I found Chapter 2 of Maus 2 difficult to read due to various reasons. Art Spiegelman’s quote: “The comix I like, and try to do, can be read slowly and often…. I try to make every panel count and sometimes work as long as a month on a page…. I’m excited by the ‘secret language’ of comics — the underlying formal elements that create the illusions” makes it clear to me why I experienced difficulties while reading the chapter. Perhaps, one reason is that as he worked as long as a month on a page, he was improving and completing it, making even more detailed and complicated to read. I caught myself on a thought that sometimes I felt that I missed some events and I did not understand what was happening and needed to go back to read the page again. Probably I was reading it faster than he wanted his audience to read because he included too many events and key points, and all of them deserve to be noticed. Another factor was that the events and violence described by Spiegelman are psychologically hard to absorb and think about.
Quotes for class today
“Comics, in fact, is a medium that involves a substantial degree of reader participation to stitch together narrative meaning” (22).
Art Spiegelman: “The comix I like, and try to do, can be read slowly and often…. I try to make every panel count and sometimes work as long as a month on a page…. I’m excited by the ‘secret language’ of comics — the underlying formal elements that create the illusions” (24)
“At it’s most basic, we can say that comics is a spatially site-specific form of literature. In this way, too, comics can also be like poetry, in which the line breaks and stanzas and arrangements of words on the page all carry meaning.[…] Comics does not propose linear reading in the same way prose does. Cognitively, one’s eye usually first takes in the whole page, even when one decides to start in the upper-left corner and move left to right. This is sometimes called comic’s ‘all-at-onceness,’ or its ‘symphonic effect.’ In comics, reading can happen in all directions; this open-endedness, and attention to choice in how one interacts with the pages, is part of the appeal of comics narrative” (24-5).
Perhaps interesting for further thought on this
In Why Comics?, Hillary Chute reprints a two-page spread from Richard McGuire’s Here (2014) (pp. 26-7), a comic that tells the story of a single room over the course of billions of years. The book originated as a 36-panel story published in 1989 in Raw, the comics journal edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly.