Friday, August 10, 2001
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 …