October 7, 2012

Icons and Cartoons

I've read Scott McCloud before for another class, and in fact own the book this excerpt was taken from, and remember enjoying it very much. However, it is always an experience going back over concepts after you have learned more and gained more experience with the subject matter. When I first read Understanding Comics, I remember my mind being blown; I had never encountered these concepts before, had never thought to ask these questions. The result at the end of the class was me leaving with a very different view of the world and how I perceive the signs and symbols in it. Looking back over it again, I am once again floored by the ease at which McCloud handles these concepts, and how simply the explanations come across to the audience. Finding faces in inanimate objects is something every human being on the planet can relate to having done, at least once, and it highlights the fact that our conceptions of ourselves and our identities are drawn with only the barest outlines.

What continues to affect me in McCloud’s writing, is his explanation of our individual perceptions of ourselves, how it is so much less detailed than our perceptions of others, and we are really only aware of a few selects parts of ourselves at a time. For example, as I sit here, I am very aware of my glasses sitting on the bridge of my nose, because I usually do not wear them. Therefore, my perception of myself is more like McCloud’s illustration of himself on page 28, in the middle, where he removes his glasses, and has no eyes on his face. I perceive my glasses as my eyes.

Having been refreshed in these ideas, I really look forward to applying them to Persepolis this week. How does the narrative use the tropes and ideals McCloud has outlined to involve us in the story, in a world which is incredibly foreign to American readers. How will our concepts of cartoons aid in understanding the message of Persepolis?

1 comment:

Shanae Simon said...

I agree that we perceive signs and symbols as "an extension of our identities(39), but I ask is that all he is trying to communicate? I have to say that I feel there is more to this text than cartoons being an extension of ourselves. What about the texts connected to the icons? I feel that Mccloud is showing how the mind connects symbols to ourselves so that we can understand the text. I think that is why he spent more time discussing the images than the actual words because the images is how we associate with the words.

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