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Icon, Representation and Virtuality in Reading the Graphic Narrative b y David Steiling A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of English College of Arts and Sciences Uni versity of South Florida Major Professor: Phillip Sipiora, Ph.D Silvio Gaggi Ph.D. Victor Peppard Ph.D. Joseph Moxley, Ph.D. Date of Approval: November 8 2006 Keywords: comics, graphic novel, illustrated novel stereotype, multi modal narrative Copyright 2006, David Steiling
Dedication For my wife, Sarah Warren, who has made any success I have had poss ible. I am grateful for my life with her and our son. I owe everyt h ing to her tolerance and patience, her consideration and her love.
Acknowledgements I would like to appreciate the late Dr. Jack Moore of the Department of English for his initial sup port of what was then a very unusual dissertation. I wish to extend my thanks also to Dr. Phillip Sipiora for his willingness to undertake direction of the dissertation after the untimely death of Dr. Moore. I am also grateful for the support of my acade mic institution, The Ringling School of Art and Design and its President, Dr. Larry Thompson, who Conversations with the late Will Eisner, Howard Cruse, Mary GrandPr, Bri an Clevinger, Ho Che Anderson, Joan Stavely, Kim Deitch, Joe Sacco, Bill Griffith and Diane Noomin contributed substantially to my understanding of the ideas laid out in this discussion. My i nteraction with students over the last 15 years that I have taught classes in the comics and graphic narrative has helped shape several discussions in this dissertation. I was materially aided by the opportunity to organize and coordinate The Comics Summit on Diversity at the Ringling School of Art, March 15 19 of 2003, an initiative c reated by the campus committee on diversity and funded by the president of the college. Portions of my dissertation were presented in early versions at two symposiums on the graphic narrative held at the University of Florida in Gainesville in 2001 and 20 02.
i Table of Contents List of Figures i ii Abstract v ii Critical Introduction 1 Chapter One Prelude: Hogarth and Virtuality in the Early Graphic Narrative H ogarth and the Prototype of the Graphic Narrator 1 2 3 3 Chapter Tw o Literature and the Graphic Narrative 3 8 Chapter Three Virtuality and Illustration Ernst, Evocation and the Graphic Narrative Virtuality and the Continuum from A bsence to Presence 4 8 5 4 6 4 8 2 Chapter Four Representation, Iconic mode and the Contemporary Illustrated Novel Reading Breakfast of Champions as a 9 6 10 5
ii Graphic Narrative Fr om the Novel with Illustrations to the Illustrated Novel 1 2 6 Chapter Five Icon, Stereotype and the Ethics of Representation in the Graphic Narrati ve 1 6 6 Summary Conclusion 263 Works Cited 2 8 0 Illustrations 2 8 5 Notes 2 8 8 Appendices Appendix A 2 9 0 About the Author End Page
iii List of Figures Page Number Fig. 1 2 0 Fig. 2 2 9 Fig. 3 Limited Edition Cans Issued by Campbells 5 1 Fig. 4 A Set of Silk Screen Prints by Andy Warhol 5 1 Fig. 5 Collage from t he Hundred Headed Woman 6 4 Fig. 6 Collage from Une Semaine de Bonte 6 4 Fig. 7a i Plates from Une Semaine de Bonte Thursday 6 6 6 8 Fig. 8a f Plates from Une Semaine de Bonte pgs. 43 48 6 9 7 0 Fig. 9a d Pages from New Motor Queen City 8 1 Fig. 10 Page from Little Nemo in Slumberland 8 6 Fig. 11 Nemo Wakes 8 7 Fig. 12 McCay Creates the Virtual Space of the Dream 8 9 Fig. 13 McCloud on Iconic Content 9 9 Fig. 14 McCloud on Levels of Abstraction 1 00 Fig. 15 Photorealism to Icon 1 01 Fig. 16a b Perception of Icon 1 01 1 02 Fig. 17a b Becoming the Cartoon 1 02
iv Fig. 18 Beaver icons from Breakfast of Champions 1 1 0 Fig. 19 a Light Switch 1 1 2 Fig. 19b Asterix 1 1 2 Fig. 20 Sanitary Strip 1 1 3 Fig. 21 Pop Art Cover 1 1 5 Fig. 22 a Cow 11 6 Fig. 22b Burger 11 6 Fig. 23 Look Mickey 11 8 Fig. 24 Source Image for Takka Takka 11 9 Fig. 25 Takka Takka 1 2 0 Fig. 26 Kaikaikiki News 1 2 4 Fig. 27 a Harry Pott er 12 7 Fig. 27b Mary GrandPr 12 7 Fig. 28 Harry Potter Title Logo 12 8 Fig. 29 Chapter Illustrations for Harry Potter 12 9 Fig. 30 The Little King 1 3 1 Fig. 31 Page 12 of The River 1 3 2 Fig. 32 Blankets 13 7 Fig. 33 Diary of a Teenage Girl 1 4 7 Fig. 34 14 9 Fig. 35 Minnie in Crisis 1 5 1 Fig. 36 1 5 7
v Fig. 37 c 15 9 Fig. 38 Three Seasons 1 6 0 Fig. 39 A Baroque Cartoon 1 6 2 Fig. 40 Label the Stereotype 1 7 0 Fig. 41 The Basis of Stereotypical Imagery 1 7 2 Fig. 42 Employing Characters that Resemble Animals 1 7 5 Fig. 43 Standards of Reference 1 7 6 Fig. 44 Stereotypical Humor 1 7 7 Fig. 45 17 9 Fig. 46 Double Entend re 1 8 3 Fig. 47 Night and Day 1 8 9 Fig. 48 Remarks on the Methods of Procuring Slaves 1 9 2 Fig. 49 Ally Sloper in Africa 1 9 4 Fig. 50 Mickey on a Desert Island 1 9 6 Fig. 51 Musical Mose 1 9 7 Fig. 52 Intentional Offense 2 04 Fig. 53 Threatening Stereotypes 2 09 Fig. 54 A First Panel Detail 2 10 Fig. 55 A Panel Showing the Big Foot Style 2 1 2 Fig. 56a Keye Luke and Mantan Moreland 2 1 4 Fig. 56b Eddie Anderson and Lena Horne 2 1 4 Fig. 57 2 1 9 Fig. 58 Franklin 2 2 8
vi Fig. 59 Lieutenant Flap 2 2 9 Fig. 60 Puffy and Entourage 2 3 0 Fig. 61 Stuck Rubber Baby 2 3 1 Fig. 62 a b Photos are Turned into Comics. 2 3 8 Fig. 63 I Just Married a Frog 2 4 5 Fig. 64 Lara Croft in Rare Repose 2 4 9 Fig. 65 Screenshot from The Sims 2 5 2 Fig. 66 Screenshot from Grand Theft Auto San Andreas 2 5 4 Fig. 67 Intimacy in The Sims 2 5 8
vii Icon, Representation and Virtuality in Reading the Graphic Narrative David Steiling Abstract I ity are key elements to consider when reading multi modal narratives, including graphic narratives By c onsidering in detail how these elements are realized in various e xamples the author shows how the study of the c omics can lay groundwo rk for critical reading across the technological continuu m of storytelling T he author l ooks at how i con, representation, and virtuality interact in a reading of William Hogarth s A Harlot s Progress H e then examines each term in more detail th rough readings of a variety of graphic narratives including Max Ernst s, Une Semaine de Bonte Winsor McCay s Little Nem o in Slumberland Kurt Vonnegut s Breakfast of Champions Craig Th ompson s Blankets Phoebe Gloeckner s Diary of a Teenage Girl and Posy Simmonds s Gemma Bovery T he author distinguishes between two types of virtuality, internal and external and ties the construction of virtuality to reader response theory. In exploring issues related to th e icon the author b uilds on Scott McCloud s
viii conjecture that the iconic character is the means through which t he reader inhabit s the v irtual space of the graphic s tory The author advances the proposition that icons are metonymies and that graphic narratives are centered in metonymic not meta phoric devices. He also undertakes a discussion of how icon operates within the expanding tradition of the Throughout the dissertation a n attempt is made to e xpress observation and analysis thro ugh c ontinuous instead of binary descriptors in order to emphasize the cooperative rather than oppositional arrangements of w ord and image within the graphic narrative. The dissertation concludes with a n e xtended examination of Will Eisner s contention that the use of stereotype is a necessity in graphic storytelling. Examples from Frederik Black Images in the Comics are used to t est this theory and illustrate its conseq uences. The treatise finishes with an analysis of approaches to representation that avoid stereotypical treatment are inclusive but sufficiently flexible to o p erate through caricature. T hese observations are applied to issues of characterization and representation in electronic gaming narrative T he author concludes that e thics, effectiveness, reputation and empathy are all compromised when artists resort to stereotypes.
