Goodreads Book Review: Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud

Understanding Comics: The Invisible ArtUnderstanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book for a silly reason. I heard (through @amypop’s book) that Joss Whedon gets all his writers to read it, so I figured there must be something to learn…

There’s a lot to learn. It’s a bit about the history of comics, a discussion about comics as an art form, a very good dissertation on the mechanics and form of comics. It was interesting, insightful and entertaining. I always knew which comics worked for me and which didn’t and this book gave me a better handle on why some worked and some didn’t. I really enjoyed reading it. Hence the five stars.

The next time I read a comic, I’ll appreciate the style and nuances of framing a lot more than I did before. (Reading the book inspired me to go and buy a graphic novel or two – something I haven’t done in since I left Uni).

If you’re a newbie novelist who wants to learn about timing and pace in dialogue, the section on timing is brilliant.

All this is very good, but does it help me as a novelist? Not really. If I wanted to write graphic novels, then yes. Prose, not so much. What there is, I’d already learned from other writing books. But then again, since I don’t know what I don’t know – maybe I just don’t realise what I’ve missed.

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