October 8, 2012

Finding Yourself in the Cartoon

This was my first time reading McCloud's "Vocab of Comics" and to start I was quite pleased with his genre choice. Instead of reading just another pdf. text, it was a refreshing change up to read a comic strip. Just as McCloud claimed to be true, my brain saw a general version of myself in the cartoon explaining the different terms of comics (36). I could identify with the universal identification, childlike features, and simplicity (36) of the cartooned version of McCloud in the piece. And although I could identify with the "narrator" I still found no need to focus on the messenger as a real character (like what he ate for lunch, of his political views), instead I just concentrated on the messages he was attempting to present (37).

Naturally from the title of the piece, McCloud dives into some vocabulary terms of cartooning and such. His first definition is "icon"- meaning any image used to represent a person, place, thing, or idea (27). McCloud makes sure to mention that this is different from the term "symbol"; he believes that symbol is too loaded and that symbol is simply a category of icon to represent concepts, ideas, and philosophies (27). Some icons include: ying-yangs, American flags, Star of David, or a Jesus fish.  Icons of language and communication include, letters, numbers, punctuation, and music notes (27). McCloud believes that these icons are abstracted representations and lack significant connections to the ideas they represent. Another kind of icons are pictures. pictures are images designed to identically resemble their subjects (27). Pictures meaning are fluid and variable according to their appearance (28). Non-pictorial icons are fixed and absolute, their appearance does not affect their meaning because they represent invisible ideas such as the peace sign, or the number 8 (28).


Nicole Lynn said...

Like you, I also liked the definitions that McCloud used to separate the words icon, symbol, and picture. At a basic level when only looking at a picture as a picture or the number as a number 8 I agree with his usage of these. But they are certainly interchangeable with symbols, we are able to make anything into a symbol due to the way we create meaning, or signification so easily. I also think that icons and pictures have a level depth due to signification that does not necessarily have to be symbolism, but how we differentiate these of course becomes complicated.

Cookie said...

I agree, we are always in our own minds. Symbols have to be interchangeable because we use symbols everyday for different meanings. Like how "8" can be seen as a number but to others it could be a figure when ice skating. It all depends on context in order for one another to have an understanding.

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