1 Critical Introduction The purpose of this paper i s to demonstrate the importance of the graphic narrative as a genre through which we can connect traditional literary study with the study of complex multi modal narra tive s I n this discuss ion I attempt to describe some specific ways the study of the graphic narrative can connect to the study of narrative in emerging technologies like electronic gaming and virtual reality. The controlling thesis of the exposition i s that ity are key elements to consider when reading multi modal narratives, including graphic narratives and that these three elements form a continuous platform from which to observ e and read narratives that are related in multise nsory form By c onsidering in detail how these elements are realized in various types of graphic narratives I i ntend to elucidate how discourse around these elements can highlight issues c ommon to the act of reading across the technological continuu m of storytelling I use the term Graphic Narrative in this dis sertation to label a genre of works that combine word and image to tell stories. The edges of this genre, like the edges of all genre, are diffuse. The closer one examines the
2 percepti ble boundaries, the more one seems lost in a blur of arbitrary distinctions. I use the term Graphic Narrative so that I can include in my discussion works that are not usually considered comics, the dominant form of the graphic narrative in this country. Academics who study and teach the some of the contrariness of those who professionally connect themselves with a medium that has a history of being characterized as literature fit only for children, drug addicts or mental defectives. Until recently, questions about the legitimacy of the medium as a of that medium) riddled critical discourse about the co mics. As a result, a number of alternative descriptions of the genre evolved that deflected or less intercha ngeably in discussions about stories told in words and pictures, although each term has its shades of meaning and distinct frame of publishing categories that have allowed the graphi c narrative to enter the discourse of mainstream literary studies. Most scholars of the graphic narrative in the United States make the center of the genre which includes, among other things, comic strips,
3 comic books, graphic novels, manga, mini comics, comics journalism, educational comics and graphic non fiction. Just how to define what is a contention s. In this dissertation, I generally adapt the attitude of Dierick and Lefvre in their preface to Forging a New Medium: The Comic Strip in the Nineteenth Century ance instead an approach to defining the genre through the description of prototypes in historical context. 1 The authors cite the explanation of Gert Meesters who suggests a defi ned by a single term, you can define a hard core, the nucleus of the category. Other members may not match that definition entirely, but may still context of their historical period because what might be near the nucleus of a category in one period or tradition might easily be near the edges of the category in another time or place. Genres, the territorial descriptions of cultural spaces occupied by the media extensions of human bei ngs, adapt and evolve. During the course of the dissertation I try to talk not only about prototypical works but also prototypical narrators. T as used in this dissertation refers to works that generally tell stories with bot h words and pictures, but sometimes the number of either words or pictures might be very few indeed. The
4 variation in terms of length, seriousness, or conventional structure and devic es. Sometimes these works use the forms and elements tha t we such as the use of panels, the composed juxtaposition of images, pictures that are not made to move but that suggest movement, or the use of dialogue balloons and som etimes some (or many) of these elements may not be present. Prototypes of various types of graphic narratives populate both the center and the borders of the genre and frequently interpenetrate other o allow for substantial inclusivity along these lines. In this essay I will consider a broad range of works in word and image in order to view certain common threads in the fabric of the genre that are not formal components of the works as much as element s of the act of reading the works Historically, and until quite recently, the graphic narrative has been largely a genre associated with the technology of printing. If one considers a larg e range of graphic narratives, such consideration might also incl ude various types of proto graphic narrative such as The Bayeaux Tapestry or Mayan temple murals which can be thought of, from some points of reference at least, as early examples of comics even though they are not printed At the other end of the time co ntinuum, the graphic narrative has clearly migrated into electronically mediated text and the larger pattern of the graphic narrative includes an expanding number of digital designs. It is part of the purpose of this discussion to delineate aspects of the reading of the
5 graphic narrative that transcend examples supported by print media I hope to suggest continuities in the reading of graphic narratives that manifest across both time and media. The art historian David Kunzle, in his groundbreaking scholar ship tracing the origins of the comic strip in early woodcuts and broadsides, has established that most of the formal elements that we consider the essential ingredients to the making of a comic narrative breakdown into panels, dialogue balloons, sequentia l drawings, caricatures are all extant in very early examples of printed graphic storytelling and seem to be in somewhat regular use by illustrators since the middle ages. Although many pre print examples of proto comics are included in my definition of t he graphic narrative, any reasonable history of what constitutes the genre of the comics or graphic narrative can probably best begin at the point where the genre of the graphic narrative intersects with the technology of print. inter est among comics scholars to examine the early development of the graphic narrative. During the last 15 years, m ost of this research has focused on the work of 18 th and 19 th century illustrators and graphic storytellers, which has come to be considered by most scholars of the genre as the period in which modern comics begin to take shape. I will begin my dissertation with a brief case study of aspects of virtuality in a graphic narrative by William Hogarth. The critical frame work of I an Watt is an important background to the critical approach to this reading of Hogarth. M y sources for my discussion of
6 Hogarth use him extensively, and influence in the general project of reading the h istory of t he graphic narrative itself Charles Hatfield, on whom I draw for elements of my discussion in Chapter Five of this disserta tion, emergence and development of recent expansions of the graphic narrative in his Alternati ve Comics: An Emerging Literature collective effort among comics scholars to re tell the history of the comics within the contexts of printing publication, and the historic sociology of both popular and literary cultures. Ce rtainly part of the growing interest in the graphic narrative as part of Literary Studies has been the recent success of the graphic novel in attracting readers and critical attention. It is understandable that in looking at the rise of the graphic novel The Rise of the Novel w ould shape the general tenor of the critical discourse. The work of Marshall McLuhan is also an important background to the ideas in this dissertation especially h is observations in The Gutenberg Galaxy and in Understanding Media : The Extensions of Man This essay is rooted in several contentions by between print and electronic culture. I also draw s upport in a general way pr ovoke establishment thinking through his insights into media and culture. Behind my specific comments in this exposition are a few assumptions I have about what I believe will be the long arcs of literary studies and of the medium of the comics.
