Understanding Comics

This book is a rather deep look into the nature of comics: how they are created and how we read them. It covers the history of visual communication quite well.

If you are interested in comics, communication, or visual design, I highly recommend the book.

The most ingenious feature: The book is written in comic book form so it constantly demonstrates what it is trying to teach. -- ToddCoram

ISBN 006097625X

See http://www.scottmccloud.com/ for the author's site.

The CartoonGuide books illustrate the power and succinctness of comics.

Readers Experiences:

Recommendation seconded. An entertaining and very insightful coverage of comics as visual communication, with easily-drawn parallels to user interface design. -- DaveSmith

And another recommendation. When I was once tasked to head up a Human-Computer Interface effort (and really didn't know beans about it) I learned more about human cognition from this book than any HCI text around. -- DonOlson

Ditto. (Amazon claims people who buy UnderstandingComics also buy EdwardTufte's books on how to display information. I believe it!)

Having read this book, I think comics could actually be a good medium for capturing UseCases. (If you think computer-generated comics would be not only ugly but useless, check out MicrosoftChat?, a.k.a. "ComicChat?."[1]) -- PaulChisholm

Perhaps not surprisingly, comics were one of the inspirations for the user interface and deeper structure of the PlayGround language for children. -- KentBeck

EdwardTufte lists UnderstandingComics in his "recommended reading" list. He jokes that he and ScottMcCloud are a mutual admiration society. -- DaveSmith

UnderstandingComics: Funny to run across this here. I saw my 13-year-old nephew reading this and peeked over his shoulder. I only saw a fragment of one page (the one about how reducing the complexity of drawing a face to circle and two eyes and a smile increases the number of people it matches). I now use that fragment to illustrate a pitfall of written methodologies. They usually think I am funny for introducing this book into the conversation. So now I'll have to track down the whole book so I can read the rest of it. -- AlistairCockburn

Here's an amen from me too - this really is an excellent book. I was struck by the part Alistair mentions, and also the part about the plasticity of time and use of the white bits between frames. --PeterMerel

It is a book worth owning and reading many times. The author deserves the money for what he has done here. Also for his sense of humor. -- DickBotting

Yet another recommendation. See http://www.scottmccloud.com/objects/originals/orig-uc/uc-qwk.html for some sample pages from the book. The fragment Alistair mentions is part of a map of visual iconography - see http://www.scottmccloud.com/inventions/triangle/triangle.html for a short explanation. -- CliffordAdams

AndyHertzfeld? recommends it, which is how I discovered it, and I strongly agree with the above comments. This is a very unusual, insightful, one-of-a-kind book about visual communication, even though it is nominally only about comics, and should be considered a must-read for anyone with a strong interest in any related topic, including user interface. -- DougMerritt

AndyHertzfeld? said: "Profoundly wise and full of humor, I also found it to be one of the most insightful books about designing graphic user interfaces ever written, even though it never discusses the subject directly. Many of the story-telling techniques discussed are straight-forwardly applicable to graphic user interface design, which after all mixes text and graphics in a similar fashion. It includes the best description of why icons work that I have ever encountered."

See also: VisualizationAsLearningAid, ReinventingComics (the sequel), WikiSuperheroJoust

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