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Proof that comic artists are starting to take themselves a wee bit too seriously comes in Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, an illustrated tome that exhaustively divines the mechanics and aesthetics of “sequential art.” While McCloud’s observations range from the intriguing (notably his pontifications on the “gutter” between comic panels) to the pedestrian (“Words are the ultimate abstraction”), the thoroughness of his presentation makes Comics a worthwhile, if occasionally dry, sourcebook for analyzing everything from hieroglyphs to Peanuts. At 6:30 p.m. at the Navy Memorial Auditorium, 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. $25. (202) 357-3030. (Steve Kuhn)