Friday, July 29, 2016

Comics, or Sequential Art Explained Another Way

This is actually my 600th post on this blog, and to celebrate I am briefly revisiting my working definition of comics. Typically in the past I have said it was

Words + Images = Comics

This led me to speaking about some books as being not-quite graphic novels, which always sort of troubled me, because those books were clearly great uses of sequential art. A tweet from Kurt Busiek really made me think about it differently:

So instead of just clinging to words, I got thinking about the role of narrative instead. I usually am troubled by just thinking of comics as a storytelling medium, because it can also act like an info-graphic or editorial cartoon, communicating something other than a story. My curiosity lead me to thinking about exposition, and that led me to Wikipedia. According to that grand source, "exposition is one of four rhetorical modes (also known as modes of discourse), along with description, argumentation, and narration, as elucidated by Alexander Bain and John Genung.[2]" And so I feel that I hit upon a better way of thinking about the alchemy of comics, what interacts with images to make them work.

And so, here I am with a new equation/definition:

Discourse + Images = Comics

Agree? Disagree? What do you think?

(I am probably dense, and lots of folks have already hit upon this idea, but hey it's my blog. I get to post my thoughts, yeah?)

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