7 At leas t part of the increasing popularity of such forms as the graphic novel is a consequence of the way reading and writing are adapting as we shift paradigms from a print to an electronic culture. For the last seventeen years I have been teaching literature t o art students, who are, to my reckoning, something like the canaries in the coal mine of literary studies. They provide an early indication of how the act of reading is changing and how the tastes of readers will change as the way we read and what we hav e available to read diversifies and becomes more image rich. This is part of the general increase of and interest in multi modal discourse in which writers and communicators express themselves in forms and media that combine two or more traditional mode s of expression (such as words and pictures) and advance their argument or narrative using both. Such multi modal discourse is by definition multi sensory and requires t he reader to experience the work using two or more senses. The technology of reading h as many barriers and some people have difficulty obtaining the necessary skills to access the full range of the written word. Until recently the written word had the advantage of being the most portable technology for the delivery of information or story. That has changed. It is now possible to compose informative or narrative works, even works that may be eventually received through the written word, without ever using the written word Th i s sort of change in the act of writing is bound to have a concom itant effect on the act of reading. One of these effects is a
8 return to oralism in literature and a greater emphasis on speaking and hearing than on writing and reading. Writing is often used as a means to organize such speech but is not the primary deli very vehicle for the story or information. Writing and reading are no longer characteristics of mass media but have returned to being the characteristics of elite media. As mass media has been shifting in the direction of speech and oral communication ac companied by image s elite media has been shifting in the direction of enriching the content of writing with images. Works in word and image, like comics, that used to be considered elements of mass media, have taken a literary turn. This would be true o f all works that depend on the support of paper. It is almost to the point that any creative work on paper assumes the cultural niche of fine art and if not now, it soon will Looking out further into the future one can forsee, assuming no apocalyptic intervention, a clear push toward the adapt at ion of virtual reality technology to the communication of information and story. This is already clear in the movement of narrative int o genres like electronic gaming, and w here story goes literary discourse must follow. The genre of the graphic narrative sits at the intersection of word and image. While parts of graphic narrative are viewed, the primary way one experiences a graphic narrative is to read it. The act of reading graphic narrative is both uni que and an expanded version of reading a text of written wor ds. T he role of the reader in creating the experience of the story is still a very active one. Image rich texts may be one way that the written word i s
9 rescued from the fate of over refinement li ke the fate that has befallen the language of mathematics, which remains respected, is highly useful and applicable to many situations but is mastered beyond functional levels of numeracy by only a relative few The purpose of this dissertation is to take a few threads from the understanding of text, pull them out and examine them with an eye toward using them to connect the study of stories told in traditional media with stories told in new media. The graphic narrative provides the perfect genre for this effort because it is so image rich, has a history at least as long as the history of printing and tells the story through muti sensory, multi modal means. In studying the graphic narrative one can begin to create the groundwork for a literary discourse t hat can apply to the wide range of narrative expression from the technology of virtual reality to the technology of the written word. The threads I have pulled out for my discussion are icon, virtuality and stereotype and I have devoted a chapter of my d issertation to each. I have tried in those discussions to look at each element in relation to some specific graphic narratives with an eye to ward the implications of those applications on literary study beyond the genre of the graphic narrative. In the course of my discussion I look to the relationship between word and image as expressed in the tradition of literature and literary discourse. I s essay, Illustration as a source of ideas for that discussion which in cludes a consideration of how word and image
10 have been constructed as antagonists in the melodrama of contemporary letters. The initial impulse for this dissertation came from reading Scott Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art I found his i deas about icon and iconic style of image making unshakably provocative I have tried to extend those ideas in some directions that I hope will enhance the reading of graphic and non graphic narratives and that consider the implications and applications o f iconic discourse on the creation of virtuality. In Chapter Four I look at how some novelists across the continuum of the novel that contains both word and images, have negotiated the relationships between word and illustration to create virtuality in their narratives. I look specifically at how the use of iconic style in these works together with different levels of illustrative discourse help create opportunities for expressively unique virtualities. Chapter Five is an examination of what is one of the most important issues in iconic discourse that is the relationship between icon and stereotype and the view that making successful graphic narr ative, especially comics, requires the use of stereotype. I try to address the questions involved with the use of stereotypical forms of representation in a manner that emphasizes the application of practical solutions to the ethical issues. In the course of my discussion I make occasional reference to the neurology of reading. We are on the verge of modeli ng the act of reading in bio chemical mechanical terms with a level of sophistication that is very
11 unexpected. We are currently beginning to understand how we read at the word level of acquisition. We also have a clearer understanding of how we process i mages. We have very little understanding of how we put those element s together, or how we blend the two to follow and understand a story. We are not very far from knowing considerably more about how the central nervous system operates during the act of r eading. At this time we use this information mostly to try to better understand reader dysfunction, but soon we will be using this information to model how reading taps the mind s ability to operate as a virtual reality engine. It seems inevitable that at least part of the future of narrative will be its entry into the technologies of virtual reality. The current level of virtual reality technologies are already being used to tell stories. A number of scholars and critics, most of them young and assimi lated into the new electronic paradigm are trying to integrate the study of those technologies into the study and explication of Literature. A more complete understanding of the neurological aspects of the act of reading will not only advance the quality of study in these inquiries but these accumulated investigations will form the model on which the future technologies of virtual reality will be based. The new modes of the act of reading that will be brought about by advances in virtual reality technolo gy will be modeled directly on the specific neurologies of the way we read the multi sensory, multi modal stories of today. The new reading will be founded on the old.
