Show And Tell


Through Scott McCloud’s chapter “Show and Tell” in Understanding Comics, he explores the way words and images play a role side by side. Starting off talking about the history of the two mixing together, he explains how they began to parallel each other, as they didn’t used to before, especially through comics.  He talks about how the two combined, have caused comics to flourish. They compliment each other to help portray a story and connect to the reader as much as possible.  As McCloud even states, “And indeed, words and pictures have great powers to tell stories when creators fully exploit them both.”  I have never thought before how important it is for such things to compliment each other in order to send the right message you are trying to, but this article explained this in full detail to me.

McCloud then proceeds to explain how there are is an unlimited amount of ways that that pictures and words can combine in comics.  He starts with word specific, which is when the picture doesn’t add a considerable amount to a complete text.   In contrast, we then look at picture specific, which can be described as having an illustration that says more than the text.  Combining these two, we have duo-specific, where both the picture and text play the same roll and send virtually the same meaning.  Additive is when either the picture or text elaborate on the other.  Parallel is when words and pictures continue in varying patterns without overlapping.  Looking at the use of a montage, we see how the text is integrated with the picture itself, literally combining the two.  The most used combination is the inter-dependent, which is where the image and the text are used together to fully portray the message that couldn’t have been described one another.

Reading over all of these different types of combinations with words and images made me realize how complex and intimate comics can be.  Before, comics always seemed to be very simple stories with not much behind them, but I now realize that this generalization is incorrect.  I now see how important it is to properly compliment images and words when telling a story and how easily you can make a comic not clear.



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