On writing in comics: errata

And then everybody with an opinion or less weighs in about the essence of comics. Excellent. — me, on twitter just now That was on a sudden discussion about writers and artists in comics, who does who, whose is larger, and which part of the storytelling is more important. That's a rather simplistic approach of…

Here’s a thought about neglected structural aspects

Of course, video games, like movies, are an amalgam of many different media. Some lean on the time-based pleasures of narrative while others resemble the spatially-oriented work found in galleries and museums, visual and plastic arts that bend and shape the space surrounding them. But in the ongoing argument that would claim video games as an authentic, legitimate art form, the medium’s narrative aspects have been overemphasized while its structural aspects go neglected.

—Adam Fleming Petty, in The Spatial Poetics of Nintendo

The last sentence here reflects pretty well my feelings in regards to comics research and analysis.

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Here’s a thought about comics grids invoking rhythm

I was asked why I always stuck to that nine panel grid in From hell and Alec and I said it was all about the patterns, and I referred to the game of noughts and crosses, or whatever you call it in your part of the world […] And how this opens up all the directions, all simultaneously. You can’t have patterns with 2. That’s just coincidence. You need to be working in 3.

– Eddie Campbell, in a blog post dated 8 September 2011

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Here’s a thought about strategic, spatial arrangement of images

In a gallery, sequence and character are unmoored from an explicit narrative, but that doesn’t make an application of McCloud’s or any other theorists’ ideas invalid. In any case, I predict that our narrative facility is still engaged without it, and I’d argue that much recent, brilliant work in comics allows its gutters, sequence, and associative qualities to thwart clear storytelling.

– Kailyn Kent, in Gallery Cartoonists on Hooded Utilitarian

The article is 3½ years old, but I post the link here in support of my tongue in cheek inclusion of gallery hangings in a comics definition 🙂

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Jan Baetens near name checking my book 4 years ahead of publication

…what abstraction finally shows is also the possible frailty of narrative. Even when it is present in apparently hegemonic ways, narrative can always collapse in order to give way to something totally else.

–Jan Baetens, Abstraction in Comics. Quoted in Bennett, Comics Poetry: the art of the possible

I swear, I hadn’t read this when I concocted the concept for When the last story is told – the sentiment is the same, though. From the description for my book:

[The] very title suggests a potential end of narrative, but also  that something else may fill the gap, a still-fluid substance or undefined fictional construct forming …

Guess I was on the right track? If anyone has Baetens’ contact info please pass it along, I’ll be happy to send him a copy.

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The staged problem with closure

Reading Tamryn Bennett's Comics poetry: Beyond sequential narrative, which argues convincingly for an alternate theory of comics that  may embrace "non-narrative, multi-linear, simultaneous, experimental, abstract or poetic" comics, I was struck by an odd argument against Scott McCloud and his concept of closure: According to McCloud, the navigational process known as 'closure' requires negotiation of…

Beyond sequence

After reading Neil Cohn's 2013 paper Navigating Comics, I was going to write a piece about the big sequential pitfall in most comics scholarship, but through no effort at all I came upon Tamryn Bennett's Comics poetry: Beyond 'sequential art' (pdf link) which pretty much sums up my thoughts: While there's no doubt narratology has…