When icons are more abstract, they serve as a way to get the readers involved in what’s on the page. The readers are more easily capable of associating with the abstract images that they are viewing, thus making them more susceptible to the story unfolding before them. When icons are less abstract, readers are communicated to in a fashion where they are supposed to view such images as objects more than before. Even drawings of people become objectified when drawn with more details than the abstract main characters.


Until I read McCloud’s discussion about the function of cartoons, I had not thought about how an abstract drawing of a person is far easier to see yourself in than a more detailed image. The role of images, when they are as abstract as a circle with dots and lines inside them, is important to help the audience to fill those shoes of the center of focus. And he’s right, the difference between using an image to describe something and using words to describe that same thing is so huge that it almost seems absurd that a comic artist can sit down and merge those two ways of storytelling into one style in order to depict a story.