Relatable Media

In Scott McCloud’s understanding comics, he explains comics through a comic and for me puts comics as well as media in a new light.  Chapter 2 of his book, emphasizes the vocabulary involved in comics, mainly icons, and delves a bit deeper into cartoons and how comics and media can be the most relatable.


How is it that a comic can be relatable?  It is the combination of abstraction, realism, cartoons and unique writing that is allowed to come together in one medium of media.  McCloud describes this in terms of an equilateral triangle with reality, language and the picture plane at it’s points (pg. 51-57).  The interesting ideas behind what McCloud writes, is how these ideas of reality, abstraction and language interact with the reader and create a better or worse experience depending upon what you’re looking for.


In a comic, reality can be a friend or a foe as you begin to engage with the reader.  Different levels of realism and abstraction in drawing forms allow the reader to get more involved with the text, if you were to picture yourself in the comic or in a scene for example, it would be easier if the picture was more abstract and included maybe only a figure with few details (pg. 30, 38-41).  However, if you include more realistic backgrounds you are able to still control the scene while allowing the reader to engage mentally with their imagination.  McCloud’s description of this in comics, is likely something that writers try to do as they write books.  Fiction writers especially, that rely on their ability to write pieces that the audience can stay involved in, need to consider when to be vague and when to give lengthy descriptions to scenes and actions.


The other bit that McCloud describes which is on point, is useful in other media mediums too.  McCloud says, “We humans are a self-centered race,” and that, “We see ourselves in everything”(pg. 32 and 33 respectively).  This of course is an arguable statement, but is especially true if we discuss the medium of media entertainment in the 21st century.  Video games, movies, TV, it almost all has a human element in it that tries to involve the audience.  Video games especially have increased this in the past 10 years.  With the new creations of interactive media, where you preform an action and it shows up on a screen, you become more involved in a game.  Literally you get inserted into the game and surrounded by a background created by someone else, to put you in an experience and tell a story.  Your actions can help shape the world or experience as you are guided through it by the games creator.  Comics, books and media that lets you take part in this interaction only through imagination and metal ability are often treasured by people for being the best type of mediums.  The ability to involve your audience either mentally or physically is often given the best praise.  3D movies for example give the audience just another level of experience in the story.  Being a part of something bigger than yourself, but also individualized to fit your own actions an experience.  This idea that McCloud touches on is quite import in current media and likely media for the future.  It can relate you and media into one and this self-centered feature of media is often desired by many as we as humans have already thought for many many years that we were and maybe even are the center of the universe.

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