12 Chapter One Prelude: Hogarth and Virtuality in the Early Graphic Narrative I n the tradition of English graphic letters, one of the first graphic narrators with wide ranging and lasting significance may be William Hogarth (1697 1764). Hogarth himself described his major sequential works like The Rake s Progress Marriage la Mode or Progress broadside (which had been used since the middle ages for political propaganda, moral instruction, home decoration, and covering the drafty holes i n cracked plaster) and elevated it by applying higher standards of marketing strategy that targeted the inter ests and values of the rapidly expanding middle classes of 18 th century England who had become a steady enough source of patronage to rival the aristocracy. Hogarth chose subject matter that would excite interest (e.g. sex, social pretension, moral depr avity) and that he could wrap in a narrative of moral application. There are both comic and tragic elements to his stories, and the audience can either marvel at the cutting and somewhat salacious observation of human folly, or rejoice in the inevitable tr iumph of virtue
13 imbued with the zeitgeist of the Baroque in that they strive to display human emotions in a magnified fashion with which the audience would have an easy time relating and, presumably, experiencing vicari ously. This impulse which, since 1600, had contributed to the development of Opera and the Theatre, now spurred the development of the graphic narrative. As Paul Gravett notes in his essay on the Inventors of Comics in G reat Britain exclusively from his literary ambitions rather than his artistic accomplishme nts. Charles Lamb in his essay On the Genius and Character of Hogarth the teeming fruitful suggestive meaning of words. Other pictures we look at, By the time Lamb w separation among the sister arts, assigning each its appropriate subject matter, themes and demeanor. The theory of art articulated by G. E. Lessing variations of it articu lated through the 19 th
14 the various experiments in the graphic narrative that followed became subject to charges of artistic miscegenation. pictures on canvas, si milar to representations on the stage; and farther hope, (85). (Elzie Segar the creator of Popeye said similar things about his creation of his strip Thimble Theater a strateg ic outlook that many other comic strip artists have adopted over the years.) This statement significantly places the arts of painting and writing at the joint service of story telling. Whatever facilitates the telling of the story, either word or image (or actions since both of these are components of storytelling. The proclivity that Lamb observed for Hogarth to be a literary s ubject more than an art historical subject has continued to the present day. In his introduction to Engravings by Hogarth (easily the most widely circulated edition of Hogarth prints) Sean Shesgreen applies the methods of Ian Watt to the study of Hogarth. Shesgreen compactly reviews the milieu; aspects of plot, character, setting; the way Hogarth handles issues of time, and the way the artistic, the moral, the comic, the theatrical. In short, Shesgreen treats Hogarth as a novelist. This approach is particularly interesting because, while it would be
15 lies pretty much outside the realm of the book. Rather it is rooted in the me chanics of the broadside tradition, the distribution system of the print and the aesthetic tradition of narrative painting. Although we often encounter his work today within the technology of the book, it was not originally conceived to be distributed in approach does at least demonstrate that the graphic narrat ive is independent of the container of the book or periodical, an issue recently underscored by the expansion of comics into electronic media. This easy flow between the container of the book and the container of the poster is seen again in the origins of the Underground Comix movement. The more one examines the life, the work and working milieu of Hogarth, the more he seems to model one of the consistent prototypes of the graphic narrator. He was a product of the middle classes, born next to a printing s hop in a middle class neighborhood. His father was a schoolmaster who was also a respected classical scholar. Hogarth received a good basic education in line with the period and, showing a facility for drawing, was apprenticed to a silver engraver at age 1 5. By the end of his 20s, Hogarth had developed ambitions beyond engraving and had become a painter of conversation pieces as well as an engraver of original narrative subjects or illustrations. In all of these works he strove to refine tastes, subjects, and expressions that would appeal to a middle class audience. He, himself,
16 embodied middle class values in his life and made them the center of his narrative outlook. (Shesgreen) The Graphic Narrative as we have known it has largely been a bourgeois art f orm. There are certainly examples of the graphic narrative shaped to fit aristocratic pocketbooks and taste Illuminated manuscripts, the Bayeaux tapestry, mural painting all might sometimes fit this description. Nonetheless, graphic narrative emerges as a genre in conjunction with the development of printing and the spread of literacy which in turn is a result of the increased leisure of the middle classes. The theatre, the novel, and the graphic narrative are all art forms that developed their current st ate under mostly middle class patronage amid broadening mass appeal. Like many graphic narrators who followed him, Hogarth focused on the representation of character and, like a novelist, was keen to show character by setting and detail as well as through facial expression and pose. Places, rooms, furniture, objects all are part of the apparatus that Hogarth em ploys to root his narrative in exact time and place. Such concrete and specific details are naturally adapted to the possibilities of the graphic n arrative. A graphic narrator can easily draw settings and objects instead of consuming paragraphs in description. This attention to the documentation of from painters like Reynold s who practiced a sublime style that avoided the contemporary and strived to represent the universal by techniques of
17 idealization and the suppression of the mundane. Hogarth approached the representation of the universal through the careful observation a nd presentation of specific elements that his attention and skills could render as forcefully iconic. Like a good bourgeois, Hogarth liked to make sure he gave good value for the money, and his pictures are very full. Little, if anything, appears in them significance of every detail represented. This concentration on the development of detail within the image is commonly an effect of the drawn picture in which everything in the image has bee n intentionally included. In a photograph everything that is available to the lens is automatically included and then some aspects of the image may be removed, either by erasure or by cropping and framing. Of course the photographer also has the choice to add elements to the image not originally available to the camera lens. Since the advent of photoshop and similar image manipulation software, some pictures now reflect the same atmosphere of intention that used to be the provenance of drawings alone. T given a picture that was clearly meant to be read; all the elements in the panel to be fit into the perception of the story, each detail advancing the narrative in some way. As the reader went from picture to picture in the series, the story developed in the alterations and variations that occurred as one scene became juxtaposed with the next, the imagination of the reader
18 closing the gap by producing their own narrative thread derived fro m what they could see. There was a high level of involvement for the reader in the imaginative effort to fill in those gaps and it was one of the reasons that While his engravings may see m overcrowded for contemporary readers used one of the important sources of our ideas of what the ordinary life of the period was like. For example, the contai ns a meticulously observed and reproduced interior of Bridewell Prison, an 18 th century sick room, a well known London s quare, and a wake. a certain naturalism that has become one of the main streams of representation in the graphic narrative. In this representat ional code there is presumed heredity and her surroundings through the rendering of selected and specifi c details The intent is to represent reality but reality as the narrator observes it, not as a camera would record it. primarily pageants designed to teach moral lessons they are progresses after all. in terms of spiritual heaven or hell but in terms of suffering in this life. His is a very pragmatic morality. The consequences of Harlot death at an early age as a result of venereal disease; Tom Rakewell is driven mad by his exce sses. But Hogarth is interested in staging the whole
