The Rise and Reason of Comics and Graphic Literature

Critical Essays on the Form

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About the Book

These 15 essays investigate comic books and graphic novels, beginning with the early development of these media. The essays also place the work in a cultural context, addressing theory and terminology, adaptations of comic books, the superhero genre, and comic books and graphic novels that deal with history and nonfiction. By addressing the topic from a wide range of perspectives, the book offers readers a nuanced and comprehensive picture of current scholarship in the subject area.

About the Author(s)

Joyce Goggin teaches literature, film and new media at the University of Amsterdam, where she is currently the acting chair of the English literature.
Dan Hassler-Forest is an assistant professor of Media and Cultural Studies at Utrecht University. He has published books and articles on superhero movies, comics, transmedia storytelling, adaptation studies, critical theory and zombies.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Joyce Goggin and Dan Hassler-Forest
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 244
Bibliographic Info: 20 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4294-2
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5761-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction (Joyce Goggin and Dan Hassler-Forest)      1


Part One. Origin Stories: History and Development of the Genre

1. Of Gutters and Guttersnipes: Hogarth’s Legacy (Joyce Goggin)      5

2. Ridiculous Rebellion: George L. Carlson and the Recovery of Jingle Jangle Comics (Daniel F. Yezbick)      25

3. Suspended in Mid-Month: Serialized Storytelling in Comics (Daniel Wüllner)      42


Part Two. What We Talk About When We Talk About Comics: Theory and Terminology

4 Balloonics: The Visuals of Balloons in Comics (Charles Forceville, Tony Veale, and Kurt Feyaerts)      56

5. Remediation and the Sense of Time in Graphic Narratives (Kai Mikkonen)      74

6. Brick by Brick: Chris Ware’s Architecture of the Page (Angela Szczepaniak)      87


Part Three. Out of the Gutter: Comics and Adaptations

7. It Was the Best of Two Worlds, It Was the Worst of Two Worlds: The Adaptation of Novels in Comics and Graphic Novels (Dirk Vanderbeke)      104

8. The 300 Controversy: A Case Study in the Politics of Adaptation (Dan Hassler-Forest)      119


Part Four. Men in Tights: The Superhero Paradigm

9. The Last Action Hero’s Swan Song: Graphic Novelty or Never-Ending Story? (Andreas Rauscher)      130

10. Extraordinary People: The Superhero Genre and Celebrity Culture in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Jonathan E. Goldman)      142

11. Warren Ellis’s Planetary: The Archaeology of Superheroes (Karin Kukkonen)      154


Part Five. Drawing History: Nonfiction in Comics

12. Reconsidering Comics Journalism: Information and Experience in Joe Sacco’s Palestine (Benjamin Woo)      166

13. Comics, Trauma and Cultural Memory(ies) of 9/11 (Christophe Dony and Caroline van Linthout)      178

14. “Be vewy, vewy quiet. We’re hunting wippers”: A Barthesian Analysis of the Construction of Fact and Fiction in Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s From Hell (Julia Round)      188

15. Graphic Black Nationalism: Visualizing Political Narratives in the Graphic Novel (James Braxton Peterson)      202


About the Contributors      223

Works Cited      227
Index      237