Fr. 126.00

Studying Comics and Graphic Novels

English · Hardback

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Today's comics and graphic novels tackle serious themes and win Pulitzer prizes. This guide introduces their distinctive characteristics, traces their historical development, and analyzes their narrative structure. An ideal course book, the text includes material on sub-genres, such as autobiography and literary adaptation, and deploys the principles of cognitive science to explore how we respond to texts that fuse visual and linguistic storytelling techniques.

Studying Comics and Graphic Novels includes study activities, assignments, and essay questions on each topic as well as an extensive glossary and list of prominent comic and graphic novel publications, making this an invaluable student resource.

List of contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction: How to Use This Book 1

What This Book Holds 2

Working Definitions 4

1 What's in a Page: Close-Reading Comics 7

Cognitive Processes and Critical Terms 7

Navigating the Comics Page 16

Entering the Storyworld and Meeting its Participants 19

Comics Analysis - A Basic Checklist 26

2 The Way Comics Tell it: Narration and Narrators 31

Showing and Telling 31

Story, Discourse, and Plot 34

The Narrator 39

Narration, Focalization, and Point of View 44

Narrative as Meaning-Making 48

Graphic Narrative - A Basic Checklist 49

3 Narrating Minds and Bodies: Autobiographical Comics 55

Style and Subjectivity 55

Autographic Agents 57

Embodiment 60

Self-Reflexivity 61

Time, Story, and History 65

Alternative Agendas and Authenticity 68

4 Novels and Graphic Novels: Adaptations 73

Transporting Stories 74

Media Affordances and Adaptation Strategies 75

Fidelity in Adaptation 80

Literary Complexity 85

The Page Revisited 90

5 Comics and Their History 99

The Beginnings of Comics History 99

Precursors in Emergent Mass Culture 102

Newspaper Comics (1900s-1930s) 103

The Comic Book (1930-54) 106

Comics Censorship (1954) 110

Comics as Popular Culture 113

Breaking the Code 1: Pop Art and Underground Comix 117

Breaking the Code 2: The British Invasion 118

6 The Study and Criticism of Comics 123

Resources for Studying Comics 123

Access to Comics Texts 123

Critical Work on Comics 124

Critical Approaches to Comics 125

Comics Semiotics 126

Comics Narratology 128

Cognitive Approaches to Comics 129

Historical and Auteurist Approaches 131

Cultural Studies and Gender Studies 133

Psychoanalysis 134

How to Write Your Essay on Comics 139

The Crime Scene 142

The Witnesses 142

Making Your Case 144

End Credits 146

Conclusion: Comics as Literature 149

Appendix: More Comics and Graphic Novels to Read 155

Glossary 167

Index 179

About the author

Karin Kukkonen is Balzan Postdoctoral Research Fellow at St John's College, University of Oxford, UK. Her research focuses on the emergence and development of comics as a narrative form during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Dr Kukkonen has published work on metaphors, metafiction, and multi-perspective storytelling in comics. Her recent monograph, Contemporary Comics Storytelling (2013) examines how the comics of recent years engage with the legacy of postmodernism.


This introduction to studying comics and graphic novels is a structured guide to a popular topic. It deploys novel cognitive approaches to analyze the importance of psychological and physical aspects of reader experience and features activities and exercises throughout.

Product details

Authors Karin Kukkonen
Publisher Wiley, John and Sons Ltd
Languages English
Product format Hardback
Released 30.08.2013
EAN 9781118499931
ISBN 978-1-118-49993-1
No. of pages 190
Subjects Humanities, art, music > Linguistics and literary studies

Literaturwissenschaft, Comics, Literature, Romane, Graphic Novel, The Novel

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