19 pageant of moral implication in the melodramas he is relating. We see ill intentioned predators on the young and helpless; we see the p ander er s to unhealthy desire s We see the consequences of the pro choices on her family and on the health of the community. We are presented with an outline of a culture that wants to ignore its social responsibilities and is inured to the exploitation and suffering that is before its eyes. I nstead of cre ating a pageant of allegorical types which would be using a metaphorical approach to representation Hogarth makes substantial use of metonymous techniques instead This metonymy is reflected in his characterization which is based in an observed verisimi litude of appearance but with a reduction of information so that the most expressive outlines of character become more readily visible. This reduction is not a full blown caricature as would be used by the generation that followed Hogarth, in fact Hogarth rejected the caricature technique. Instead he crea tes likenesses that lean toward types the same sort of characterization practiced by the producers of reality television who take real footage but edit it in a way to create outlines based on predetermin ed types and stock characters. This process involves the initial selection, someone who seems a good example of the type to be represented and then the careful editing of content to create the impression of the type that fits the storyline. In both cases, Hogarth and reality television, the purpose is to not have to explain things to the reader but rather for the reader to have the pleasure of apparently observing things for themselves, although, of course,
20 the information the reader has received to make t hose impressions has been carefully selected and controlled. plates like Some of the Principal Inhabitants of Ye Moon: Royalty, Episcopacy, and Law 1724. In this work the characters are completely metaphorical, the icons used to represent them drawn associatively and allusively, not from life. By 1732, with Hogarth was using more naturalistic techniques to represent his characters. Fig. 1 Plate One A etched and engraved from paintings, April 1732. Reproduced in Engravings by Hogarth (New York: Dover, 1973) Fig. 18.
21 In the first plate of the narrative, Hogarth shows the young and innocent Moll Hackabout just arrived in London via th e York Wagon. Her character is developed, in part, symbolically through such devices as the rose of innocence protectively positioned at her bodice and the sewing kit and pincushion hanging from her belt that indicates her craft as a dressmaker. She has just caught the eye of a calculating procuress who is sizing her up under the cover of an ingratiating compli ment. In the middle ground a nobleman is looking her over with fairly evident interest and a complete lack of good intentions. Such a likeness it is to an actual situation that It might as well be a picture of a teenage runaway getting of a motorcoach from Des Moines at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. And it is full of some of the same sort of social commentary as might such a photograph. The act ion is frozen in time, a snapshot taken a hundred years before there is such a thing as photography. But it is not a snapshot of actual events caught completely as they happened, it is a staged tableau in which all the elements of the scene are to be care fully observed and considered by the audience in a specific order so that they can slowly assemble the implications of what they are seeing. Both the place and some of the personages in the scene would have curess is said to clearly the aristocracy; she had recently been stoned to death by the London
22 was recogniza ble as Colonel Charteris an aristocrat described by Shesgreen we do not need to recognize the specific individuals to recognize their characters in these representations. Hogart h has sourced his character in someone actual not just for journalistic purposes but for naturalistic purposes as well. In taking their likeness he has a model of those character attributes he wants to present in his story, working from an assumption, as surely most there would be clues to the inner character of that individual as long as one genre of the detect ive story so fresh and characters like Sherlock Holmes so eternal. Hogarth has staged his picture in three tableaux poised before a backdrop. The scene is clearly set as being very specifically in front of the Bell Inn in Wood Street whose state of appear ance speaks for its character. To the rear is the mundane landscape of city life with the image of the York Wagon disappearing off, stage right. Our eyes are drawn first to the center tableaux of the two women who are posed in the focal point of the pictur es brightest light and outlined with an extra thick line to bring them strikingly out front of the background. It is almost impossible not to see this group first. In this central tableau the figure of Mother Needham has a young girl in her sway. Her han d is in intimate contact with the young girl in a way that would
2 3 be far too familiar in anyone but a close relative. If this is the first time these two are meeting, the gesture itself might signal alarm to an observant The discourse between the picture and the audience is structured so that the viewer can come into a sense of unease and alarm the more she or he takes in the details of the image. At first t here is just a slight unease in regarding the central figures. The older woman might be an aunt come to meet the girl or even to send her off. A little inspection of the foreground departing with such a gift, she must be arriving. Teamed with the image of the York stage departing the frame (exactly opposite to the placement of the luggage) instead of entering it, it is not hard to read that Moll has just arrived in town. The sense of unease increases as one moves from the central tableau to the two tableau in the middle ground. Posed in the doorway of the seedy tavern, stage left, the figure of Colonel Charteris h as his eyes clearly on the sweet young thing. His face is unembarrassedly in a smug leer. There is something very unsettling about the way he is posed with his hand in his pocket. What is in there? Is it a weapon, a sack of money? Is he agitating his pr ivates at the sight of Moll? This is a representation of
24 someone whose character reveals itself as more questionable the more that one looks. The figure of Mother Needham, the go between, is placed literally between Moll and the Colonel. There is such si milarity of pose in this pairing of figures, especially in the tilt of the head, that there is a sense of the nearer figure reflecting the motion of the further, like the pose of the puppet behind whom is a similarly posed puppeteer. The servant on the Co hunched in a sharply articulated pose of agitation and anticipation, so we quite naturally follow his gaze to see what he is looking at. What he is looking at is the third tableau, the one at stage right in which a clergyman is riding a hor se. The clergyman is absorbed in trying to make out the writing on a letter he holds, apparently a letter of introduction to help secure a preferred ecclesiastical appointment. He is holding it in such a way as to suggest nearsightedness which seems like ly, at least in the front of him. His horse ostensibly under his charge is wandering under its own guidance and is upsetting a stack of feed buckets and pails. It is the looming i nevitability of the clamor and disruption of this impending event that snapshot preserves the moment just before the bucket falls just as his portrait of the maiden preserves the mo ment just before she falls. picture where the reader should be led after having taken in the other
