Superman never made any money for saving the world from Solomon Grundy

Thursday, August 7, 2008

[4-color ma] Duo-specificity

While reading Progressive Ruin the other day, I saw that the Mikester used this panel in a post deconstructing an old Hostess Twinkie ad featuring Captain America:

Now, as amusing as the analysis of the story-reality of the strip is, I was struck by something else entirely. This panel is a perfect example of what Scott McCloud, in both Understanding Comics and Making Comics, calls the Duo-Specific Combination of words and pictures. Look, here’s Scott himself explaining it:

After taking a look at his example, that Twinkie ad can really be called a “textbook” case, can’t it? It even has the same information being delivered textually in both a caption and Cap’s word balloon as well as graphically through the actions of the Cube.

McCloud gets a lot of grief from people even as the seminal nature of his work is acknowledged; heck, I even have a lot of difficulties with his definition of comics. But it’s stuff like that that reminds me how useful a tool for analysis his theories can be, at least on some levels.

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