Vertigo was somewhat difficult for me to grasp due to the lack of words. While I understood the general story, I feel as if I missed important details pertaining to the three characters. As I was reading it though, I attempted to apply some of the theories from Understanding Comics to Ward’s work. One aspect that I think is really emphasized in Vertigo is the idea of closure that McCloud discusses. Without having any descriptions of the characters it is up to the reader to fill in the blank spaces between images. In my mind I was making up back stories for the characters, like what happened to the girl’s mother, what the old man was sick with, etc. This helped the book flow better for me and allowed me to connect the images into a story. The fact that there was only one image per page left a lot of free space for my mind to wander and create these supporting details. I also think the fact that the images were all different sizes helped keep a good flow. I never got bored at looking at them and it gave the book an up and down feel that kept me interested.
I found it interesting that in chapter two McCloud suggests that people are attracted to and respond strongly to comics because they see themselves in them. This was especially true when it came to the visual representation of people. The less representative it was to real life, the easier the reader could identify with it as simply being a vessel for communicating an idea. While I don't necessarily simplify my image of my physical appearance to that of a smiley face, I do recognize that I do not have every detail of my face memorized. I never thought of comics in this particular way. When I think about comics and the ones that I like to read, what I consider to attract me is the humor, emotions and aesthetics. This idea of the simple cartoon face identifying with every person made me think about literature and the figure of the everyman. The term, self-explanatory, means the character possesses traits and characteristics that make him easily empathetic to readers. If the everyman is the written character that people can relate to, then comics are the visual equivalent.
What struck me the most was the blood transfusion between the Elderly Gentleman and the Boy. By this, I believe, Ward is making a statement of how he sees the profiteers at the top of industries as parasites feeding off of the common people. After the transfusion, the Elderly Gentleman is imbued with spirit and his corporation has renewed success. Meanwhile, the Boy is devoid of hope and that aforementioned spirit. In addition, we can see this transaction as the Boy selling his soul due to his expression in the last image where his eyes seem cold and lifeless.
I found McCloud the most interesting out of the three: Vertigo, McCloud, and the papers. When I have thought about comics before, I have never bothered to analyze them or try to interpret what the author was trying to convey to the reader. I didn't think about what happens in the mind as far as the time that passes in an individual frame of the story or in one of the sequences that occurs. The gutter that is between the frames was also very interesting and he did a very nice job on presenting it. I have not thought that our mind fills in the gap a lot when perceiving the world around us and the comics that we read. The best example of this was the axe murderer that was used on several pages in the book, all we saw was the axe raised and the man it was raised towards, and yet we saw it all happen in our minds. Scott McCloud really has me thinking on comics now in a way that I have not before, and I am not sure how I will look at them now that I understand what happens better.
I felt that "The Girl" story was very disconnected from the rest of the book. Although I understand that there was this romance between her and the boy, the way in which the story was executed seemed very distant. This could be due to the difference of time intervals that Ward used but I feel that the overall representation had a much more positive feeling. There were moments of darkness and depression in her section but unlike the other 2 stories, there was a significant amount of happiness. She seemed to be this glimpse of optimism whereas the other two stories were full of gloom.
Out of all of the assigned readings, I believe the first six chapters of McCloud's 'Understanding Comics' was the most interesting. Prior to reading, I didn't think much of comics. As far as I was concerned, comic books were for little kids who enjoyed looking at the pictures. After reading McCloud's analyzation, I found myself to be very interested. He introduces the art behind comics. The chapter I found to be most interesting and educational is chapter four on time frames. McCloud describes in detail that although comics are represented by single images, the word bubbles prove that whatever is being portrayed in the pictures is actually taking course over periods of time. I am excited to continue the rest of the book and hope to develop a better understanding of comics.
