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Understanding Comics


224 pages. Black and White with 8-page color section.

A 215-page comic book about comics that explains the inner workings of the medium and examines many aspects of visual communication. Understanding Comics has been translated into 16 languages, excerpted in textbooks, and its ideas applied in other fields such as game design, animation, web development, and interface design.

Winner of the Harvey and Eisner Award, the Alph'art Award at Angoulême, and a New York Times Notable Book for 1994 (mass market edition).

Topics include:

“With Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics the dialogue on and about what comics are and, more importantly, what comics can be has begun. If you read, write, teach or draw comics; if you want to; or if you simply want to watch a master explainer at work, you must read this book.”

-- Neil Gaiman, Coraline, The Graveyard Book

"If you've ever felt bad about wasting your life reading comics, then check out Scott McCloud's classic book immediately. You might still feel you've wasted your life, but you'll know why, and you'll be proud."

-- Matt Groening, The Simpsons

Understanding Comics is quite simply the best analysis of the medium that I have ever encountered. With this book Scott McCloud has taken breathtaking leaps towards establishing a critical language that the comic art form can work with and build upon in the future. Lucid and accessible, it is an astonishing feat of perception. Highly recommended.”

-- Alan Moore, Watchmen

“Cleverly disguised as an easy-to-read comic book, Scott McCloud’s simple looking tome deconstructs the secret language of comics while casually revealing secrets of Time, Space, Art and the Cosmos! The most intelligent comics I’ve seen in a long time. Bravo.”

-- Art Spiegelman, Maus, Breakdowns

"In one lucid, well-designed chapter after another, [McCloud] guides us through the elements of comics style, and... how words combine with pictures to work their singular magic. When the 215-page journey is finally over, most readers will find it difficult to look at comics in quite the same way ever again."

-- Garry Trudeau, in the New York Times Review of Books

"The basic manual for introduction to the medium. Do not attempt to operate your comic without reading this first. "

-- Warren Ellis

“...a rare and exciting work that ingeniously uses comics to examine the medium itself.”

-- Publisher’s Weekly

“...a brilliant comic book discussion of what makes comics work.”

-- L. A. Times

“BRAVO!! Understanding Comics is a landmark dissection and intellectual consideration of comics as a valid medium. Its employment of comic art as its vehicle is brilliant. Everyone...anyone interested in this literary form must read it. Every school teacher should have one.”

-- Will Eisner

"...one of the most insightful books about designing graphic user interfaces ever written, even though it never discusses the subject directly."

-- Andy Hertzfeld, co-creator of the Mac

“Scott McCloud’s book, Understanding Comics, is a must read for any true connoisseur of comics. Don’t let its entertaining format fool you -- it’s an in depth look at what makes the comics medium so great. If I knew half as much as Scott, this would be the book I’d write!”

-- Jim Lee

“[Understanding Comics] might well turn out to be the rosetta stone, the secret decoder ring, the lyrics sheet, for pete’s sake, to all that has gone on in comics art. [This] 216-page book is one of a kind, a combination of everything funny and profound, cool and quirky.”

-- Chicago Sun-Times

Understanding Comics is spellbinding! With a lively wit and a laser intelligence, Scott McCloud offers us a fresh new look at the comics medium. Whether you’re in the business or on the sidelines, this book will charge your batteries. More than just a scholarly analysis of the art form, it points the way to possibilities, giving inspiration to those wishing to explore the wonderful continent of sequential art.”

-- James Gurney creator, Dinotopia

“McCloud firmly establishes his reputation as both the Thomas Edison and Marshall McLuhan of comic books...A comic book about comics, Understanding Comics is a thought-provoking book that will be talked about for years to come.”

-- Wizard

Understanding Comics