May 28th, 2013
Analysis of A Short History of America by Robert Crumb
Robert Crumb’s A Short History of America is a comic which contains a series of panels that illustrate a part of America’s development from a forest to the beginning of an urban city. By looking through Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, the underlying meanings of the comic A Short History of America by Robert Crumb can be deciphered. Through visual iconography and panel transitions, the ideas that Robert Crumb had of stating a message to a community could be interpreted.
Like most pieces of art A Short History of America by Robert Crumb explores the idea of a sense of community. This piece reaches out to the community in the sense of its emergence. Looking at panels four to six in A Short History of America, it can be seen that more buildings and vehicles are put in place which means more people are being added to the panels as they progress, thus providing more favourable habitats for humans. This section of the comic also depicts the beginning stages of industrialization in America. Eventually the panels fill up with more buildings and cars and slowly the trees and other natural elements disappear. “What next?!!” Explains the state of shock to how the author reacts after representing the over industrialization in America which occured quickly of a short period of time.
The spectrum of visual iconography – also known as the vocabulary of comics refers to the icons used to represent the idea, person, place, or thing in the comic. In Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, McCloud places all drawings in comics on the iconographic spectrum in which images range from reality to the simplest form of cartoon. The icons and images depicted in A Short History of America situates itself near the bottom centre of the triangle closer to the “Reality” end of the spectrum. The story being depicted in this comic can be considered...