Reading McCloud's "Understanding Comics," the first thing that struck me was its similarity to Welling's "Ecoporn." On pages 32 and 33, McCloud says that humans inexplicably see ourselves in inanimate objects. "We humans are a self-centered race. We see ourselves in everything. We assign identities and emotions where none exist. And we make the world over in our image (32-33)." Welling writes on page 57 of Ecoporn, "[e]copornography is a type of visual discourse made up of highly idealized, anthropomorphized views of landscapes and nonhuman animals. [...] these images are often composed or manipulated to stress their subjects' innate similarities to the human body and to human social and power structures[.]" They both suggest that humans cannot feel a connection to nonhuman animals/objects without anthropomorphizing them, and that transitions us into the idea that icons are often vague so that they can be more relatable. For the English major this also ties in with Ong's "The Writer's Audience is Always Fiction." The idea is that an audience will lose interest if they cannot relate to the character. You must know your audience well enough to give them information that they can use to imagine themselves in your text, or else you may lose them.
On page 36 McCloud talks about how we have a hard time imagining what we look like. In a way, I think this means that we are already predisposition to imagine ourselves as other characters. We are ready to jump in someone else's shoes or empathize with a cartoon on TV. We are even ready to be lost in a book, to become something we can't even see and can only visualize in our minds. I am torn between whether this is an act of empathy or an act of selfishness. Is is that we want to empathize with others, or that we cannot be interested in them if they are not reflections of us? It is probably a combination of both. I think we can only understand what we already have knowledge of, and if there is no pre-existing knowledge then we have to piece it together by what knowledge we do have of it. That is, if someone showed you a submarine and you had no idea what a submarine was, you would have to figure out what qualities a submarine has before you could define it. Even if they explained to you what it was, it's not a sure thing that you would understand, because you might perceive a submarine differently than they do. So say you're watching Sex and the City and you're thinking to yourself, "why would Carrie put up with Big for so long?" but you can't actually have any idea because you're not Carrie. So you start trying to rationalize it, and you think about your past/current relationship/s and then you realize. Oh... Sadface. It's not that you're so self-absorbed you have to inject yourself into every situation to find it interesting, just that you cannot understand Carrie's situation unless you have the proper lens to see it.