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Jones, Matthew T. Found in Translation. Structural and Cognitive Aspects of the Adaptation of Comic Art to Film. Ph.D. (Dissertation), Temple University 2008 (283 S.).
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|Resource type: Thesis/Dissertation
BibTeX citation key: Jones2008
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Keywords: Adaption, Comic-Verfilmung, Rezeption
Publisher: Temple University (Philadelphia)
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This dissertation seeks to answer questions concerning how film adaptations of comic art are constructed and received. Through investigating several bodies of literature, including work on literary adaptation, telepresence theory, comic art and cognitive film theory, the following primary questions are arrived at: (1) What are the different types of comic art to film adaptations that exist based on the devices and strategies used in adapting the content of comic artwork to film? (2) How is the film viewer’s experience of telepresence influenced by prior experience with the comic art source material of the film adaptation? (3) Which medium produces a stronger sense of telepresence?
Two studies that were developed to answer these questions are reported. Through a textual analysis comparing different types of comic-to-film adaptations selected from a nearly comprehensive list (Jones, 2008), a set of adaptive operations was discovered based upon the narrative and stylistic relationships between film adaptations and the comic art source materials from which they derive. Depending upon which operations are used, adaptations may be classified as predominately structural or thematic. At one extreme there are purely structural adaptations that feature an almost precise correspondence of narrative events between comic source and film adaptation. At the other extreme, thematic adaptations have no relationship of narrative structure to the comic source being adapted, but retain thematic elements in the form of key conflicts and characters.
Having established this opposition, a second study was performed to determine the differential effect of reading and viewing a structural versus a thematic adaptation on the experience of telepresence. The following hypotheses are asserted: (1) viewers of film adaptations of comic art will experience higher levels of telepresence if they have prior experience reading the comic art source material than if they do not, (2) viewers of film adaptations of comic art will experience higher levels of telepresence if the film is adapted structurally from the comic than if the film is adapted thematically, (3) viewers with a higher level of preexisting interest in the priming stimulus will report higher telepresence scores in response to viewing the film adaptation than participants who have less preexisting interest, (4) the medium of film will produce a stronger sense of telepresence than the medium of comics when content is held constant across media forms.
Of the four main hypotheses, evidence was found to support the first one: the general priming hypothesis that individuals who are primed by comic art source material prior to seeing the film adaptation experience higher levels of telepresence than those who are not. Marginal support was found for the second hypothesis (structural priming produces more telepresence than thematic priming), but this should be interpreted critically because of mixed results. Similarly, conclusions for the third hypothesis (preexisting interest in the comic art priming stimulus will produce higher telepresence scores in response to the film adaptation) should be cautiously interpreted for the same reason. Finally, results obtained for the fourth hypothesis (film viewers will report higher telepresence than readers of comic art) went in the opposite direction of what was expected. Interestingly, these findings were also the most decisive in terms of statistical significance.
Implications for telepresence theory and cultural transmission of experience are discussed.
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