Scott McCloud is author of Understanding Comics, a comic book about comics. He's an evangelist for comics as a valid literary form (as more than pulp and kids' stuff) and his admiring fans include a laundry list of superstar cartoonists.

Why you should listen

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 the Poetics 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.")

He's the inventor of the game 5-Card Nancy.

What others say

“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

Scott McCloud’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Scott McCloud


Understanding comics: Scott McCloud on

January 13, 2009

In this unmissable look at the magic of comics, Scott McCloud bends the presentation format into a cartoon-like experience, where colorful diversions whiz through childhood fascinations and imagined futures that our eyes can hear and touch. Listen for a moving meditation on the nature of vision — and for four indelible rules of life. (Recorded […]

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