Scott McCloud’s stop at Google

Scott McCloud, author of the Understanding Comics series and Zot!, has taken his family on a 50 State book signing tour. The tour, which started a year ago, has taken the McClouds to 49 states with only two more stops before it ends. Scott is traveling with his wife, Ivy, and his two daughters Winter and Sky.

When I first heard that Scott would be stopping in Northern California, I was a little saddened to see he was doing any of his lectures, but instead was only doing book-signings or Q and A’s around SF. Luckily though I was able to get in to see his lecture at Google, thanks to the help of my friend and Nerdcore Hip Hop performer Monzy.

The biggest surprise of the lecture was Sky McCloud’s segment of the lecture. Sky, 14, took the stage and charismatically talked about the traveling she has done over the last year, using a creative Powerpoint presentation as she went along. Her talk was entertaining and very professional. These cats at Google could be a slightly intimidating audience to say the least, but Sky was at ease as she did her demonstration. Sky ended her segment by showing one of the podcasts she and her sister, Winter, made. Sky researches and writes the questions for the Winterview podcasts, as well as edits the video, and Winter is the on air personality. Check out this Winterview with Bryan Lee O’Malley and Hope Larson.

Scott’s presentation was also very Powerpoint reliant. In his books, Scott talks about different aspects of sequential art while simultaneously demonstrating them. Part academic, part graphic novel, they entertain you while really nailing the concepts he’s laying down, so it makes perfect sense that his talk would also be heavily sprinkled with moving images, and panels from his own books on the screens behind him. Scott is an excellent public speaker, with at least 10 years experience lecturing on the medium of comics.

I believe Scott was attempting to briefly fit in what he’s learned about comics since publishing “Understanding Comics” in 1993 to “Re-inventing Comics” in 2000 and on up to his newest book “Making Comics”. At the of what Scott is attempting to discover is the “DNA of comics”. From Egyptian stories painted on walls, through the golden era of Superman, on up to experimental on-line comics, what aspects stay the same.

The lecture was only an hour long, and I had to take off right away, but I did manage to hear the first of the Question and Answer segment where I was really pleased to hear Scott talk about his love of Jason Shigga’s books, in particular Meanwhile… which happens to be my favorite too. Actually, Scott mentioned that Meanwhile… is online now. I totally would recommend reading the printed version instead, but if you really just can’t wait, check it out in his interactive comics archive.

If you would like to hear once of Scott McCloud’s lectures, Henry Jenkins has posted his speech at MIT from the beginning of the 50 State Tour a year ago. You can download that from this page.

Now, if anyone else I know that works at Google ever wants to host another visit or pay me big bucks to come and lecture on the campus, let me know!