The Graphic code of Comic Strips
On Scott McCloud's Closure and Transition
In this section, McCloud discusses what closure in comic books is and how it is used. Closure is the space between panels in which the readers mind can freely associate how one panel leads to another. This can be filling in the gaps in a walking cycle or the death of a character. The gutter is a space of infinite possibilities, that utilises the audience's imagination to conclude or connect panels.
McCloud supposes that the amount of closure required of the readers imagination is dependent on the type of transition between panels. He then goes on to define six transition types (these are listed in the Lecture Notes under "the potency of negative space").
Art Spiegelman and Maus
Spiegelman was born in 1948 in Stockholm, Sweden and immigrated with his parents to the USA in 1951. He began drawing cartoons in 1960 imitating the style he found in the comic books he owned. He studied art and philosophy at Harpur College. He began work on Maus, his most well-known work, in 1972 as a three-page strip for the first issue of “Funny Animals” he wanted to do the strip about racism choosing to write about the Holocaust that his parents had survived. His parents were Polish Jews, and both were imprisoned in Auschwitz, Maus drew from his father’s recollections of the Holocaust.
From 1980 Maus, was printed one chapter at a time as in insert in Raw (a magazine that Spiegelman co-edited). By 1986 Spiegelman published the first six chapters with Pantheon, the book found a large audience and was released in book stores rather than comic book stores, which were then main outlet for comics in the 1980’s.
The panel transitions used in Maus
For additional content on the page design of Maus, I would implore you to watch the following Nerdwriter1 video essay, which focuses on the design of page 12 above. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dQEfL2BfUM
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Design In Context
Daniel Thomas Coates, graphic designer based in the UK. Currently a student at the University of Cumbria, Carlisle.