Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud




You guys may have noticed I’m a little comics-obsessed lately. But I still had questions, and I heard this book getting a lot of praise, so  I got it from the library. I got a lot more out of this book than I planned on.


understanding comics intro


This was a REALLY in-depth look at comics, and the different techniques they employ. There is a slight bit of history, and some discussion on how comics are a “genre” or form of media that are kind of looked down upon – this was published in 1993, but I think that still applies. I’d love to see an updated version of this book, given the recent explosion of superhero movies and increased interest in comics and graphic novels.

I’d also love to see Scott McCloud do more of a “how to read comics” kind of books. While Understanding Comics is really informative and thought-provoking and I plan to buy my own copy, it didn’t exactly answer my questions – such as how to know where to start reading (for example, I want to read Deadpool comics, but where the hell do I begin?? Does it matter?), the differences between comics and graphic novels, and so on.

He DOES have another book called Reinventing Comics: How Imagination and Technology Are Revolutionizing an Art Form, published in 2000, that I really want to read. It apparently tackles issues like sexual and ethnic representations in comics, creator’s rights, and more.

Whether you’re curious about comics, a newbie to comics, or a long-time fan of comics – I think this is a really worthy read.


Sarah Says: 4 stars



  1. This reminds me, I’ve never really been into comics myself (although I have enjoyed graphic novels), but my college (Juniata College) offered a course called Comics and Culture while I was there. Everyone I knew who took it loved it!


  2. I studied comics in my master’s degree and this one was a “must read’ for how to talk about comics in a sophisticated, technical, academic way. I liked this one better than Reinventing Comics, but Scott McCloud is pretty kickass all around, so no complaining from me! Also, he has a new graphic novel (The Scultpor) coming out next year. Woot!


  3. I’m going to have to read that one to self-educate. Beyond Persepolis and Maus, I’ve never explored the graphic novel or comic book world and there’s so much out there that seems to be under-appreciated by the general reader.


  4. I’ve heard a lot about this book recently too. I currently have it out from the library and hope to dive into it this weekend. I’m a relative newbie to comics. I eally just started reading them in the last year and a half. I’m glad to hear you got a lot out of this. I’m looking forward to reading it myself.


  5. I got a ton out of this book when I read it a few years ago. Scott McCloud is amazing at explaining how comics work. He’s got a third book about comics as well, called Making Comics, and that one was pretty fascinating too. Reinventing Comics was actually my least favorite of the three — though still really interesting in parts.


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