If not for Scott McCloud, graphic novels and webcomics might be enjoying a more modest Renaissance.
The flourishing of cartooning in the '90s and '00s, particularly comic-smithing on the web, can be traced back to his major writings on the comics form.
The first, Understanding Comics
, is translated into 13 languages, and along with Reinventing Comics
and Making Comics
, its playful and profound investigations are justly revered as something like thePoetics
of sequential art.
McCloud coined the term "infinite canvas" -- for the new comics medium made possible by web browsers. He's an avid user of the medium: My Obsession With Chess
was widely popular online, as was The Right Number
Back on the printed page, he wrote and illustrated Zot!
, a colorful response to then-trendy grimness and gore in comic books. (He describes the book as "a cross between Peter Pan, Buck Rogers and Marshall McLuhan.")