LITERATURE: Scott McCloud’s The Right Number

September 9th, 2007 by Susan

Though I’m not a big fan of comic books now that I’m grown up (ooooow!) I do acknowledge them and the graphic novel as a fascinating medium of story.  In a New Media class, I read Scott McCloud’s book on Understanding Comics and learned an awful lot not just about the combination of text and images but much that would apply to text only in describing images.  I really have to get myself a copy of that book.

In wandering around the weblogs this morning I clicked on Scott McCloud’s site and from there, checked out his latest work in progress which is presented online The Right Number 1 (and 2), and in a new format of zooming in page to page.  This has certainly changed the image of traditional comic strip layout.  For one thing, one or at the most, two panels are available at a time, with the inset of the next panel embedded within it.  The method  of reading has not only changed from paper format of turning pages, but from one of the established online interactive ways of reading, that is, clicking on buttons or arrows to progress.  Now, the zooming effect is what McCloud has implemented, as the small "next" panel zooms in to cover the previous.  Clicking on the panel is only one method of going from frame to frame.  Another is a layout of numbered squares that correspond to page numbers.

On the visual end of things, the colors of this particular story are two shades of blue and white.  The theme is numbers, and the plot is one number gotten wrong–or right–changes relationships and lives.

While I’m not likely to start writing graphic narratives in the format of comic strip style, I just know I’m going to learn something from McCloud that’s valuable.

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