Words and Images…Understanding McCloud

CLOSE ANALYSIS OF WORDS AND IMAGES

Let’s begin by reviewing Scott McCloud’s Ch. 6 of Understanding Comics. This chapter in particular is where McCloud discusses the different kinds of interrelationship that words and images can share.

Here is a PowerPoint of the whole chapter: McCloud Ch. 6

intro

Specifically, McCloud highlights SEVEN combinations:

  1. Word Specific
  2. Picture Specific
  3. Duo Specific
  4. Additive
  5. Parallel
  6. Montage
  7. Inter-Dependent

Part 1: Reviewing What McCloud Says

word

Word Specific basically relies on the words to tell the narrative while imagery acts as a kind of ornamentation.

picture

Picture Specific is the inverse of Word Specific. Here the use of words acts as ornamentation to the imagery or pictures that are conveying the actual narrative.

duo

Duo-Specific acts as a situation where words and images are complimentary to one another in the fact that they basically convey “the same message.”

additive

Additive is where the words serve as a means of amplifying or elaborating on the image that is communicating the narrative.

parallel

Parallel demonstrates a situation where the words and images appear to be conveying “parallel” but separate narratives. This can be more easily identified or isolated often times when one is only shown a page or panel or two of a comic or graphic novel without knowing the entire context. It can also represent some esoteric storytelling too.

montage

Montage is where the words and images are part of the same framework. This is where the words in particular become part of the actual image.

inter-dependent

Inter-Dependent is noted by McCloud to be the “most common” combination. This is where words and pictures/images convey different meanings separately but in combination convey a meaning that neither has without the other.

Part 2: Putting McCloud Into Practice

Here are some random selection of images that I have put together from digital graphic novels that I own, mainly from the superhero genre, and I want you to look at each and using McCloud’s definitions, define which combination each image appeared to embody.

The images I showed the students were selected at random:

Images 1-3

Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow by Alan Moore and Curt Swan and George Perez

Images 4-5

Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely

Image 6

Justice League #1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee

Images 7-9 

Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross

Images 10-11 

All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely

Image 12 

Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland

Here is what the students came up for as a consensus as combinations after reading McCloud and examining the following image:

IMAGE 1

1

IMAGE 2

2

IMAGE 3

3

LET’S FOCUS IN A BIT HERE

screen-shot-2015-07-21-at-7-41-52-pm

screen-shot-2015-07-21-at-7-41-59-pm

screen-shot-2015-07-21-at-7-42-05-pm

IMAGE 4

4

IMAGE 5

5

IMAGE 6

6

IMAGE 7

8

IMAGE 8

9

IMAGE 9

10

IMAGE 10

11

IMAGE 11

12

IMAGE 12

13

Part 3: Conclusions and Observations

The purpose of this exercise with the students is reinforce and introduce, to expand upon their our perceptions and vocabulary of the combination of visuals and words they are encountering in their readings.

 

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Author:

Recently received my PhD in Rhetoric from Texas Woman's University

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