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  • Graphic Affects
  • Jason Wallin

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Graphic Affects attempts to conduct a material experiment for thinking the composition of the graphic novel and, further, its potential to palpate new forms of experience on behalf of its reader. This approach necessitates drawing the orthodoxies of the graphic novel into composition with the question of what art can do. While this work marks a nascent commitment to the aforementioned question, its intent is to produce a probe-head for surveying potential modulations in the graphic novel medium (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987). More simply put, the intent of this experimental approach is relatively straightforward in that it attempts to access modes of thinking beyond the habitual reproduction of the graphic novel as a vehicle for expository narrative, temporal linearity, or as an aesthetic alternative to text-based composition (O'Sullivan, 2006). Where one might expect narratology, sequential action, or unfolding didacticism, an encounter of another variety emerges. This other encounter might be thought as a minimal attempt at non-representation in which the familiar circuits of the graphic novel are broken down and reassembled in order to think how the graphic novel works in the fiirst place. This maneuver breaks from the interpretive impulse that asks "What happened?" in lieu of creating conditions by which 'it happens', or less opaquely, where an encounter is produced that does not require the function of a pre-text or prior form, hence pushing the graphic novel into potential post-media formations (Lyotard, 1988). In other words, this experiment attempts to reveal the nascent habits that inform upon the graphic novel by practicing a kind of productive law-breaking. It is via this nominal code breaking that this work attempts to habilitate alternative trajectories for the graphic form no longer wed to character, content, chronological action, or familiar didacticism. Here, an alternative pedagogy emerges premised on the production of the event, or rather, an encounter that attempts to dilate the forms of production that might be associated to the graphic novel. [End Page 35]


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The Graphic Novel Must First Be Made

There is no doubt that the experiments in this essay mark at least a minimal vector of failure. Yet, perhaps they fail less to inaugurate a new sensibility than those experiments that vary by content alone. More importantly, if the experiments that populate this visual essay suggest anything, it is that the graphic novel must first be made. While this point might be moot, it nevertheless becomes a challenge to think what a graphic novel can do. While this visual essay might anticipate a post-media conceptualization of the graphic novel, it certainly does not presuppose its obsolescence. It is not remiss to anticipate that the medium will continue to labor under the banner of "visual literacy," or that it will continue to be thought in Xidelity to semiotic theory. To assert that the graphic novel must Xirst be made, however, necessitates that we ask how it is created in the fiirst place. It is along such lines that the creation of the graphic novel might not simply be a vehicle for the aesthetic presentation of content, but a device for surveying the very limits of the medium and its potential for counter-actualizing the ways in which we have been conditioned to approach it. In this manner, the graphic novel might be stolen back from under the rubric of "visual literacy" and recommenced as an art form. That is, the graphic novel would be repurposed for the task of producing affects, or rather, for producing new forms of experience no longer contracted with linear narrative, temporal continuity, or normative forms of spatial organization. Herein, the medium would no longer function as a handmaiden to semiotics insofar as its orientation would become inherently futural and oriented to the production...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2151-8009
Print ISSN
0736-0770
Pages
pp. 34-44
Launched on MUSE
2012-08-31
Open Access
No
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