Lynd Ward’s Gods’ Man made me consider the reading experience in a new way. Instead of the continuous, forward motion I was used to while reading literature, I found myself flipping back, re-reading, and dwelling longer on a given page while skipping quickly through others. I became hyper-aware of how often I was flipping the pages and how I was constructing a story out of the images presented to me. The story, it seemed, came out of the image’s position between the previous and next image. The context created the story. When reading books that aren’t graphic novels, I read the page, processed the information and moved on to the next one. Then, repeated as necessary. The story in text-based novels was continuous and unconcerned with page sequence. The pages were more of a mode of transport for the story rather than a storytelling technique, as it was with Gods’ Man. My multi-directional experience with reading Gods’ Man made this previous method of reading seem laborious and menial in contrast.
The reading from Scott McCloud’s book also talked about the unique experience of reading graphic novels. His discussion of closure and the “staccato rhythm of unconnected moments” applies to the reading of Gods’ Man as well, but to a larger degree. Where McCloud was discussing how the gutter between panels creates a jarring movement in the story, in Gods’ Man, this effect is multiplied because the space expands from a few centimeters to an entire page. The space is also coupled with the action of turning the page, so the revelation of the story is even more broken. However, as McCloud notes, this dynamic allowed the reader to become a collaborator, which was an entirely pleasurable experience for me.