As a sequence of art about which McCloud talks in the first chapter, comics make use of the nature of the readers’ perception. People can connect the relationship of the story between panels. Comic writers’ job is to determine how much the readers have to work to relate those contents in each frame. Some writers move from one frame to others within a little elapsed time of the story. However, others leave a big gap of event and let the readers use their own experiences to put each part together. The differences in transitions in comics are categorized into six distinct types as discussed in the chapter three. These several types are used to analyze comics by noticing the proportions of each category of transitions in comics. Learning these progressions separates the unique characteristics of western and eastern comics. The distinctive sequence styles lead to the understanding of the different cultures created from how people from many places appreciate comics.
David Small’s Stitches sends a message about the author’s awful childhood to the readers through its theme created by motifs. The author introduces a motif to reflect what he believes in the early scene and repeats it much later. A fetus in the tube scares him when he leaves his mother to play alone in a hospital in the age of six and once again in a restroom when he is eleven. The author employs this fetus to symbolize himself as an angry creature mistreated by his parents. The idea of looking inward provided when he sees himself as a baby in his own neck and told again through his dream, the next primary motif. The author experiences the loneliness and his vulnerability throughout his dreams. He personifies a bat as himself finding a safety place that can protect him from rain. The author draws a dream as a symbol which represents the real insides of humans even if it is fictitious and seems meaningless it has a message in the context of people’s lives. The author, instead of explaining his opinion about his life directly, employs repeated symbols to let the readers to construct their own understandings before he express his views in the end where he lets his images draw his conclusion that can highlight the idea of looking at himself.
With the various kinds of comics, authors contribute to their drawing styles differently to support the content of the stories. Many writers pay attention to a lot details, filling their graphic novels with glorious images. However, some of them choose the opposite choice, scribbling all over panels without many spoons of details but impressively directing the readers to the story themes. Despite the slovenliness, David’s Stitches successfully attracts the readers to be a part of his memory. The readers feel as if they were Davis because of the simplicity of painting which broadened its impact on the readers. While influencing the readers with its simple drawing style, it clearly presents the deep gloom of David’s story. All the strange experiences in his childhood are played in gray hue. The deepened tone intensifies the gravity of David’s feeling which the readers perceive to scare the readers with the peculiar events in his life made as a fairy tale to inform the readers that it teaches them with the serious moral unfold in the end of the story. In addition to the artistic choice which plays a tremendous role in shaping a scene, the specific names appearing on occasion provide the readers with a noteworthy meaning. Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita gives the readers a clue about pop culture at the time. David reveals his own tastes about sex when he shows the name of the controversial novel in the 20th century. As text that appears in the story usually has some meanings, the readers should notice and make information of them. Directly presenting words is a popular technique employed by a handful of writers. Contributed to content, these artistic style and trope altogether highlight the components that give the direction to the readers as a tool of reaching the right purpose of graphic novels.
Since people’s behaviors vary according to where they live, pleasant environments enhance the quality of their lives. However, many people cannot avoid such environments because of the general surrounding of cities they live in. A certain characteristic of a family too results from what members are exposed to as David’s family presents to the readers. The strikingly gloomy landscape of Detroit, where David grew up, depicts the boring urban lifestyle in the hometown where every house looks the same. As the images impress the readers with unhappiness of the story, the drawing style also have a tremendous role in highlighting the seriousness of his family. The graphics affect how the readers foresee the problem of the protagonist. Exposed to the pollution from the plant nearby the village, David’s parents and brother are furious, venting their anger by hitting objects. However, in the beginning, the author makes an argument by presenting opposite plot. The kindness of Elizabeth toward her son is left mysterious amid the offensiveness of the whole family and even herself. The answer could be clear in the later scene and argue that surrounding is not the only factor affecting people’s behavior.
What people think of jazz music would be improvisation. People practicing music know that they have to master instruments to the certain level to be able to improvise, but on the way to such achievement they, at least once, might hear the myth from some charlatans like, “Improvisation is improvisation. Don’t think. Don’t prepare.” However, the story of Bud Freeman, a Jazz musician, clearly explains to the readers that, “True improvisation comes out of hard work…Since it’s in your head, it comes out when you play.” This statement, even if it does not sound special, has a big impact to the readers who are interested in music and awkwardly perform crummy licks because a creative wonderful piece of improvisation results from hard working. Musicians will be able to express themselves through improvisation by practicing. That is why jazz always new to them and Freeman. When people stop thinking that their jobs are chores, they enjoy what they do and create lifestyles from their own characters. Freeman says that, “I do what I want because I want to do it… We can only please the audience doing what we do. We have to please ourselves first.” Unlike most of interviewees who complain about their jobs, only people working for pleasure achieve their chosen profession. Just as people think that working is reward, freedom leads them to understand their own being and thinking.
As graphic novels present the readers the ideas with both visual and contents, writers usually make use of this characteristic for the purpose of leading readers to appreciate the work. However, writers sometimes do not balance this quality of comics but make one components more outstanding. Stories, telling different lives of working people, written by many writers using various styles, well display the balances of such quality. Graphics on occasion reflects realistic aspects of societies better than putting text in speech balloons. The frightening truth told in the story of Bill Talcott, an organizer, exemplifies the use of metaphors about the social structure during the Industrial Revolution which limited people’s thoughts and tied them into greed and selfishness. The writer outstandingly illustrates struggling lives of people with the sarcastic images explaining how the society went at the time rather than using dialog. Even if pictures are sometimes used to strike the readers, contents should come first. Some writers do not have to use a storm of ironic pictures but express stories straightforwardly. The writer expresses the society through the debauched life of Roberta Victor, a hooker who follows all hopeless routes. The story is well-organized and easy to read but portrays the appalling aspect of such a rotten society that includes even the judge and the wealthy executive. To convey ideas to readers, writers employ different styles of writing and characteristics of comics. Readers can find the right track to follow the writers’ thoughts promoted by both elements of a graphic novel.
Impressed by the name Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, the readers would expect to find a definition that describes the word “comics” in the first chapter. McCould starts by using the definition to rectify the understanding of the readers in order to attract them to change their perspectives on comics. With broaden definition, McCould shows that comics are not fables for children but a kind of art which represents people’s ideas and cultures as shown in the past. By tracing back to historical evidences, the author tries to create a clear definition of comics and generalize the meaning that covers some piece of art. Many work stated in this chapter shows a violent practice of people in the past such as The Tortures of Saint of Erasmus, William Hogarth’s A Harlot’s Progress, and Max Ernst’s A Week of Kindness. The work contains pictures that might compel the readers to raise a question why McCloud has to use such offensive images to define comics in which most people think about funny jokes or caricatures. Without finding these components that appear in regular comics, some readers think after finishing the first chapter that they see nothing entertaining here and might ask a question why McCloud puts gravity in the a book that even has the word “comics” in its name. Probably, the definition would be so broadened that “our attempts to define comics are an on-going process which won’t end anytime soon.”