Scott McCloud Talks Science, History, and Comics

Finding a Digital Story

I have settled on a focus and I am excited to research and explore comics and graphic novels. To start I initially read a journal piece about bringing comics in the classroom, which I choose because I want to harness the strength of comics to increase my students’ engagement. In the piece the author references work by Scott McCloud called Understanding Comics. I found it at the library and I am waiting for it to be delivered to my local branch. I also found a Ted Talk by Scott McCloud, and what an amazing discovery!

McCloud’s talk is touching, thoughtful, informative, engaging and hilarious. McCloud discusses comics, his career in comics and his theories on why the art form resonates with its audience. The content of this talk speaks for itself but it is McCloud’s mastery of the storytelling craft that makes this a must watch. I choose my evaluation traits this week to highlight some of the many strengths from McCould’s talk:

  • Flow, organization and pacing
  • Research
  • Digital crafmenship

Flow, Organization and Pacing

McCloud organizes his talk around his personal narrative. The narrative starts with McClould’s father’s story and the nature of his upbringing. His story helps McCloud connect with his audience, because McCloud is able to share his struggles and lighthearted moments from his childhood.

The personal narrative format enables McCloud make interesting transitions between his talking points. His early life story connects to how McCloud sees his relationship with comics and his family. Then McCloud leads into his theories about of unique storytelling elements in comics by describing how he started into making comics. Finally McCloud introduces his vision for the future of comics with a story about buying his first computer.

The narrative supports the organizational and flow of McCoud’s talk.  McCloud’s pacing is prepared but natural and his delivery of jokes is flawless, making the talk engaging thought out. I Love the flow, organization and pacing of this presentation  because  the  impeccable delivery had me riveted from the get go.


McCould shares that he grew up in a family of scientists and engineers and that even as a comic artist he thinks like a scientist. the research and historical information shared in his talk confirms this  statement. Specifically at 6:40 McCloud describes four approaches to crafting comics and connects these approaches to the four subdivisions of thought as purposed by Carl Jung. Then at 9:40 he shares historical documents that show though out history the temporal progression used in stories that are told though graphics. This information gives his talk an air of authority and makes his theories believable.

Digital Craftsmanship

The most impressive trait of McCloud’s story is his use of digital craftsmanship. McCloud inter-slices digital pictures into his talk to illustrate his points or as the punchline of a joke. For example:

  • At 4:17 McCloud inserts a picture of the Simpson bully Nelson Muntz and executed a perfectly timed “Ha Ha”.
  • At 5:05 images flash in quick succession to highlight each word in a humorous rant.
  • At 12:50 McCloud uses a digital image of a monitor to illustrate the relationship to between computers and comics in the digital age.

The digital craftsmanship of this piece effectively transforms his simple speech into a multimedia experience.

The Story!

I feel fortunate that I was able to watch and share this impressive Ted Talk. Scott McCloud has expanded my world view of comics and I am a already devoted reader of graphic novels, too devoted if you ask family. The most important take away, however, is to intertwine, personal narrative, humor, and media into presentations to create an effective digital stories.

Scott McCloud Talks Science, History, and Comics

4 thoughts on “Scott McCloud Talks Science, History, and Comics

  1. saraherkes says:

    Darren, I agree, this is a great Ted Talk. I also agree that the personal narrative he utilizes does really connect the different components of the lecture. I also find it interesting that the common thread is his father and his father’s lack of sight. I can imagine that having a parent who is differently abled really defines who you are and how you view the world. I’m sure that it was a common theme of his childhood, so it explains that he sees the world as someone who really appreciates sight and the impact sight has on people’s perception of the world. Great critique!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Darren – I’m extremely interested to follow your focal theme. I never would have thought that comics could have been used in the classroom, but the points made in this critique and Scott’s video really do make a point that engaging students is a real possible. This will be a fun journey to follow up on!


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