Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics

I’m trying to remember where I learned that Japanese cartoons had a convention where a runny nose indicated attraction (say, to a pretty girl). I believe this might have been from Understanding Comics, but I’m not sure. Does anyone have a copy of this book to verify? Thanks much!

It’s a bloody nose. Also, an expanding-and-retracting bubble of snot is sometimes used to indicate that a character is sleeping.

No, I don’t have Scott McCloud’s book available, nor can I remember if that info was in there (I have read it, though–I checked it out from the library). I’m just a person who’s watched lots and lots of anime. :slight_smile:

I don’t have the book with me, but I definitely remember that part from Understanding Comics.

I do have the book here, but a quick flip-through didn’t bring it forth. I’ll see if I can find it later.

I do remember it, though. Definitely the sleeping bubble.

I’ve read UC several times, and I don’t remember anything like that.

What I do remember about manga from UC is that in manga, someone running very fast appears stationary, while his backgrounds are blurred; this is the opposite of how it’s done in Western comics.

True, about the “subjective motion” as he calls it. I’m just wondering where I read this if not in UC. I seem to remember a bit where McCloud goes on about a separate visual culture having developed parallel to the western…

Unlikely it’s in “Reinventing…” but I have that as well. I’ll check.

GREAT book. Thought of it a lot while watching La Jetee, a film made of a succession of still photos.

You might be thinking of a bit that McCloud did for Wizard magazine on manga. It was done in the same style as UC.

Wasn’t this the movie that 12 Monkeys took a lot from? I seem to remember the commentary or the documentary saying something to that effect.

Speaking of Scott McCloud, I love his Carl experiment. The idea is that a story can have a set beginning and ending, but could be made long or short. The story always starts the same (“Remember not to drink and drive, Carl”) and ends the same (Carl’s grave), but you learn more about what happened in between the more you add to it. Choose your own Carl is a hilarious variant where people sent in their own submissions. And I love the link to One Armed Carl, a randomizer which reminds me of his idea for the game “Five-Card Nancy.”

Yes, 12 Monkeys was inspired by Le Jetee.

it’s page 131 in “Understanding Comics” bottom right pannel

Yes, McCloud did illustrate that in Japanese comics attraction, or shall we say horniness, was indicated by a spurt of blood issuing from the nose of the stricken male.

Also, the bubble from the nose was an indication that the character was sleeping.

What was being shown was that American comic conventions and Japanese comic conventions arose almost independently from each other. That is, there are pictorial shorthands in each that quickly indicate states of being or emotion.

For instance, in American comics, it is pretty much given that if you want to show a character is sleeping, you show several Z’s issuing from their head. Because most of us grew up around American comics, we understand that this stands for snoring, even though nothing like the sort happens in real life. No issuing Z’s when someone is actually snoring. And you’d be hard pressed to find somebody who snores in the buzzing sound of a Z anywhere. There is no empirical reason for this shorthand in real life, it just arose as convention.

So Japanese comics, coming to in their own little pool of references came up with the convention of having a bubble issue from the sleeping character’s nose. It’s no weirder than the series of Z’s, and Japanese people understand the shorthand implicitly.

Comics are filled with visual shorthands such as these, and unless you set out to analyze them you probably wouldn’t even notice.

Why spurting nose blood indicates a horny character I couldn’t tell you, but there you go.