Comparing Scott Mccloud's Understanding Comics to David Kunzel's the Early Comic Strip Essay

Pages: 4 (1409 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology

¶ … Scott McCloud's "Understanding Comics" to David Kunzel's "The Early Comic Strip"

Comparing Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics to David Kunzel's the Early Comic Strip read REAL books," proclaims a graphic image of the author and academic Scott McCloud from the pages of his book entitled Understanding Comics (McCloud 1). This was his attitude towards comic strips, he states, when he was young and foolish -- he regarded them as silly and juvenile, all about supermen in shiny tights rather than real issues. Then, gradually, his eyes were opened, and he began to understand that the comic was a true art form, worthy in its own right of serious consideration. Reading comics as a scholar has taught McCloud about the way humans have evolved in relationship to print, the media, and even to deeper philosophical issues regarding the primacy of the word over the image in Western culture. As a tribute to the comic's power, McCloud tells the history of the comic book in the form of an extended strip, created by the author. He weaves a graphic novel about graphic novels that is at once playful and humorous, yet seeks to justify the existence of comics and their status as art.

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In contrast, David Kunzle states at the beginning of his work the Early Comic Strip that it is silly "to ennoble" the comic strip's ancestry as a popular work by making it into one of the "great 'monuments' from the entire history of art" (Kunzle 2). It is a disposable albeit interesting commodity of mass production for Kunzle, fascinating because of its lack of depth and meaning, not because of it. The ability of comics to be consumed by the masses, according to Kunzle, is why it is so powerful, and it is false and misleading to read comics as McCloud does, as expressions of deeper emotions.

Essay on Comparing Scott Mccloud's Understanding Comics to David Kunzel's the Early Comic Strip Assignment

The two men even do not agree on what exactly 'is' a comic strip. Kunzle argues that early comics were anything but comic, rather until the 18th and early 19th century, what we would call comics were stories that tended to be short, narrative pictures with overtly propagandistic aims. It is misleading to call comics comic since the comic strip "does not emerge until pictorial propaganda and the social cartoon become entirely comic in style, that is, in late 18th century England" (Kunzle 1). Kunzle prefers instead to call comics sequential art narratives. Early comics were often disseminated through broadsheets, taking the form of a single, large page showing the end results of immoral behavior, whether in public or in private, such as Hogarth's "Rake's Progress." In the 19th century, newspapers became the predominant medium of comic strips, but they still often had their partisan tone.

For Kunzle, what we think of as a comic strip or sequential art narratives had four distinct features. First, because of its popular audience, it had to be able to be produced on a mass scale, rather than something created for personal or public display like a painting or a limited-production book. It must be a narrative, that is, involve a "sequence of separate images" it must rely upon images rather than text to tell that story, and tell a story that is moral, topical or funny. This is why it appeals to children and the 'uneducated' -- people who are poor, or people seeking entertainment that is unreflective and easily consumed.

However, for Scott McCloud, merely because the medium of the comics is often popular in its audience does not mean that it cannot stimulate thought. In fact, many of the political and historical examples in Kunzle, who focuses on early 18th and late 18th century British broadsheets, seem highly complex to the modern reader, in terms of the issues they tackle, such as human vice and political corruption. Rather than to locate early comics as something far away in history, and make pronouncements like Kunzle, McCloud ends his text by turning to the reader and saying: "This book is meant to stimulate debate, not to settle it," he tells us. "I've had my say. Now it's your turn" (McCloud 216). Popular media such as comic strips for McCloud are not popular because they are easy to understand,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Comparing Scott Mccloud's Understanding Comics to David Kunzel's the Early Comic Strip.  (2008, October 12).  Retrieved October 30, 2020, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/comparing-scott-mccloud-understanding/98664

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"Comparing Scott Mccloud's Understanding Comics to David Kunzel's the Early Comic Strip."  12 October 2008.  Web.  30 October 2020. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/comparing-scott-mccloud-understanding/98664>.

Chicago Style

"Comparing Scott Mccloud's Understanding Comics to David Kunzel's the Early Comic Strip."  Essaytown.com.  October 12, 2008.  Accessed October 30, 2020.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/comparing-scott-mccloud-understanding/98664.