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Archive for the ‘Theory’ Category

The state of comics studies

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Thought Balloonists discusses the current climate in the world of comics studies. This is a really thorough article, and has some really well-informed comments.

I’m a fan myself, and expect always to be one. But academics have professional needs and priorities that are peculiar to the profession, and it’s my belief that comics studies in the academy must grapple more deliberately with those needs and priorities. Frankly, I think we’re going to have separate out our fandom connections from what we need and what we hope to accomplish as academics.


Written by The Department of Illustration

September 14, 2009 at 6:15 pm

Posted in Articles, Comics, Theory

Translation: Poison River and the vertiginous ellipsis

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Derik Badman takes apart translates an article originally written in French in which David Turgeon takes apart Gilbert Hernandez’s Poison River and sees what makes it tick for French site

The density of narration, the abundance of situations in a limited space, and the compressed representation of time all participate together to give the story a schematic impression. In other words, Hernandez tells his stories in broad strokes, showing details only when necessary. Among other things, this allows him to age his characters significantly in only a few pages or to show the type of large-scale social or political evolutions that would be difficult to notice were the story told “step by step.” On the other hand, these characteristics seems to prevent a certain degree of fluidity in the story.

Written by The Department of Illustration

September 7, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Huxley vs Orwell

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Written by The Department of Illustration

August 21, 2009 at 6:45 am

Posted in Comics, Theory, Webcomics

Neil Cohn on Memory, Experience & Comics Comprehension

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Again, getting back to the idea of the passive/active – films/comics relationship, Neil Cohn further discusses whether the act of reading a comic is an act of conscious construction of semiotic experience or drawing on abstract concepts to formulate meaning.

Again, I am hesitant to accept that people are actually imagining sounds, smells, motion, etc. while reading a comic.

Get over to the article and get involved in the comments if you experience sound, motion or any other sensory input when reading comics..

Written by The Department of Illustration

August 18, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Posted in Comics, Theory

Still confused by Asterios Polyp?

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Here are a few review/introductions to David Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp. I think Sean T. Collins introduces the problem with talking about this book quite nicely in his article on The Savage Critic;

An extraordinarily easy book to read, Asterios Polyp is, I’m finding, a nearly equally extraordinarily difficult book to talk about. Frankly I think I just feel out of my depth.

Ng Suat Tong at The Comics Reporter introduces some theoretical approaches Mazzucchelli takes in the construction of the book, as well as many other articles that deal with it.

Particularly helpful and insightful is Stumptown’s annotations. I must admit that my knowledge of Greek Mythology has been somewhat expanded by reading these annotations.

Written by The Department of Illustration

August 18, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Posted in Buy This, Comics, Review, Theory

Looking back at Scott McCloud’s webcomic tips

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I suppose this article highlights some of the problems with speculating about possible futures. I think that McCloud did a grand job of applying what we knew then, but I’m not sure it matches up with what we know now. Oh, the benefits of hindsight. Still, there is some timeless advice here.

Written by The Department of Illustration

August 18, 2009 at 9:04 am

Posted in Advice, Comics, Theory, Webcomics

Avoiding reader boredom

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Jim Adam writes a handy article on avoiding reader boredom.

Written by The Department of Illustration

August 18, 2009 at 7:07 am

Posted in Advice, Theory