book review

Reinventing Comics

Scott McCloud (2000)

Like its predecessor Understanding Comics (1993) this book is a verbally and visually eloquent treatise on comics. This time Scott McCloud looks more into the future and discusses what comics might become if it took itself more seriously as forms of art and literature, diversifies its themes and genres and starts addressing a bigger audience. Although there is no direct link to game studies, McClouds musings on the social and economical systems of which comics take part, might be relevant for the fledgling art form of games. It also offers some interesting perspectives on some debates within the games industry. Take for example this quote: "we can look at some of the virtues rightly associated with great writing and see how modern comics have begun to incorporate them. Depth is one such virtue. Comics has long been perceived as a linear, plot driven form, lacking prose's ability to handle layers of meaning subtext within a story. Skating along the surface without ever probing deeper" (p. 31). McCloud's approach to digital comics is also interesting. Resisting the lure of virtual reality he tries to identify what computers can offer comics without changing the latter's essence. The answer is: an infinite page. By taking the computer screen not as a digital equivalent to the printed page but as window on potential infinite spatial world computers offer comics the chance explore further what they do best: the creation of temporal maps.