You read that right, and it means exactly what you think it does. But only because you do. Confused? Don’t be. Closure, as discussed in writing, research, and technology, is what happens between the panels. not just in comics, but in all forms of communication. If a person told you to, “read between the lines,” you wouldn’t need to ask which lines they were talking about, you’d simply use your understanding of the phrase to extract meaning (and respond accordingly, of course). As McCloud points out in Blood in the Gutter , we build stories based on what we already understand and fill in the spaces accordingly. It could be something as complicated as a murder in a comic
or as simple as knowing that when ‘t’ comes after ‘a’ it makes the word ‘at’. This understanding helps every single person in their every day life to understand what occurs around them.
Closure can also be changed from what is usually understood. How does the mind react when put in a situation it did not know it would be in? In many cases, hilariously. As Ashley DeBella-McNem pointed out in her tweet on Tuesday, messing with a person’s understanding can have funny effects on the message of a well known comic like Garfield. These examples often don’t give a story to the reader, but more often take any essence of a story away from the strip due to the lack of anything happening between the panels.
One anti-hero who is a great study for closure is the anti-hero Wade Winston Wilson, or Deadpool. He so perfectly exemplifies what closure is by completely disregarding what a comic book hero is supposed to do. Sure you can tell when he shoots his gun, someone is most likely dying in between the panels, but other times, he doesn’t fit so perfectly in one panel. He may feel the need to walk into the gutter and explain a few things to the reader. And more often than not, this explanation further confuses the situation and sheds absolutely no light on what could possibly be happening between those two panels.
Another fast rising example of closure-confusion is a very recent occurrence, and doesn’t have a single name yet. For all intents and purposes they will be called “noscope” or “Shrekt” videos here for simplicity sake, but there are many variations of the model. These videos use internet memes, poor animations, sound-bits, and music over preexisting video or audio files to create strange and usually disturbing video. Let’s watch:
This video demonstrates the odd, new style and has the basis of a story, but all the elements have been thrown off. For almost a year, there has been a strange cult following of the Shrek films and this video reflects that fad. This is a very tame example of this genre where as the next clip is very over the top (language/loud):
This video uses more memes and poor animation to poke fun at the first person shooter games and how engrossed in skill people become. Both of these videos show the odd new developments in media but still manage to have some small, if not confused, closure.
But why does it matter?
Because all of Garfield’s strange adaptions, Deadpool, and even the “noscope” and “Shrekt” videos perfectly exemplify how flexible closure is. Even though most of the Garfield comics make almost no sense, websites still run those comics and people still pay attention to them. Deadpool is gaining fame at an exponential rate and even had a game released last year. These two new video memes are only two of the millions that have been posted to Youtube already. The reason closure is so flexible is because to understand something, a receiver simply needs to know a few key points of a piece. In the future, dare to be strange and walk off the beaten path. Thanks to the internet, someone, somewhere will understand you, and have closure.