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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Review: Making Comics

Making Comics is perhaps the logical sequel to Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics, a really great book deconstructing comic books, how they work, and what the medium is about.

Having done so, McCloud sets out to write a book for practitioners, showing how to construct comics. Obviously, the most important construction tool is the story, but nobody can really teach you how to be a great story teller like Alan Moore, so he focuses on the tools you have available to you.

McCloud gave an hour talk about this book at Google, and it was a great talk (unfortunately, it will not be out on video any time soon). He explores sequence construction, drawing humans, faces, and body language, how to integrate words with pictures, and world building. The penultimate chapter is probably the only chapter that non-comic book writers would read and find interesting, which is a taxonomy of comic book creators, and what they are about.

The construction process is interesting, and well laid out for a course about comics. I doubt, however, that someone like Alan Moore would need it, so I scratch my head thinking about what the audience for this book is. Probably the fanboy, or the aspiring comic book artist in school. As with writing, having an understanding of novel construction doesn't mean that you'll construct a great novel, while great novelists do not necessarily spend a lot of time thinking about novel construction, but the book itself is entertaining and perhaps when I read a comic book next time, I'll analyze it differently because of what I learnt in this book.

I enjoyed this book, but think that most people are better off with McCloud's prior book, Understanding Comics. Not because this book is bad, but it's for a specific audience, and if you're not a fanboy, you probably won't be interested.

Worth picking up at the library.

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