Zot! 1987-1991: The Complete Black and White Collection - Scott McCloud

When I first heard of Scott McCloud, it was as the author of the groundbreaking Understanding Comics, which had already been around for years before I got around to reading it. And while I vaguely knew about Zot! I didn't think about it much. As McCloud put it:
When Understanding Comics hit the stands in May 1993, fans saw it as a book by the guy who did Zot!, but within a few months, Zot! was demoted to "that series McCloud did before Understanding Comics." I'm very very much in that second group. When I saw this collection, I figured it was worth taking a look at it, to see what McCloud did before all of his non-fiction meta-comics.

Zot is sort of a Peter Pan-like figure, childlike and optimistic (plus he can fly). He's from a parallel universe in which crime is rare, sickness is all but eradicated, and a lot of the problems of our own world seem nonexistent. Even on his own world he's sort of a superhero, facing down various over-the-top villains with a smile on his face. In our own world is Jenny, a teenager who struggles with high school and her parents' separation and eventual divorce, who longs for escape. Zot is able to travel between worlds and befriends Jenny, and the stories take place in both worlds.

As I understand it, Zot! originally started in 1984, so this particular book doesn't have the beginning of the story and Zot's origins. However, even without that introduction, I quickly found myself immersed in Zot and Jenny's worlds, and it was especially cool to see how the comic developed and matured over the last four years of its run. McCloud experimented in a lot of ways, and Zot! was an alternative to the traditional superhero comics. It went from a lighthearted sci-fi story to a sometimes very real portrayal of the issues facing teens.

This collection also includes McCloud's notes about some of the things he was trying to do at the time, and he explains the things he's proud of and the things he's embarrassed about. While there were some minor edits made for this collection, most of it is a warts-and-all approach. While I'll still think of McCloud as the Understanding Comics guy, it's very cool to have this piece of his history filled in. I may eventually look for the collected first ten issues of Zot! so I can see how it all started.

Fed to jonathan's brain | February 03, 2010 | Comments (0)


Post a comment

Remember Me?