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Reimagining Critical Discourse on the Form
It has become an axiom in comic studies that "comics is a language, not a genre." But what exactly does that mean, and how is discourse on the form both aided and hindered by thinking of it in linguistic terms? In Comics and Language, Hannah Miodrag challenges many of the key assumptions about the "grammar" and formal characteristics of comics, and offers a more nuanced, theoretical framework that she argues will better serve the field by offering a consistent means for communicating critical theory in the scholarship. Through engaging close readings and an accessible use of theory, this book exposes the problems embedded in the ways critics have used ideas of language, literature, structuralism, and semiotics, and sets out a new and more theoretically sound way of understanding how comics communicate.Comics and Language argues against the critical tendency to flatten the distinctions between language and images and to discuss literature purely in terms of story content. It closely examines the original critical theories that such arguments purport to draw on and shows how they in fact point away from the conclusions they are commonly used to prove. The book improves the use the field makes of existing scholarly disciplines and furthers the ongoing sophistication of the field. It provides animated and insightful analyses of a range of different texts and takes an interdisciplinary approach. Comics and Language will appeal to the general comics reader and will prove crucial for specialized scholars in the fields of comics, literature, cultural studies, art history, and visual studies. It also provides a valuable summary of the current state of formalist criticism within comics studies and so presents the ideal text for those interested in exploring this growing area of research
This book is the follow-up to Thierry Groensteen's ground-breaking The System of Comics, in which the leading French-language comics theorist set out to investigate how the medium functions, introducing the principle of iconic solidarity, and showing the systems that underlie the articulation between panels at three levels: page layout, linear sequence, and nonsequential links woven through the comic book as a whole. He now develops that analysis further, using examples from a very wide range of comics, including the work of American artists such as Chris Ware and Robert Crumb. He tests out his theoretical framework by bringing it up against cases that challenge it, such as abstract comics, digital comics and sh?jo manga, and offers insightful reflections on these innovations.In addition, he includes lengthy chapters on three areas not covered in the first book. First, he explores the role of the narrator, both verbal and visual, and the particular issues that arise out of narration in autobiographical comics. Second, Groensteen tackles the question of rhythm in comics, and the skill demonstrated by virtuoso artists in intertwining different rhythms over and above the basic beat provided by the discontinuity of the panels. And third he resets the relationship of comics to contemporary art, conditioned by cultural history and aesthetic traditions but evolving recently as comics artists move onto avant-garde terrain.
Comics and the U.S. South offers a wide-ranging and long overdue assessment of how life and culture in the United States South is represented in serial comics, graphic novels, newspaper comic strips, and webcomics. Diverting the lens of comics studies from the skyscrapers of Superman's Metropolis or Chris Ware's Chicago to the swamps, back roads, small towns, and cities of the U.S. South, this collection critically examines the pulp genres associated with mainstream comic books alongside independent and alternative comics. Some essays seek to discover what Captain America can reveal about southern regionalism and how slave narratives can help us reread Swamp Thing; others examine how creators such as Walt Kelly (Pogo), Howard Cruse (Stuck Rubber Baby), Kyle Baker (Nat Turner), and Josh Neufeld (A.D.: New Orleans after the Deluge) draw upon the unique formal properties of the comics to question and revise familiar narratives of race, class, and sexuality; and another considers how southern writer Randall Kenan adapted elements of comics form to prose fiction. With essays from an interdisciplinary group of scholars, Comics and the U.S. South contributes to and also productively reorients the most significant and compelling conversations in both comics scholarship and in southern studies.
The Comics of Chris Ware: Drawing Is a Way of Thinking brings together contributions from established and emerging scholars about the comics of Chicago-based cartoonist Chris Ware (b. 1967). Both inside and outside academic circles, Ware's work is rapidly being distinguished as essential to the developing canon of the graphic novel. Winner of the 2001 Guardian First Book Prize for the genre-defining Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth , Ware has received numerous accolades from both the literary and comics establishment. This collection addresses the range of Ware's work from his earliest drawings in the 1990s in The ACME Novelty Library and his acclaimed Jimmy Corrigan , to his most recent works-in-progress, "Building Stories" and "Rusty Brown.
A Comics Studies Reader offers the best of the new comics scholarship in nearly thirty essays on a wide variety of such comics forms as gag cartoons, editorial cartoons, comic strips, comic books, manga, and graphic novels.
The anthology covers the pioneering work of Rodolphe Töpffer, the Disney comics of Carl Barks, and the graphic novels of Art Spiegelman and Chris Ware, as well as Peanuts, romance comics, and superheroes. It explores the stylistic achievements of manga, the international anti-comics campaign, and power and class in Mexican comic books and English illustrated stories.
A Comics Studies Reader introduces readers to the major debates and points of reference that continue to shape the field. It will interest anyone who wants to delve deeper into the world of comics and is ideal for classroom use.
In this collection, essayists examine their lives, their memories of Mississippi, the reasons they left the state, and what drew them back. They talk about how life differs and wears on you in the far-flung parts of our nation, and the qualities that make Mississippi unique.The writers from all corners of the state are as diverse as the regions from which they come. They are of different races, different life experiences, different talents, and different temperaments. Yet in acceding to the magical lure of Mississippi they are in many ways alike. Their roots are deep in the rich soil of this state, and they come from strong families that valued education and promoted an indomitable optimism. Successes stem from a passion, usually emerging early in life, that burns within them. But that passion is tempered, disciplined, encouraged, and influenced by the people around them, as well as the landscape and the history of their times.