25 tableaux. Such careful composition of the scenes, like leading the progression of th e eye from panel to panel in the comics, cannot be an absolute science but is a principle element of the graphic design of graphic ng the other parts of the initial tour of the painting. falling, Hogarth shows some more offhanded brillianc e in the way he uses the background to complete the significance of the narrative. As the woman on the balcony in the rear of the picture goes on about her domestic tasks, she is completely oblivious to what is transpiring in the square. It is not that sh misfortune on exhibit below happens every day. She has become inured and apathetic to the urban melodrama unfolding beneath her. The laundress on the balcony airing out the chamberpo ts may suggest an alternative life to the one on which Moll is about to embark (Paulson), but one has to ask just how attractive, if authentic, the alternative was to a young girl. Moll may seems terribly constrained by her possibilities, her nature and the exploitive Disclosing with brush and burin the reality of moral choice, Hogarth seems only on t he surface to be a moralist. He might better be described as
26 a proto naturalist narrator, looking to the essence of choice as, at least in part, predetermined by social and biological factors. Hogarth certainly believes in the potential for art as instruc tion. His characters may have enough free will to make them responsible for their choices, but, at the same time, the choices for some of characters may, in truth, be very limited. The p oint of the story is to serve as something of a of authenticity, or in this case the abandonment by individ uals of their efforts to make inexact copies of models they would be better not to even try to replicate. For Paulson this concern with authenticity is a central theme Law, an act o f parliament he initiated and for which he lobbied that gave copyright protection to artists and engravers of original material, and protection against unscrupulous pirates. Paulson is certainly right in his ries are the metaphors that proceed naturally from the medium of print such as the politics, ideologies, and aesthetic concerns that evolve from making copies. The narrative technique of Hogarth seems to foreshadow many of the approaches and devices used b y graphic narrators of today. First is the an imaginative recreation of the circumstances related in the narrative not a
27 mere decoding of a simple symbolic summary. This imagi native recreation is stimulated by a number of interesting narrative devices that make it clear the work is to be read not merely apprehended as if it were a landscape or a conversation piece. There are linguistic elements in the largely visual text, but t hese elements are incorporated into the scene, not comments or explanations of it. They are texts that operate as narrative clues. These include such neck of the goose, the advert ising on the side of the York stage and the letter constituent elements of a scene reflects the default prejudices of the graphic narrative which privileges show over tell because pictu res most commonly show, appealing to the way we ordinarily engage our powers of visual observation. Most of the elements in the picture, including the textual ones, are involvers, deployed to bring us into the story as active readers looking for more infor mation to tell us what is going on, the essence of which we have to find out for ourselves, to read it. The elements of information are deployed within the picture in a fashion to create interactivity. Much like a contemporary role playing video game, pe ople and objects are scattered through the space of the picture in discreet groups and as we progress from one to the other through a path that is indicated by compositional technique and reading habits, we collect the various bits of information through w hich
28 we will come to understand the story being shown to us. It is the emphasis on showing integrated elements necessary to the narrative that distinguishes the graphic narrative from the narrative with illustrations. The narrative with illustrations does not require the visual elements be present for the narrative to be imagined by the reader. The graphic narrative generally requires both the words and the pictures for imaginative recreation of the text. While Hogarth does not generally embrace caricatur e, his central individual portraits. The concept is that by using such types, his character designs will have more universality, will be more easily recognized and easy to pl progress appears largely drawn from the practice of the theatre. But in the supporting cast surrounding the p rotagonists, Hogarth tends to draw his characters more closely from life, selecting models of actual persons to play the roles required for his version of 18 th Sometimes these people are already social icons whose appear ance in the role comes with preset associations that assist the reader in more clearly deciphering the intended meaning of the text.
29 Fig. 2 Plate two etched and engraved from paintings, April 1732. Reproduced in Engra vings by Hogarth (New York: Dover, 1973) Fig. 19. In the second plate of the there is an interesting theatrical in all senses of the word. Moll, now the kept mistres s of a rich Jewish merchant, is caught at the height of her overweening self confidence. photographic snapshot freezes a moment of action and overturning the tea table cove rs the discreet exit of a paramour rear stage
30 right while simultaneously her servant enters carrying a teapot from front been unknown to the Moll of the opening panel. The juxtap osition of the first two panels of the progress underscores the falling of Moll who is clearly no longer an innocent but now is a moral actor fully participant in hastening her decline. counten where the lover exits discreetly, his own gesture cautioning the maid to silence as he tiptoes from the room. The lover has been quite obviously caught off guard in that he secretes from the room carrying his belt and sword while the maid must hand him his shoes. Moll herself is quite fashionably but revealingly on display inferring the flirtation interrupted by the man who is paying her bills. The rich merchant himself is represented by a car icature that reflects Moll has purchased the monkey as a satiric reminder of her protector. The reflec ted in the attitude of her gesture and her posture, but what makes the scene particularly dramatic is the reaction of the merchant as we see him (whether he notices the departing suitor or not) coming into consciousness that his mistress is becoming what w
31 The appearance of the Jewish merchant with its strong resonance of anti Semitic stereotype, is interestingly contrasted with the portrait of the closely drawn from life and is directly modeled on an actual person [add name] (Paulson). Both the maid and the serving boy balance either end of the mostly linear composition, each looking to the center of the panel and each highlighting the outrageous qu ality of the action in the center of the stage with their strong sense of reaction. It is they who represent the onlooker in the scene In the representation of the West Indian servant boy it is notable that the level of caricature is roughly the same level of exaggeration and detail as that of the other characters, with the exception of the Jewish merchant who is caricatured much more savagely and with more exaggeration of feature. The narrative style in the paintings reproduced on the wall at the back of the rk while Uzzah, attempting to touch it, is be supported by the allegorical components of the painted subjects, but the strategy of those paintings is allegorical and neither commons ensical nor easily assessable to the reader. Other allegorical apparatus are strewn through the picture but they only embellish the central argument, they are not the primary way the story is told.
32 The interpretation of the scene is one that can be constr ucted by an ordinary person capable, as are the servants, of common sense readings of events. Hogarth uses this device of placing onlookers or reactors within his panels and they almost always stand in for a person of ordinary intelligence, experience and perspective who can witness and make a reasonable reading of the situation. Readability and accessibility are important aspects of the sensibility of bourgeois art. A work might contain levels of meaning or interpretation beyond the usual purview of the mi ddle classes, but these must underlie the accessible qualities of the work as amplifiers or enrichers of the central experience of the reader or viewer. The way a work addresses works even an uneducated or ordinary person can appreciate the work. This is a keystone of bourgeois sensibilities and middle class critique.