I found it very interesting how McCloud breaks down how to display time in a comic. By using sound and motion, the comic's author is able to display time. Words and sound effects can be drawn in to really get the audience to see time has changed. I think the comparison to how time is shown in a painting is a really interesting aspect to look at. If comics can use things such as motion, can a painting do the same? I feel comics have a lot more freedom than a painting allowing the audience to fully realize the story; however, as the common phrase goes, "a picture is worth a thousands words", so is a painting not as powerful or just as powerful as a comic that uses more than one image?
The part of McCloud that interested me most was that the viewer is just as important as the writer/artist. its true that books need readers to make them come alive but its different for comics. The images in the comics books leave more room for interpreation. Another interesting part was about the spaces in-between. It is fascinating that the blank spaces can speak as much are the images. The Vertigo book was also interesting. I was able to understand what Ward wanted to say even though he used hardly any words. It wasn't like reading a book with words where everything is spelled out for you. By Ward using images to tell a story in stead of words he is making the viewer do more work. Its as McCloud says, the viewer has to tell the story just as much as the writer/artist does.
Out of "Understanding Comics" by Scott McCloud and "Vertigo" by Lynn Ward I found the McCloud's novel more interesting due to learning more in depth about where comics came about,the work put behind making a good and enjoyable comic, and how they can be portrayed in many different forms.I was drawn in on how well McCloud explains the inner workings of the mediums and explores many bearings of visual communication that is shown throughout comics. Already I have learned so much about comics interesting details about comics that I would have never known if I had not read this book. I now have better appreciate for all the work that goes on behind the scenes of making a comic books. From the visual iconography and its effects, to the word bubbles representing time and motion, the word picture dynamics, and how colors and line styles are part of a psychological aspect of designing to comic. All these aspects are what it takes to draw in a readers attention and we see that the sky is the limit when it comes to writing and illustrating a comic.
The stories in "Vertigo" were very hard to understand and took a lot of staring and use of very creative imagination to even get the gist of the story. Using something I learned in "Understanding Comics", I felt that Lynd Ward was making the images too over realistic that we cannot connect to them. It felt like I was looking into another person's life and trying to read another person's thoughts and couldn't identify myself to any of those thoughts. Maybe if Ward utilized the technique of "viewer-identification" a bit more and laid back on the over detailed drawings, we could have understood the stories better.
Never having attempted to read any sort of graphic novel before, i must admit that Vertigo presented me with numerous interesting difficulties. To start with, before reading Vertigo i never considered the fact that novels are linear. I know this sounds trivial, but it wasn't until reading a book with all the words stripped out that I considered this trait that all books share. I'm curious to see if linearity is a requirement for novels? Can a book have a clear plot and be read in a nonlinear ( eg modular ) way?
This is my first exposure to graphic novels. Vertigo is a wordless novel tha depicts the Great Depression in the eyes of three people. They each handle the depressing financial situation with suffering and sadness. It is definitely difficult to fully understand what Lynd Ward attempts to show through publishing this novel but it allows the reader to use imagination beyond the reading words off a piece of paper. Lynd Ward uses similar pictures that show the stories of the different characters to prove that if the picture is the same it can be interpreted differently in the eyes of each individual character. It is also interesting we have been assigned to read a book without words and then a book explaining the inner works and deeper meaning of "Understanding Comics."
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From someone who has never read a comic book front-to-back in her life, Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics really opened my eyes a different genre of literature (or art). Now, I can look at a comic book and view it as another form of art. When you analyze a painting you look at every aspect of the painting - color, shapes, sizes, foreground, background, etc. If you can analyze the pictures in comics the same way you would paintings, you can understand the story, meaning and creativity represented by the images. Lynd Ward utilize the power of images when he creates Vertigo. Through wood cut art he is able to tell three stories and develop each one of them. Instead of dissecting metaphors and other literary elements, the reader can pay close attention to the emotions drawn onto the character's faces. Ward is able to illustrate real meaning and realities of people living during the Great Depression into a book without dialogue, only images.