Speaking about creating comics, McCloud said that we can't choose where or when we are born, but we have an inherent birthright to build our own worlds to escape into. Thus comics, like any other medium, offer an escape from our own lives--both for the artist and the reader.
He talked about storytelling as the prime function of comics--it doesn't matter what form or style the comic comes in, as long as one can lose oneself in the story. When the presentation gets in the way of the story itself, it makes for bad comics.
McCloud described comics as a "call and response" medium. The comic provides a temporal map that guides the reader through the story. Each panel is a guide point, and each gutter(the space between panels) is a place for the reader to infer different parts of the story. In true comics, SPACE EQUALS TIME.
McCloud believes that comics pre- and post-date print. That is, they are not restricted to the printed page. Comics can be a single, unbroken reading line such as the Bayeux Tapestry or Drew Weing's webcomic "Pup ponders the Heat Death of the Universe." To McCloud, comics, because of their potential seamlessness, are a medium unlike anything else.
Addressing his favorite comics, McCloud dubbed XKCD "the perfect webcomic," and stated that Brian Lee O'Malley's "'Scott Pilgrim' is the funniest comic on the planet right now." He may very well be right.
Scott McCloud's advice to budding sequential artists is simply this: "Learn from everyone, but follow no one."
I enjoyed the lecture immensely--it was as humorous and poignant as McCloud's books. Don't miss him if he comes to your area!
Scott McCloud's Autograph (note the icons)