A Young Immigrantâ??s Journey to Become an American Flyer
In his acclaimed memoir German Boy: A Refugee's Story, Wolfgang W. E. Samuel relates his experiences as a child surviving war and its hellish aftermath in occupied Germany. On January 24, 1951, exactly six years after his traumatic flight from Russian tanks, Samuel finds himself standing at the railing of a ship taking him to the land of his dreams--America. Coming to Colorado is the story of a refugee from war and deprivation, who at age sixteen, not understanding a word of English and with barely an eighth-grade education, leaves behind all that is familiar. Scarred by the violence, rape, and death he has seen, Samuel must first learn to be a boy again. But every relationship he tries to build must overcome the specter of his childhood experience in World War II and the chaos that followed. Shortly after his arrival in Colorado, Samuel spends what little money he has on a pair of second lieutenant's bars that he finds in a Denver pawnshop. These bars, just like those worn by the American pilots he idolized during the Berlin Airlift, remind him of the airmen and the planes that instilled in him a dream to fly. That aspiration, however, faces long odds. Struggling to learn the English language and American customs, Samuel begins to lose faith in his abilities, suffers depression, and is haunted by both recurring nightmares of his violent past and survivor's guilt. Coming to Colorado charts the path of Samuel's eventual triumph. In 1960, his proud mother saw pinned on his shoulders the gold bars of a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. It was the end of a struggle for the German boy, who had become, as he wished, the ultimate American. Retired U.S. Air Force colonel Wolfgang W. E. Samuel is the author of German Boy: A Refugee's Story, I Always Wanted to Fly: America's Cold War Airmen, The War of Our Childhood: Memories of World War II, and American Raiders: The Race to Capture the Luftwaffe's Secrets, all published by University Press of Mississippi. He lives in Fairfax Station, Virginia.
Community through Controversy
In Contemporary Southern Identity Rebecca Bridges Watts explores the implications of four public controversies about Southern identity-debates about the Confederate flag in South Carolina, the gender integration of the Virginia Military Institute, the display of public art in Richmond, and Trent Lott's controversial comments regarding Strom Thurmond's 1948 segregationist presidential bid. While such debates may serve as evidence of the South's "battle over the past," they can alternatively be seen as harbin-gers of a changing South. These controversies highlight the di-versity of voices in the conver-sation of what it means to be a Southerner. The participants in these conflicts may disagree about what Southern identity should be, but they all agree that such discussions are a cru-cial part of being Southern. Recent debates as to the place of Old South symbols and institutions in the South of the new millennium are evidence of a changing order. But a changing South is no less distinctive. If Southerners can find unity and distinctiveness in their identification, they may even be able to serve as a model for the increasingly divided United States. The very debates portrayed in the mass media as evidence of an "unfinished Civil War" can instead be interpreted as proof that the South has progressed and is having a common dialogue as to what its diverse members want it to be. Rebecca Bridges Watts is visiting assistant professor of communication studies at Stetson University.
Over three decades, celebrated fiction writer Andre Dubus (1936-1999) published seven collections of short stories, two collections of essays, two collections of previously published stories, two novels, and a novella. While this is an impressive publishing record for any writer, for Dubus, who suffered a near-fatal accident mid-career, it is near miraculous. Just after midnight on July 23, 1986, after stopping to assist two stranded motorists, Dubus was struck by a car. His right leg was crushed and his left leg had to be amputated above the knee. After months of hospital stays and surgeries, he would suffer chronic pain for the rest of his life. However, when he gave his first interview after the accident, his deepest fear was that he would never write again.This collection of interviews traces his career beginning in 1967 with the publication of his novel The Lieutenant, to his final interview given right before his death February 24, 1999. In between are conversations that focus on his shift to essay writing during his long recovery period as well as those that celebrate his return to fiction with the publication of "The Colonel's Wife," in 1993. Dubus would share as well stories surrounding his Louisiana childhood, his three marriages, the writers who influenced him, and his deep Catholic faith.
Across two decades of intense creativity, David Foster Wallace (1962-2008) crafted a remarkable body of work that ranged from unclassifiable essays, to a book about transfinite mathematics, to vertiginous fictions. Whether through essay volumes (A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, Consider the Lobster), short story collections (Girl with Curious Hair, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Oblivion), or his novels (Infinite Jest, The Broom of the System), the luminous qualities of Wallace's work recalibrated our measures of modern literary achievement. Conversations with David Foster Wallace gathers twenty-two interviews and profiles that trace the arc of Wallace's career, shedding light on his omnivorous talent.Jonathan Franzen has argued that, for Wallace, an interview provided a formal enclosure in which the writer "could safely draw on his enormous native store of kindness and wisdom and expertise." Wallace's interviews create a wormhole in which an author's private theorizing about art spill into the public record. Wallace's best interviews are vital extra-literary documents, in which we catch him thinking aloud about his signature concerns--irony's magnetic hold on contemporary language, the pale last days of postmodernism, the delicate exchange that exists between reader and writer. At the same time, his acute focus moves across MFA programs, his negotiations with religious belief, the role of footnotes in his writing, and his multifaceted conception of his work's architecture. Conversations with David Foster Wallace includes a previously unpublished interview from 2005, and a version of Larry McCaffery's influential Review of Contemporary Fiction interview with Wallace that has been expanded with new material drawn from the original raw transcript.