The French "Understanding Comics"
Freshly back from France (with lots of comics filling the luggages), I just finished reading Bande Dessinée: Apprendre et Comprendre by Lewis Trondheim and Sergio García (published by Delcourt in 2006). Designed in the typical French comics album format (A4, hardcover), this 32-pager aims to present the art form of comics to teachers and beginners using comics to do so. American readers cannot help, but think of Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics. Bande Dessinée: Apprendre et Comprendre, which means "Comic Art: Learning and Understanding," is a very good introduction, an easy read, yet quite exhaustive. Just as Scott McCloud portrays himself as the protagonist of Understanding Comics, the drawn characters of Trondheim and García discuss the means of expressions in comics by using many funny literal examples. The end papers include more than 60 practice exercises to further the learning. In closing, the authors refer readers to the following books as other good sources:
. Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud (they even comment that it's an "excellent book!" A "Hooray" for Scott!)
. Comics and Sequential Art by Will Eisner (another "Hooray" for U.S. comics!)
. Case, Planche, et Récit by Benoit Peeters (sadly out of print...)
. Pour une Lecture Moderne de la B.D. by Jan Baetens et Pascal Lefèvre (out of print too...)
. Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee (discussed here just weeks ago, hey!).
. OUBAPO, Oupus 1 by several comic authors.