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Reinventing Comics: How Imagination and Technology Are Revolutionizing an Art Form Paperback – July 25, 2000


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Reinventing Comics: How Imagination and Technology Are Revolutionizing an Art Form + Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art + Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; 1st Perennial Ed edition (July 25, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060953500
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060953508
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 6.7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Scott McCloud's Reinventing Comics, the sequel to his groundbreaking work Understanding Comics, is a study of two revolutions: a failed one and a potential one. His 1993 book was not only a chronicle of the potential breakthrough of comics (which he redefined as "sequential art") into a legitimate art form but a sterling example itself of the medium's astonishing untapped potential. Now, seven years later, he chronicles the failure of the comic book industry to fulfill that promise, but also explores how the movement can be restarted, particularly by utilizing the resources of another spectacularly successful revolution, the Internet. In the first half of Reinventing Comics, an elegantly clean example of comic art in McCloud's trademark bold black-and-white style, the author outlines how hype, speculation, and artistic burnout led to the genre's decline. He then lays out 12 paths toward a new revolution of comics, including creators' rights, industry innovation, public perception, gender balance, and diversity of genre, which are then explored with such innovative intelligence that, as with his earlier work, the conclusions he comes to are fascinating for both artists and nonartists alike.

Three of his paths, however, are of particular interest to anyone who wants to know how the Internet will affect both our lives and the livelihoods of future artists. Understanding Comics, with its brilliant how-to guide on marrying image and language, has become an indispensable reference for many Web designers. Now McCloud returns the favor by focusing on how the digital revolution will influence production, delivery, and the art form of comics itself. Informative without being pedantic, controversial without being argumentative, and always entertaining, this is both a worthy sequel to the author's brilliant original and a work that opens up the potential for an entirely different direction for sequential art in the realm of cyberspace. --John Longenbaugh

From Library Journal

This is an exceptional book (in comic format) of ideas presented as a reader-friendly theoretical lectureDand it may just be the blueprint for the very future of the comics industry. McCloud, author of Understanding Comics, a classic exploration of how this unique art form actually works, now uses his impressive insight and admirable clarity to map out "12 revolutions," which, he believes, need to take place for comics to survive and finally be recognized as a legitimate art form. The topics progress from the oldest of comic-related arguments (seeking respect) to the use of computer technology to renew and expand its audience. These brilliantly presented discussions concern comics as literature, comics as art, creators' rights, industry innovation, and public perception, among other topics. McCloud's arguments are strong, factual (he recaps the evolution of the comics industry and the Internet to support his theories), and persuasive. He describes the comic as a "misunderstood, squandered idea...that seems increasingly obscure...[and] small...like an atom...waiting to be split." After reading this treatise, I agree. Strongly recommended for all public and academic libraries.DChris Ryan, New Milford, N.-- small...like an atom...waiting to be split." After reading this treatise, I agree. Strongly recommended for all public and academic libraries.DChris Ryan, New Milford, NJ
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Scott McCloud has been writing, drawing, and examining comics since 1984. Winner of the Eisner and Harvey awards, his works have been translated into more than sixteen languages. Frank Miller (Sin City, 300) called him "just about the smartest guy in comics." He lives with his family in southern California. His online comics and inventions can be found at scottmccloud.com.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Helmerichs on July 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
In 1993, Scott McCloud published an unexpected blast of pure genius, _Understanding Comics_: a monograph on comic books in the form of a comic book. Now he has created a sequel. I was leery at first; I wasn't sure that there was much more to be said, and I feared that the freshness of the first volume would be lacking. The first half of _Reinventing Comics_ somewhat fulfilled my fears; chapters dealing with the artistic and business side of comics seemed like afterthoughts to the first book, and chapters on issues of diversity, while interesting enough, didn't really jump off the page at me.
But the second half of the book, unexpectedly, brought back to me the excitement I felt in 1993. It covers new technology, especially the Internet: digital production, digital distribution, and the evolution of comics in the digital world. McCloud includes a brief history of computers, the internet, and computer graphics, and analyzes both the impact digitalization has had on comics, and the impact he expects it to have in the future. Always the optimist (see Zot!), McCloud is also terribly smart, and the future he envisions is exciting and provocative.
_Reinventing Comics_ is essential reading for anybody interested in comics, in the potentials of the Internet, in information theory, or simply in thinking.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By a_bucket_of_shoes on August 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book continues the arguments McCloud made about the validity and potential of comics in his earlier book "Understanding Comics". He still uses the comics format, but the effect isn't as strong since the subject matter here isn't as much comics itself as the financial and logistical aspects of the comics industry and the technical aspects of comics creation in an electronic environment; thus it never quite captures the astounding, recursively expressive effect that the earlier book had.
Still, McCloud's discussions and insights on the nature of the production and distribution of comics are worth the read. His ideas about the future of comics on the internet are less convincing (he suggests the prime advantage of internet comics are an avoidance of the confines of the physical page; in my opinion, restrictions like that, in any art form, usually provide both limits and opportunities).
Anyone with an interest in the distribution of comics, or any art form, will find much of the book insightful and helpful. Many people new to the internet will find the discussion of it useful. But techies, especially those who have studied hypertext, won't learn anything new about the net here.
In summary, this book is recommended for its content, but the essay-as-comics form isn't as effective this time around. The same material could probably have been presented as straight text with a few illustrations, and the resulting book would have had the same impact in fewer pages. The arguments are interesting, if not wholly convincing, and the inclusion of an index and a bibliography round it out nicely.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Eric Londaits on July 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
Thankfully this book is neither a 'How-To' in digital comics, nor a book praising the wonders of clunky web comics (which I feared when I first heard about it), for Scott McCloud the future of comics is much more about diversity, and a more direct connection between the reader and the author.
If you read "Understanding Comics" (if not, you should), you already experienced Scott McCloud's love of sequential art firsthand in his very accessible analysis of the form. Having acknowledged the incredible potential the medium has to offer, "Reinventing Comics" brings us to terms with why we're not quite there yet. This book is not so much about comics themselves, as about comic books today in America (brief mentions are made to European and Japanese comics, but mostly to make clear what the book is not talking about).
McCloud uses his concept of the 'twelve revolutions' to visit the shaping moments of American comic book history, and the current state of the industry. The book abounds with examples of comics that push the medium farther, facing many of the challenges posed (like ethnical diversity, feminine presence, and diverse genres and subject matters), most of which will be familiar to readers of current alternative comic books (Maus, Ghost World, Bone, Love and Rockets, Joe Sacco's works, etc.) The exposition is very clear and enjoyable, even for non comic book readers, which might as well be touched by the passion for the medium shown in every page. A vision is shared by McCloud with the reader, through this book, for a future of exciting possibilities.
The future, indeed, is the theme of the second part of the book, in which the eventual marriage of digital technology and comic books is discussed.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought this book with some hesitation after reading the reviews. I thoroughly enjoyed "Understanding Comics" but worried that "Reinventing Comics" would not live up to its potential. After reading it, I think that "Reinventing Comics" is just as profound of work as "Understanding Comics." The negative reviewers fail to see this book as another direction of study. It is not a sequel to "Understanding Comics." It is an excellent look at other aspects of the comics industry and communication media as a whole.
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