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Image credit: Victor GAD. Marija Dalbello Comics . Rutgers School of Communication, Information, and Library Studies dalbello@scils.rutgers.edu http://www.scils.rutgers.edu/~dalbello. Comics _______________________________________ History Comic book culture

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slide1

Image credit: Victor GAD

Marija Dalbello

Comics

Rutgers

School of Communication, Information, and Library Studies

dalbello@scils.rutgers.edu

http://www.scils.rutgers.edu/~dalbello

slide2

Comics

_______________________________________

History

Comic book culture

Visual language of comics (Comic literacy)

Artists / Publishers / Readers

Taxonomies

slide3

Comic Book History

_______________________________________

Turn of the century (pictorial storytelling)

1940s superhero comics

Comic Book Code (Fredric Wertham’s The Seduction of the Innocent (NY: Random, 1954)

1960s adult comics

1980s slump

1990s to date revival; alternative comics (Vertigo); graphic novel boom

slide4

Visual Language of Comics

  • _______________________________________
  • Fundamental elements of comics literacy Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (1993)
  • Visual iconography established vocabulary of comics
  • Narrative closure (constructing a continuous unified reality)
    • Panel layout
    • Color
    • Visual conventions (balloons and types of speech, moods)
    • Arrangement of the panels on the page, size of panels and reading directions
    • Conscious breaking of rules
    • Self-reflexivity (convention / innovation)
  • Innovation: Chris Ware (matrix instead of sequence; unified panel)
slide5

Visual Language of Comics

  • _______________________________________
  • Panel-to-panel transition (Puszt, pp. 115-120)
    • Numbering
    • Arrows to show progression
    • Traditional left-to-right reading direction
    • Action-to-action transitions (single subject in a brief sequence of movement or change; character swinging a fistt)
    • Subject-to-subject transitions (focuses on a single scene or idea but moves its focus from place to place during the sequence for example showing an anguished face of characters in the same scene)
    • Scene-to-scene transitions (deductive reasoning because reader fills in the gaps of time and space between the panels; to separate specific sequences; time and space changes)
    • Aspect-to-aspect transitions (montage of elements reflecting a single place, idea, or mood)
    • Non sequitur transitions (no logical relationship between panels but they can create “meaning or resonance”)
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Artists / Writers

  • _______________________________________
  • Harvey Pekar (writer: American Splendor)(http://www.harveypekar.com)
  • Chris Ware (innovative visual language) (http://orion.it.luc.edu/~dcihla/ware.htm)
  • Robert Crumb (http://www.fantagraphics.com/artist/crumb/crumb.html)
  • Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons (Watchmen-cinematic effects) (http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Studios/3840/watchmen.html)
  • Neil Gaiman (Death, The Cost of Living, Sandman - horror, supernatural) (http://www.neilgaiman.com)
  • Art Spiegelman (Mauss - Pulitzer prize) (http://www.iath.virginia.edu/holocaust/spiegelman.html)
  • DC comics, Vertigo, Marvel, minicomics (Samizdat editions), comix
slide7

CW

RC

Artists / Writers

_______________________________________

Watchmen

HP

NG

slide8

Readers

  • _______________________________________
  • Extensive reading / Collecting (“fanboys” / “true believers”)
  • Reading within a niche culture (in-crowd)
  • Published letters (interaction between readers and with the writers)
  • Close relationship with production (readers as participants and producers in the culture)
  • Male readership (superhero comics; connection to adolescence)
  • Female readership (alternative comix, manga)
  • Mainstream vs. Alternative audience
  • Comic book culture (specialized bookstores, Comicon)
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Taxonomies

  • _______________________________________
  • Manga (anime)
  • Superhero comics (young adult, adult)
  • Alternative comics (adult)
  • Genres: action, horror, supernatural, SF