33 Hogarth and the Prototype of the Graphic Narrator The prototype of the graphic narrator exemplified by Hogarth is of an artist of literary sensibility who is generally self taught, at least in the sense of not being university or academy trained, but who, instead, learned the trade of drawing comics in apprenticeship fashion, rising from the bottom rungs of the profession. Whatever aesthetic ideals these artists hold, they expect will make money either as work for hire or as a rtistic entrepreneurs. These artists tend to espouse the virtue of hard work and middle class values. They regard suspiciously the theorizing of the academy although they have a longing for the legitimation and respect that comes with academic recognition They tend to feel their failure to achieve recognition lies in the class prejudices of the academy and the prejudice against popular art. They are often right. Artists of this prototype tend to have a pragmatic outlook and may think of themselves primar ily as entertainers in service to the gag or story. They adjust their stories and the telling of those stories to meet popular expectations and to appeal to popular tastes. Many adopt a naturalistic style that is based on the observation of actual persons but that metonymously reduces realistic detail to better outline a type or stereotype. Artists of this prototype can often be entrepreneurs if not always successful ones. Among the graphic narrators who might fall within this Hogarth prototype are artists
34 Will Eisner, Carl Barks, Winsor McCay, and many of the artists in the history of the main stream comic book and comic strip. Hogarth also pioneered some very enterprising and important approaches to producing and distributing his work. Seeing where his best economic advantage lay, Hogarth became a self publisher, building demand by showing original paintings in his studio, and then releasing reproductions at various levels of exclusivity, collectable quality and price point. He licensed his work for down market exploitation and even successfully lobbied of 1735. All of these strategies worked to democratize patronage of the arts and were part of a larger movement of artists a way from dependence on the patronage of a few rich people to the patronage of the larger class of newly literate, newly enfranchised, and status conscious bourgeoisie. This change could happen because the technology of mechanical reproduction had begun to make affordable copies possible. Advances in the technology of mechanical reproduction produced a situation that required a new paradigm of narrative practice. The essential problem of that practice was how the storyteller could better overcome the barrie r of not being in the presence of the audience when the story was told. The dramatist had solved this problem by creating a simulation of the action through the medium of playwriting and the acting out of the play. Eventually reading the text produced by the playwright without the necessary
35 intervention of actors. Reading a play out loud, amateur theatricals, attending actual performances of plays, all became ways of enhancing the experi ence of play texts by engaging in collaborative interpretive events. All of these methods of reading plays were very interactive with the text and made the reader feel more present within the virtual reality of the story. Lyric narrative continued to harne ss musical effects to help create emphasis, mood, emotional context and memory. The limits of early mechanical reproduction meant that lyric narrative generally had to rely on well known tunes, original music printed with the words or no specific tunes at all in which to set the stories. Narratives, especially large form narratives like the epic, began to migrate from poetry to prose fiction where there were a wider range of mechanically reproducible devices that a writer could use to simulate a sense of a Novels of correspondence, novels that were framed as entries in logbooks, diaries, or confessions, were all popular devices of early prose fiction because they provided an easy placement of the reader in relation to the text. reader into the virtual worlds set in motion by the simulated document. These approaches continue to be very usable and form the basis for many successful modern experiments in the no vel such as Lolita or The House on Mango Street for example; despite the later development of other
36 Novelists experimenting with other devices beside document simulation focused on such t echniques as the creation of believable narrators whose voices simulated the presence of a storyteller who could be sized up and read as a character in the story as well as the informant through which the details of the stories were delivered ( for example, Heart of Darkness ). Even the device of the implied author as narrator became easy Along the way novelists began to find other methods and devices by which the reader could feel present within a story. The techniques of creating virtual realities of experience within the consciousness of an audience virtuality from a distance became constituent to the shift of paradigms as the audience changed from an audience of listeners to an audience of readers. Authors discovered that increasing possibilities of interactivity, especially involvement in the story created by concentrating on styles and methods that increased simulated sensation, created more virtu ality. Highly sensational or evocative genre s like the mystery or the gothic tale began to flourish. At the same time as the audience shifted from the paradigm of listening to the paradigm of reading, visual narrators, inspired in part by the experiments of novelists, began parallel explorations in how to create visual narratives that could be more easily read as an experience, instead of just viewed or understood through the interpretative frame of allegory. They
37 began to experiment with visual narrative techniques that would increase interactivity with the viewer encouraging the audience to enter the work not just look at it from a distance, harnessing the possibilities of icon, type, character, setting, action/reaction to create increased virtuality in t he act of reading. The combination of narrative devices employed by Hogarth in his Progresses showed the possibilities of eventually uniting words and pictures in creating highly effective multisensory narratives for mechanical reproduction.
38 Chapter Two Literature and the Graphic Narrative Not everyone who reads this analysis is going to share the assumption that works of graphic narrative, and especially comics, are literature. T here is considerable prejudice against narratives that are comprise d of both words and pictures. There is even considerable prejudice among certain readers against stories that are accompanied by illustrations. There has been a tendency for generations of literary critics to judge textual works as de facto literary failu res if those texts are not verbally self the text can be considered as worth serious attention. stand on its o anthologize the words without the music so that it might be better examined expected to excel in two media a t once, each with its separate coherency. This is a bit like expecting a piece of furniture to function equally well as both a queen sized bed and a living room sofa. Much, if not most, of the best work in genre s that combine word and image is bound to com e about by techniques that effectively coordinate both
39 modes, not works that attempt separate edifices on the same real estate. It is likely that most graphic narratives will not necessarily be able to stand alone as either text or visual art because the work under consideration is bound to be dependent on the interactions of both. I am prepared to argue the literary value of many graphic narratives, but none of those arguments is the pictures. Generally, the words in these narratives need the pictures, and the pictures need the words. That i s the thrust of the genre Until recent years much academic writing on the comics has had to address itself in some way to the legitimation o f the subject area itself. In many disciplines the climate may be somewhat more favorable to the of learning activity still seized on by critics of liberal academia as proof o f the deterioration of rigor and lowering of expectations. It has been something of a c ommonplace among students of comics to bemoan the central problem of establishing the legitimacy of the ir discourse Many critics and scholars of the comics continue to feel that they need to defend why they should be talking about what they are talking about. Of course any text is inherently a defense of the legitimacy of its subject, even a text that attacks the legitimacy of its subject a central tenet of the decons tructive position. In many of these defenses the historical resistance to the legitimacy of the comics is cast in terms of the high versus the low. These critical
40 narratives recount how the comics, because they were closely associated with the emerging ma ss marketing of culture through the popular press, have have, nonetheless, managed to produce some noble works (Little Nemo, Krazy Kat, Uncle Scrooge, Maus, etc. by some noble art ists (Winsor McCay, George Herriman, Carl Barks, Robert Crumb, etc.) who sometimes labored in anonymity and ra rely with the prestige accorded As the literary visibility of the graphic narrative has increased over the last twenty years, especially in respect to the appearance and development of the graphic novel, the medium of the comics can now be seen as containing an entire body of work that is literary in its strategies and not intended as strictly popular ente rtainment. So there are essentially two bodies of work in the medium that are currently being advanced for their artistic merit The body of work seen as valuable that resides within the popular genre s, both historic and current, and the body of work, gene rally of more recent vintage and often termed a graphic or illustrated novel, that assumes an audience with a literary sophistication prepared to readily accept narratives that are composed in word and image. Behind some of the growing academic interest i n graphic and illustrated novels is the suspicion that there may be a growing segment of the audience that is so conditioned by image rich media that they can only be bridged to literary values through works that combine word and image.
