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How do you understand comics?

Before I read pages 1 through 59 in Understanding Comics, I didn’t think much of comics as I was reading them. I guess you could say I read what was on the surface; to be frank it never occurred to me that a comic could relay a message of such depth. Upon taking this course I haven’t had much experience with comic books, unless you count the occasional DC or Marvel film. I was fascinated by the process that was described by Scott McCloud; it’s almost as if there is a formula in successfully creating a comic. The process is captivating because it isn’t what I originally thought. Yes, it is taking someone’s ideas and putting them on paper but it is much more than that. I originally thought that a comic book was essentially a story with pictures. The definition of a comic is a “juxtaposed pictorial and other images in a deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer” (McCloud). When opening the pages of McCloud’s book your first thought is that the reading shouldn’t take very long because look at how little writing there is compared to art. How wrong I was! Actually, if you really think about the sixty pages we read in Scott McCloud’s textbook, it is probably equivalent to paragraphs upon paragraphs of reading. It’s a different kind of reading because each thought is separated by its own image. I feel as though it is a common misconception that comics are too simple and easy to grasp because they aren’t wordy. I enjoyed McCloud’s reading because it was challenging, but because I wasn’t overwhelmed with pages upon pages of words I felt as though I could understand and dissect what he was communicating to readers. In Comic Book Nation, we read about the history of comics and how they started. When I think of comics and when I try and understand comics I always think of Superman. I don’t know why, but I think he was my older brother’s favorite superhero growing up. I found it incredibly interesting that Superman was the first hugely successful comic book but DC Comics was on edge about putting the superhero in their Adventures comic. A question that came to my mind, because Superman is so successful and has been for so long… How do they decide who/what comics are signed and why? I have been enjoying comics and the creative outlet they allow for quite some time, but I've never really known about the logistics. McCloud's text and Wright's text have given me a sneak peek into the logistics of how comics work... I'm excited to read on and find out more.

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