MS 190: Authorship is the course website for the Fall 2006 Media Studies senior seminar at Pomona College in Claremont, California.
If textbooks were in comic form... *sigh*
Scott McCloud makes an examination of cartooning as a "form of amplification through simplification." He explains, "When we abstract an image through cartooning, we're not so much eliminating details as we are focusing on specific details. By stripping down an image to its essential "meaning," an artist can amplify that meaning in a way that realistic art can't" (30). I like how he states "amplification through simplification" as a way of "amplifying meaning in a way that realistic art can't". I saw a really good example of this in these stick figure post cards that are sold at Pomona's Coop store that play with simple lines and circles to make fun at the expense of real physical life of curves. These stick figure post cards clearly was "stripping down an image to its essential 'meaning'" in order to present the joke in an "amplified" way which realistic art might have a harder time achieving.
But I think this statement of comic as amplification through simplification is true only to a point and only under the right context and circumstances. For example, X-Men would not have the emotional impact it has, and the meaning that it's trying to convey would be lost without the addition of more thorough and complicated details. Thus I think that a balance of detail and simplicity of a comic would be a better mix to getting its message across in certain situations. Scott McCloud makes a mention of how certain comic artists uses this type of mix with backgrounds being more realistic while the characters tend to be more simple and iconic (42). The more I think about this though, the more I have to say, that it really depends on what message is being spoken that will really dictate what will work as the best type of style. In this sense, I really appreciate that picture plane with all the examples of comic artist and where they fit.
All in all, I wish all my textbooks were written in a comic strip format. It's such a creative and effective format. Hopefully one day *sigh*.