There are certain things about comic books that I love. One of those things is not Scott McCloud.
However, the fact that he knows what he’s talking about is undeniable. He’s relatively eloquent with his presentation and is very good with examples to the point where anybody who reads him will instantly feel like that they are a comic book scholar.
There’s something interesting with Paul’s chapters that seems to be almost consistent all the way throughout. The first half of the chapter is almost entirely text-reliant making it almost entirely additive or word-dependent. Near the middle, the relevancy of the text sort-of diminishes. And it becomes additive in favor of the pictures or just becomes overly picture specific (and in some cases employs the idea of montage). Right after this, the comic returns to being textually additive and/or word dependent.
A chapter that embodies this the best is “The Stooges” where we are treated to Paul taking David to the theater to see a movie. Back then, instead of having “coming soon” features, they would play cartoons or a quick television show. In this case, the snippet that’s played is an episode of The Three Stooges. In fact, it’s an entire marathon of Three Stooges shorts.
The first three pages are all word-specific. There’s no denying it. It eases the reader into the chapter perfectly. On page 123, upon their arrival, it becomes additive because the facial expressions are a bit more coherent and form a story in themselves that is intensified textually. This continues for the next few pages until page 126. At this point, the relevancy of the words is negated and the comic becomes more picture specific. This continues until page 130 where it becomes word-specific again until the end of the chapter.
I find this to be a flawless way to ease the reader into a comic book style of reading whilst not being a fan of comic books. The textual reliance at the beginning is a sort-of way to lull the reader into a false sense of security; it makes them expect that the text will be prominent and significant throughout so that they will continue reading the entire thing without fail or trouble. Then it slowly and seamlessly transitions into a picture reliance that, once over, unconsciously forces the reader to rely on the pictures to tell the story that’s no longer being told through text. Then, as the chapter concludes, the reader is doing both at the same time despite the fact that it is textually dependent again. A brilliant idea for those who may not be into comics for sure.