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Miodrag, Hannah: "Narrative, language, and comics-as-literature." In: Studies in Comics 2.2 (2012), S. 263–279.
|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Miodrag2012
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Keywords: Intermedialität, Literatur
Collection: Studies in Comics
Comics are persistently labelled a kind of literature, but so-called literary treatments of the form are often questionable, focusing on story, content and themes. The fact that comics tell diverse, interesting stories makes them no more ‘literary’ than film, opera or, indeed, soap opera. It seems perverse for scholars bent on demonstrating the efficacy of visual storytelling to claim that it is storytelling which makes comics literary, thus aligning narrative in general with the verbal medium. This article sets forth a more scrupulous framework for approaching comics as literature. Through a close analysis of various examples, this article challenges the habitual sidelining of text within comics. It demonstrates: first, how comics can be heavily dependent on text; second, how that text can be properly – that is formally – literary; and, third, how the medium can deploy the linguistic element of its content in ways that create literary, textual effects that are in fact unique to the comics medium. In carefully distinguishing between elements such as theme and plotting, which are common to all narrative media, and these truly literary devices, this article ultimately concludes that in order for the comics medium to be given its due as a potentially literary form, proper attention needs to be paid to the way it incorporates literary language. In service of theoretical precision, critics must not confuse narrative properties with literary ones, but must rigorously insist on the correct frame of reference in order to promote serious academic study of this diverse and complex narrative form.
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