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Student guide chapter 4: Bridging The Gap

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Chapter 4 explores the concept of closure between panels that was proposed by Scott McCloud in his seminal book, Understanding Comics. In this section you’ll find student examples of the homework and a link to McCloud’s explanation of his comics game, 5 Card Nancy.

Prep guide

Questions to ask yourself

  1. Look at a few pages of various kinds of comics and try to define the amount of time that passes between each panel. Are there instances of a very short time? A very long time?
  2. Notice who or what is depicted in each panel.
  3. Notice when you go from one scene to another. How is that handled?

Supplies you will need

  • the comics page from a daily newspaper
  • scissors
  • scrap paper
  • tape

Optional but recommended

  • An old American comic book, a new one, and a manga. You can use these to compare styles of closure.
  • A set of Nancy cards (see page 48 for more on that)
  • A standard six-sided die
  • A copy of Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics—read it ahead and be ready to discuss.

Activities

Comic jumble

Closure comics

The goal of this assignment is to practice using the different panel transitions discussed in the chapter. It is, of course, also a chance to work on visual storytelling in general. Click on the links below to see examples of the homework by students with some comments from Matt and Jessica.

Five-card Nancy

There is no further reading for this chapter

Five-card Nancy

Find Scott McCloud's official Five-card Nancy rules here. An alternate activity, if you have a large enough group, perhaps 8 people or more, is the Panel Lottery.

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