Tag Archives: comics studies

A World Turned Upside Down, or Rakuten’s Elliptical Ambivalence

In the spirit of translative promiscuity, letting no one way of doing things become an ossified norm, I thought this week I might make use of a selection of translated single page manga from Rakuten’s oeuvre to illustrate an argument in that way that used to be my weekly habit not so long ago.

What Translation Conceals, or How to Make Bad Choices Well

It is, perhaps, a bit unfair, even if useful and necessary sometimes, to pick apart someone else’s translation, to linger creepily over its supposed faults, and generally slap it about with the sloppy phallus of your smug superiority.  I myself only started to eschew these bouts of accusatory dick-waving once I had spent a considerable […]

37. New Year, New Plans, New Thoughts

I am not going to get into an extensive post mortem of [Comics] as Reading at this time. I do not yet have the distance from it to accurately assess whether I believe now that it was worth the while or how I should have approached things differently. I will say, on a purely visceral level, that I am far more satisfied, emotionally that is, with this effort than many of my previous endeavors.

[Comics] as Reading – Chapter 5 – Introduction, or [Comics] as Guide to Textual Subjectivity pt. 3

It is a question incumbent upon you—not some hypothetical “you” but rather you reading this statement at this moment—to answer, even if only imperfectly and provisionally, and that answer may very well guide you toward vectors of understanding I have yet to see or may never see. For Rakuten’s [comics] mirror within, with many facets, as well as without, to a larger world as well as to yourself as reader, because the many potential readings his [comics]—really all [comics] and therefore all texts—seem to anticipate are only there insofar as you are primed and willing to see them.

[Comics] as Reading – Chapter 5 – Introduction, or [Comics] as Guide to Textual Subjectivity pt. 1

[Editorial Note – Today’s post apparently coincides with the third anniversary of the existence of this blog.  Hurray?  Anyway, I have to apologize for the interval between when I finished posting chapter 4 and now, but I was just not satisfied with what I had originally written, and so proffer this much longer and hopefully […]

[Comics] as Reading – Chapter 4 – [Comics] in the Web, or A Theory of Textual Infrastructure pt. 7

Nimona, then, is a clear example of [comics]-as-web, a mode of [re]production in texts whose many historical iterations make apparent how textuality is not merely an empirically observable and objectively verifiable essence to be deciphered (even if, in the particulars, we might still observe and verify, as, admittedly, I have here) but rather as an interpretive construct, an ongoing project of re-arrangement and contextualization in which texts develop, in time, as they are read and re-read both by human subjects and as a function of frameworks in which they come to be embedded and re-inscribed.

[Comics] as Reading – Chapter 4 – [Comics] in the Web, or A Theory of Textual Infrastructure pt. 6

Sociality is the condition wherein readers, either as direct patrons or as contributors to a system of patronage, provide creators with the means to produce at all or, more accurately, to continue to produce [comic] works after their initial forays have provided the grounds upon which creator and reader might come into more immediate and repeated contact than existing systems of consumer capitalism typically allow for. It is key to see the model of more-if-not-perfectly direct patronage so common in [webcomics] spheres in this way, because it demonstrates how communities of readers, producers, and other interested parties condition the material base, just as in the previous section a later ideology, Dijkstra’s “separation of concerns,” refashioned HTML as a textual fundament.

[Comics] as Reading – Chapter 4 – [Comics] in the Web, or A Theory of Textual Infrastructure pt. 5

In drawing together early debates in the history of [webcomics] with early developments in HTML, as well as with ideological-as-methodological orientations in typography and computer programming, I have tried to show how, contra the isolating tendencies of book- and future-think, beginning from an assumption of widespread interconnection and articulation between seemingly disparate forms, we might account for certain observable textual phenomena for which both future- and book-think are wholly ill-equipped and which, as a result, both forms of thinking tend to dismiss or address only in passing.

[Comics] as Reading – Chapter 4 – [Comics] in the Web, or A Theory of Textual Infrastructure pt. 4

What is not readily apparent in any given webpage, its code, or even in the proclamations of principles and best practices is how the historical fact of what happened in the early history of HTML reflected a clear choice, if not always a conscientious one, of one design ideology over another, an ideology of form that was not merely an expression of a base or lower order, in the present example the “code itself” and in McCloud’s the presumed “nature” of computer hardware, but rather conditioned it to be a certain way, meaning the code conformed to the ideology, not the other way around.

[Comics] as Reading – Chapter 4 – [Comics] in the Web, or A Theory of Textual Infrastructure pt. 3

I would argue, then, in parallel to my argument in Chapter 2, that the unconscious of web design is the print periodical (sing.), what with its non-necessary but nevertheless enticing relationships between textual/visual elements in close proximity to one another. McCloud’s reading of the underlying framework for digital texts, which largely extrapolates from and makes a metaphor of hardware (while also ignoring the software platforms these texts have to run on) is simply dead wrong. It actually makes perfect sense that the first [webcomics] to emerge would be so clearly modeled on and derivative from newspaper strips, because their respective textual infrastructures have clear affinities with one another.