case, the comic book form of the pedagogical Understanding Comics fulfills those characteristics and can easily be dismissed by adults but rather welcomed by teenagers and college students.
The comic book format is not the only technique that McCloud employs that ends up appealing to the younger crowd. Throughout Understanding Comics, there is one drawing on almost every page—the cartoon depiction of McCloud himself. This mechanism’s original intention might have been to smoothly lead the reader through all of McCloud’s points, and to act as a tour guide and facilitate clarity. Yet, the simple character with basic features and glasses dressed in a checkered blazer and black pants is too “cute” for an older reader. McCloud tries to depict himself as plainly as possible to seemingly create an unbiased, neutral tour guide, but the cartoon ends up as more of a likeable and aesthetically pleasing character than anything else. The cartoon McCloud never just stands there and states his thoughts, instead he performs different body movements and gestures, creating a certain degree of interaction with the reader. McCloud’s cartoon presence and behavior throughout suggests a childish nature to the book. However, adults do accept instructions as they learn new things, but usually in a more formal manner. For example, if a doctor was learning about a new form of cancer treatment, he or she would read articles and books showing diagrams. A computer programmer learning a new computer language would read a...

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