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The Graphic Novel Method

Over the last few years, I’ve been thinking about graphic novels and comics beyond a "medium." Last year, /Critical Inquiry/ released and issue dedicated to comics and media that include a variety of articles from academics and industry icons (e.g., Chris Ware) that are looking to push the boundaries of the art and aesthetics of the genre. For example, Ware has been pushing (and practicing) a view of graphic novels that plays with the idea of the physical object of a book containing the narrative–this, he notes, is something he’s been thinking about as digital comics have become more popular. One of the more interesting projects I’ve seen recently is by Özge Samanci: GPS Comics ((link) She’s also written an article for the International Digital Media and Arts Association exploring how to move graphic novels from discussions of medium to genre: (link) While I dig the idea of comics as a genre, I wonder if there would be a way that we might talk about graphic novels and comics as a aesthetic method rather than as a medium or genre. Thoughts?

  • I was about to say, "Hey, I took a class on this!" But then I realized. Hmm, for thoughts on how to approach this, maybe the post could start out talking about the concept of comics as a medium (there's also that article where the author examined comics as a language), and then go into why the aesthetic method may be more fitting. There's the GPS comics you mentioned above, as well as the "Building Stories" box of narratives we looked at in class. I'd be fascinated to see someone take this on. Also, there's Topffer's original goal of comics as an accessible education method to consider. – emilydeibler 6 years ago
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  • Thanks, Emily. I taught that class. :) – revfigueiredo 6 years ago
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