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Lewis, A. David. "The shape of comic book reading." Studies in Comics 1. (2010): 71–81. 
Added by: joachim (4/24/10, 1:07 AM)   Last edited by: joachim (11/26/16, 4:30 PM)
Resource type: Journal Article
Language: en: English
Peer reviewed
DOI: 10.1386/stic.1.1.71/1
BibTeX citation key: Lewis2010
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Categories: General
Keywords: Intermediality, Narratology, Reception
Creators: Lewis
Collection: Studies in Comics
Views: 35/573
Attachments   URLs   https://www.academ ... Comic_Book_Reading
In most comics, the art and the text – the visual and the verbal channels – seem to be telling the same story. But, to be technical narratologically, it is actually the same fabula, not the same story which requires uniform perspective. That is, both art and text present events from the same general plot but not necessarily at the same time, in the same order, or from the same viewpoint. The captions may be disclosing a character’s inner monologue, for instance, while the panels show that character leaping to safety. Or, as a reverse example, word balloons could be vocalizing a fight between two off-panel parents while the panel focalizes on a tearful child trying to sleep. It is the dreadfully boring and narrow comic that has the visual and verbal reflect exactly the same thing in each and every panel. There would be no point and, ultimately, no reason for doing this narrative in comic form. Since the visual and the verbal narratives may be telling different parts of the same fabula simultaneously, it stands to reason that there may also be two different narrators for a given panel as well. This distinction becomes particularly important when it is taken advantage of by a savvy creator (e.g., Art Spiegelman in MAUS, Alan Moore in Watchmen, Chris Ware in ACME Novelty Library) to create an intentional schism between the two narratives; that is, the visual and verbal narratives may actually be spinning different yarns. This narrative polyphony, though not unique to comics, affects the hermeneutic model for the medium to such a degree that a revised tetrahedral hybrid of Wolfgang Iser, J. Espen Aarseth, and Scott McCloud’s theories bears implementation.
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