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How have we changed our definition of the comic form over time?

Since finishing “Understanding Comics”, my entire view on comics has changed. Before, I thought comics were just superheroes books with a format that was mostly pictured based. I thought the authors created these comics simply because they enjoyed this format better than writing everything out like other books. I also thought that maybe they used pictures because they had a very specific way they wanted readers to see their characters instead of leaving it all up to the reader’s imagination. Though this may be true, I understand now that they aren’t just drawing pictures and writing the dialogue for the story that they want to publish. There is actually more to comics then what we see on the surface. For example, the shapes of the panels. Sometimes, when reading a comic book, we will come across a page where the shape of a panel is diagonal instead of straight, or there is a really large panel at the top and then four smaller ones at the bottom. According to Scott McCloud, this is not just by chance. The author is actually trying to convey a meaning through the panel sizes and shapes. It could mean that the author is trying to put more emphasis on the bigger picture than the smaller ones. It could also mean that the author is using a different transition category between the panels. The previous page could be using subject to subject, and the four smaller panels are using moment to moment. This change could be to better emphasis a big scene coming up in the next story or it could just be trying to convey an emotion from the readers. There are some different meanings that the author is trying to convey which shows that comics have more depth than I thought.

Another thing that has helped me changed my view on comics is learning about its history and its effect on society. Comics, as we know and define them now, go back about a hundred years or so. Some say that comics actually started more that a thousand years ago, back in the Egyptian time. In the beginning of the 20th century, comics were known as short, simple strips that came out in newspapers. This all changed however when Siegel and Shuster created the comic book character that will forever change the comic book industry. Superman had a major impact on society. It was a new kind of comic that intrigued many different kinds of audiences. Some were skeptical at first when they saw a man holding a car over his head as the cover of the comic but it eventually became the most popular comic ever made. As time went on, comics evolved into the more graphic, detailed comics we know today. More and more comics were released and became really popular throughout the decade. Superman paved the way for Batman, Wonder woman, X-men and many other famous comic book characters that we know today.


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