The quality of the line drawing is also conspicuously worse than that in Understanding Comics. The drawing in Understanding Comics looks as if it were drawn by a human hand - not a particularly proficient human hand, but a human hand nonetheless—whereas Reinventing Comics looks like it was drawn by a computer. Which it more or less was. According to McCloud, he drew it directly onto a computer using the latest technology to avoid the crude instruments of pencil and paper. The result is a dead line, stilted figure work, lots of scans, and some jazzy computer effects. It is for the most part visually grotesque and, more ironically even than Abraham Lincoln, a refutation of many of his grandiose claims about the superiority of computer technology over and against such antiquated techniques as applying ink to paper with pen or brush.
I've read both Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics by Scott McCloud and yes, Understanding Comics is definitely worth the money. I'm not unhappy about buying Reinventing Comics as Gary Groth is (who wrote the review above) and while he does make some valid points, I think he does underestimate the new medium by quite a bit (but not as much as Scott McCloud went overboard about the Internet).
Like any medium, the current practitioners of art are leery about new advances—are they going to be obsolete? Less productive? Cast aside? God I gotta learn a whole new way of doing things? I'm unlucky enough to work in the Computer Industry, where this happens on a regular five year plan (if not faster). I'd love it if my skills were relevant for twenty years or more.
But I digress …
Not that I have much of a point to make here …
Gary Groth makes a number of valid points in “McCloud Cuckoo-Land,” his two-part demolition of Reinventing Comics in Comics Journal #232 and #234. He's right that my book's optimistic tone largely neglects, to its detriment, some of the darker scenarios for corporate interference on the Web. He's right that 20th Century inventions such as radio and television received much the same over-the-top hype in their infancy as the Internet now does, and that much of the hype in both eras was (and is) nothing more than shallow, corporate manipulation. Groth is also correct to point out that my old series Zot! was far from the 1980's most groundbreaking comic, that 1998's The New Adventures of Abraham Lincoln was a widely-derided train wreck, and that my line drawings in Reinventing Comics were as stiff as a board – even by my standards.
Armed with such legitimate complaints, Groth broadens his attacks and attempts to persuade Journal readers that my belief in the potential of selling comics on the Web is a dangerous pipe dream fueled by corporate propaganda, while my ideas for the aesthetic potential of digital comics on the Web are crack-pot nonsense; and after a blistering array of attacks from every conceivable angle, I'm guessing many readers were indeed persuaded, if only by the sheer scale of it all. Those same readers were left, however, with a depressing choice at the end of this bloody massacre. Having so thoroughly excoriated the supposed blind optimism of my own suggestions, Groth proceeds to offer only bitter pessimism in return, never once in the course of 10,000 words allowing for even the barest hint of a benefit to placing comics online.
And he makes several good points about the several good points that Gary Groth made.
Just balancing out the viewpoints here …
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In my continuing quest to never be hired ever again by any sane company, I give you the following letter to George W. Bush that I received from a mailing list:
Mr. George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. Bush,
I heard you're taking a one-month vacation. Boy, that must really be nice.
Are there any public service jobs besides President where I could take an extended vacation after only six months of work?
Like most Americans, I only get two weeks off. And that's after I've been working for a full year. I figure the American people must be really nice bosses if they let you take so much free time to pursue your real interests, like jogging and video golf. I'd like to work for such nice employers too. Perhaps you could put in a good word for me with the Supreme Court? They seem to be giving away all the best jobs these days!
Enjoy your vacation, and don't let any pesky policy matters like health care reform, the environment or the economy get in the way of your leisure time.
Best to Mrs. Bush and those spunky twins!
[YOUR NAME HERE!]
PS: I heard you've also spent 14 weekends relaxing at Camp David, and took a long weekend at your family's estate in Kennebunkport—all in addition to the full month you've already spent at your ranch since becoming President. I don't blame you though. Those White House phones must never stop ringing! Maybe Mr. Cheney will pick up your messages for a while …
Yes, where do I get such a job?
But seriously, I expect this to be fairly common among CEOs because, well … they own the company (or rather, are paid insanely amounts of money to run the company) and all those trips out to the golf course are you know, business meetings.
Like how the World Bank meetings take place in expensive and exotic locations around the world …