I wanted to get back into the habit of blogging every day, but I got sick, and, uh, a few weeks passed, and . . . let's not dwell on the past, okay? I'm here now, if only for a moment.
Since I last posted, we read the first three chapters of Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics, and then took a test over those chapters. The main ideas boil down as follows:
Chapter 1 - McCloud's definition of "comics," AKA, "Juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer."
Chapter 2 - The continuum between "realistic" and "abstract," and the difference between icons, symbols, and pictures. Also: there's nothing wrong with cartoony drawings.
Chapter 3 - The magic of closure, and the six types of panel-to-panel transitions. We spend a lot of time practicing identifying panel transitions. They still never quite got aspect-to-aspect, so I eventually told them not to worry about it, since it hardly ever comes up in American comics. Except in Hellboy.
After all that I figured the students needed a break from the scholarly stuff, so we spent a week looking at newspaper comic strips, with an emphasis on Little Nemo in Slumberland, Krazy Kat, and Peanuts. On Tuesday they spent most of the class reading Peanuts comics, which is not only good practice for reading comprehension but is actually good for the soul. On Wednesday they each researched a different big name newspaper cartoonist, and on Thursday they took a quiz.
Which almost brings us up to date. Today (by which I mean Monday, though I'm writing this shortly before midnight) we moved on past newspaper comics, to the birth of the American comic book. Ah, the American comic book! Is there any subject more fascinating? To you, maybe. I tell you what, if I had been as interested in finance as I am in comic books, I would be a very rich man. But who needs material wealth, when you have handsome reprint volumes of Carl Barks duck comics on your shelf?
Tomorrow: more about Superman!