aug 17

Understanding McCloud

Scott McCloud, the author of Understanding Comics, read -- or, rather, presented and danced and pontificated -- last night at The Walker. My entry into his work is odd. He was first revealed to me through information architects -- people looking at the organization and distribution of content. Then, later, his name came up in literary studies -- people looking at narrative forms. Put those two together, and you have Scott McCloud.

I didn't realize that in the eight years since his most seminal work he had become a spokesman for not only developing new comic forms for the internet, but something of an internet pundit in general. (The follow-up, Reinventing Comics, goes head-on into a topic that no one's ever mastered: digital narrative. It's next on my reading list.)

His presentation was insightful, and I highly suggest jumping into some of his online experiments which test narrative forms in interesting ways. Start out with "Porphyria's Lover" from a Robert Browning poem and "Coins of the Realm" about digital marketplace aesthetics. (These case-studies make me wish I was still an undergrad studying Structuralism, planning a senior thesis.)

When you've exhausted that, there's one site that McCloud suggested in his talk: Killer stuff in there too.

Oh, I should mention this too: The Industry Standard is done.

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