Tag Archives: comics studies

[Comics] as Reading – Chapter 4 – [Comics] in the Web, or A Theory of Textual Infrastructure pt. 1

The most common locution nowadays is to speak of media texts as on the Web, as if it were a mere anywhere upon which a mere anything might be projected but which is in no way dependent upon that anywhere, but I will prefer to speak of [comics] and so-called [webcomics] in particular as in the web [sic] of complex textual inter-relations drawn from and not merely depicting a print milieu whose own observable articulations in what I have so far called a print periodical (sing.) signaled quite clearly [comics’] will be as already are.

36. Analytics, Antagonism

It was suggested to me recently that it might be worth while, though I find it rather boring, to say a little something about the nuts and bolts of this blog, the book project I imposed upon it, despite its “limited” manga purview, and how my career as a scholar and on again off again academic has been affected by it, so instead of taking my usual week off before writing the next “intermissive” of [Comics] as Reading, I thought I might take this opportunity to note what has gone well, what has gone not so well, and what has genuinely surprised me over the past few years.

[Comics] as Reading – Chapter 3 – Discipline, Langue, and Play in the Discourse of [Comic] Studies pt. 6

A newspaper is a heterogeneous text, filled with reportage, entertainment, etc. of various kinds. For the newspaper, like any print periodical (sing.), is both an historiographic and historical event, meaning it is both partial record of a contemporaneous discourse, so-called current events that with the passage of time become history, as well as participant within that discourse. So too with the comics that appear within newspapers: the mere fact of self-referentiality does not set them apart from media or the world at an aloof, critical distance but may, in fact, be the clearest sign that comics are profoundly embedded in the very milieux they might presumably re-present.

[Comics] as Reading – Chapter 3 – Discipline, Langue, and Play in the Discourse of [Comic] Studies pt. 5

This attempt to draw the “automatic” back into the “conscientious” is necessary if we are to see what is harmful in the distinction between theory and practice Miodrag makes and in the assumptions upon which that distinction is predicated. What both Edwards and McGann (along with the silent Drucker) demonstrate, each one a practically oriented theorist in her/his own way, is that there is a how to perception and how perception translates into understanding (and, perhaps more importantly, how understanding a priori influences perception) is key to loosening the theoretical binds in which we so often find ourselves. Moreover, while Miodrag’s diatribe falls short of exhorting the academy to expel the practitioner barbarians, her call to discipline them—or kindly request that they discipline themselves—is both outrageous and self-defeating. The practical know-how—be it artistic or editorial or writerly or whatever—that [comics] practitioners bring to bear has obvious ramifications for the arcane arts of theoretical speculation.

[Comics] as Reading – Chapter 3 – Discipline, Langue, and Play in the Discourse of [Comic] Studies pt. 2

What Smolderen oddly fails to allow for is the potential to think of the past in terms of the artifacts of that past and their messy, rather non-obvious relationship to each other. I am hesitant to say simply “in terms of the past,” since the before now only ever survives artifactually, but what I mean to say is that historical thinking does not have to posit a trajectory, a vector, either from “then” to “now” or from “now” to “then.” It is entirely possible to think the past in terms of an array of roughly contemporaneous things, rather than a tradition or line of causality, and perhaps, if anything like a readerly encounter with a text is to be hypothesized, this way of thinking has to at least be considered.

[Comics] as Reading – Intermissive 2 – Nick Sousanis’s Unflattening and Christophe Chabouté’s Tout Seul

PREVIOUS: Chapter 2 – [Manga] I like to admit when I’m wrong, especially when a particular approach I have taken reveals itself to be fundamentally misguided.  Of course, these are the moments when, psychologically, it’s hardest to simply be wrong, and any number of beautiful rationalizations drift into your awareness so as to justify why you […]

[Comics] as Reading – Chapter 2 – [Manga] pt. 6

PREVIOUS: [Manga] pt. 5 This mode of sequential progress through a number of juxtaposed frames/cells within a total page/board layout may be analogous to a common though by no means universal understanding of [comics] as, at their core, “sequential art,” yet it remains an open question whether this mode of understanding is especially useful for […]

[Comics] as Reading – Chapter 2 – [Manga] pt. 5

PREVIOUS: [Manga] pt. 4 The [manga] variants on the game of the goose one sees around this time retain some features (e.g. the spiral pattern, which is not specific to it, and the satire of current affairs) while discarding others (e.g. the rules of play and the 63 game spaces).  For instance, Rakuten’s Election Race […]

[Comics] as Reading – Chapter 2 – [Manga] pt. 4

PREVIOUS: [Manga] pt. 3 [Comics] and commerce, of course, have a long and tangled history, from the use of Outcault’s Buster Brown character as an advertising mascot for the Brown Shoe Company to the still current[1] use of Schulz’s Peanuts characters in ads for the insurance company MetLife. However, long before Buster, advertisements in print […]

[Comics] as Reading – Chapter 2 – [Manga] pt. 3

PREVIOUS: [Manga] pt. 2 2. Periodic[al] Reading In the comments section to an earlier version of the argument[s] about to follow, Stewart, in response to my reading of a particular page from the July 31st, 1907 issue of Puck (above), gave what I presume to be a rather likely objection to the entire purview of […]