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Comics as a medium

Posted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 11:10 pm
by Gunwhale
I'm doing a little research for an informative speech for my speech class on the topic of comics as a medium that is just as valid as film or art or literature.

I basically want to talk about where it's come from, and where it is now, the whole time emphasizing its unique strengths as a medium. And I know the go to books are Understanding Comics by McCloud and Comics and Sequential Art by Eisner, but I was wondering if any of you guys had read some more recent books or articles on the subject.

I've been looking through journal databases to find scholarly articles on it, but it's been proving more difficult than I thought. So I'd appreciate any recommendations.

Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:32 am
by Mac McCool
The last 20 years have witnessed a mushrooming of academic and thoughtful research on sequential art.

Prof. John Lent has a wonderful periodical going on for nearly 10 years, the International Journal of Comic Art (the website is usually a little behind, but you'll find excellent research, and the subscriptions are extremely affordable, something like $30 for more than 1000 pages per year in 2 volumes). We finally have a translation of the French seminal study on comics by Thierry Groensteen, The System of Comics.

With the Masters of American Comics exhibit (2005), several specialists wrote essays about some of the most influential creators in U.S. comics since the early 1900 (beginning with Winsor McCay). Brian Walker, son of Mort Walker (creator of Beetle Bailey), has published a thorough 2 volume history of U.S. comics (The Comics Before 1945 and The Comics Since 1945).

Finally, there are more and more online resources, including the academic online journal, TextImage, and Tom Spurgeon's list of links to books on comics.

Posted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 7:17 pm
by Gunwhale
Cool, thanks for all the suggestions.

I just finished reading "Reading Comics: Language, Culture, and the Concept of the Superhero in Comic Books" by Mila Bongco, which didn't have much more to offer on the visual and textual elements of comics than McCloud and Eisner already have explained (who were quoted extensively). But there were some interesting critiques on Eisner's The Spirit, Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, and other important superhero comics that were treated academically, I guess you could say.

I also read "The Art of the Comic Book" by Robert Harvey, which had a lot more history on the evolution of the medium, but also referenced McCloud and Eisner and sequential art, so I think I'm pretty set on material dealing with how comics work and how it's evolved over the years.

But I'll definitely check into the journals you linked to. TextImage actually came up in one of my previous journal searches, so I'll look into it. Thanks a lot for the help!