This is a belated post about the Scott McCloud presentation on campus on Monday night, late because I left for Chicago and the CCCCs first thing Tuesday. But in any event, McCloud’s spiel was great. I was hoping to link to some sort of news story about it, but I can’t find one at the Eastern Echo or the Ann Arbor paper; it might be too early for the Echo…
It was a huge crowd, pretty much a full house in the union ballroom, an interesting mix between typical EMU students/faculty and area comic geek/enthusiasts. And the crowd was part of the show, at least for me. One of my grad students (this was our “class” for the week) told me that a young person in front of him “would shoot his arms high in the air with the double devils-head ‘rock-n-roll’ hand sign every time he saw or heard something he liked.” Another grad student said something like “With all these people here, I bet it’d be tough to get a game of Dungeons and Dragons going in Ann Arbor tonight.”
McCloudâ€™s presentation, which (of course!) involved hundreds of PowerPoint slides, was basically divided into three parts. The first was about a new book he has coming out in September, a book heâ€™s clearly excited about, and one that sounds pretty interesting, too.
Then he talked about I guess what I would describe as his â€œphilosophyâ€� of comics, which is too complicated to try to explain here, but which involved (evolved out of?) a lot of his own background, which is quite interesting. McCloudâ€™s father, who was literally a rocket scientist, was (is?) legally blind. And weirdly, McCloud lived in a neighborhood that seemed to be weirdly populated with kids who would group up to end up working as comic book artists, graphic novel writers, and childrenâ€™s book illustrators.
Then he talked about his concept of the â€œinfinite canvasâ€� and comics, particularly about comics on the web. Essentially, McCloud talked about how the technology of print is responsible for the way that we have traditionally read comics and thought about things like panels. The cool thing with the web (not to mention high-speed access and software like flash) is that a lot of those rules can either go out the window entirely or at least be questioned in some interesting ways. And he had some super-cool examples to show too.
All in all, a great show and in interesting talk.