41 This construction of events aspires to the story arc of the romance and it suggests the strong possibility of a happy ending when the narrative of word and image assumes its rightful membership in the sorority house of the muses. This is a good story. I like this story. I tell this story. There are, however, some other aspects of the story that also need consideration. Over the last three hundred years, as the reproduction of visual representations has caught up with the ease and efficiency of the reproduction of words, th e cult of print seems to have become increasingly threatened, or at least suspicious, of the arts of the image. The prejudice I referenced in beginning this discussion seems founded in a fear of the force of the image, assumptions that can be summarized in Literary critics often write or speak as if they were secretly afraid that this might be the case, that a word is only worth one thousandth of a picture. Pictures do, at first blush, seem less exclusive t han words. It seems that although o ne has to be educated to read written language, pictures can apparently be understood without such education. W hile it may seem as if it is not always necessary that someone be educated to understand the message of a picture, pictures are still made up of more conventions and manipulations than is commonly realized. To understand conventions of perspective, conventions of representation and the symbolic meaning of
42 represented objects, viewers frequently need a great deal of experience with the images of any particular culture to navigate even the most elementary aspects of the meanings communicated by a picture. The incorporation of images into electronic media means that much of our ordinary information in life is now communicated by spoken language, no t written, and increasingly, when we hear m ediated spoken language, the information being delivered is accompanied by an image. The two often work together to create what we know. Words in and of themselves are neither less nor more accessible than pic tures in creating meaning or understanding. But traditional literary critics have only rarely acknowledged the importance of texts that are spoken. As Derrida suggests through his analysis (from the Phaedrus ) in Dissemination whe n the written word was relatively new it was placed in opposition to the spoken word, accused of being inherently an imitation and hence, a deception. In the resurgence of oral culture in film, radio, television, and sound recordings, the role of writing as a preserver and transmitter of oral knowledge and information has been challenged and even superseded, much to the chagrin of those who see the written word as a fortress from which to battle for traditional values. Warriors in this cause frequently se e themselves defending the castle of literature from both the slovenliness of speech and the mediocratizing effect of electronic media. One of the important changes in literary discourse of all sorts stories, essays, journalism, entertainment, fiction, non fiction has been the
43 increasing ease with which pictures have come to accompany and be integrated with text. Works in the comics and graphic narrative provide a body of work in which words and images are specifically conceived to interplay. A better under standing of some of this unique interaction between word and image in establishing and representing the narrative has, I think, important implications for the entire future of literary studies. The graphic narrative requires the audience to read, simultane ously, both words and images to imaginatively realize the work. Graphic narrative as a form of storytelling has developed over the last two hundred years as visual culture and the mechanics that have made its promulgation possible have become increasingly more accessible and more important in creating our ideas of ourselves. If literary study is ultimately a meditation around the act of reading, than the reading of the graphic narrative is a very important subject for literary discourse. Definitions of what constitutes a text have certainly expanded in the last fifty years. Critical discourse about film, television, outsider art and popular culture now seem pretty much at home among disciplines previously devoted mostly to textual works. The inclusion of m ore disparate works and genre s under the rubrics of literary criticism corresponds with the way in which works of film, television and other media have become more central to the articulation about, participation in and preservation of cultural values and mythic wisdom. Many of the most important texts that shape individual ideas and that define the common
44 cultural experience of the 21 st century are texts that combine words and images. Many of these are movies, which we now commonly view in the intimate th communities that make up our social existence and most of us deve lop approaches of various levels of sophistication and that quite frequently reference the opinions and tastes of others. W e access and incorporate these narratives much in the same way we have accessed and incorporated books into intellectual and cultural life during the last few centuries. Books and videos now share the same marketing, packaging, retail outlets, and vie for the same critical space in newspapers and periodical s. One of the most significant additions to the North American commercial landscape in the last 35 years has been the lending libraries for videos that became features of even the smallest communities or crossroads. Now they have become centralized megali braries of multisensory stories easily assessable by internet and UPS. Like the book lending libraries of the 19 th century, these establishments and the new pipelines of information that intend to pour a Niagara of narratives into our homes on demand, hav e completely familiarized most of us with encyclopedias of narrative conventions, strategies, devices and schema.
45 reader television and movies than the st ories or accounts expressed in more traditionally textual forms like novels, poems, or short stories. To be a reader in the contemporary sense is to be able to assemble narratives and construct meaning out of both words and pictures, often when they are j uxtaposed or integrated. To be an educated and literate person in the 21 st century is to have as substantial an acquaintance with the works of Hitchcock, Altman, Jarmusch and Wes Anderson as the works of Vonnegut, Morrison, Franzen and Zadie Smith. In loo king at the way text and image were beginning to interact in the publishing worlds of the 18 th and 19 th centuries, it i s possible to see how the two were inevitably coming together. Readers had come to expect pictures with their stories and writers like Di ckens would conceive and execute their work in close concert with the illustrators, often writing to images and visual ideas the way contemporary filmmakers often construct their stories to initial concept art. Text was often used to embellish the narrativ e of a picture making the pictures more definite and not, as is generally assumed, the other way round. This tendency for words to explain and contextualize pictures often describes the relationship of text and image when the two are juxtaposed. Those of us who teach in the genre tend to think of the graphic novel as an inevitable outcome of the efficiencies brought to storytelling by improvements in the technology of printing. Narratives in word and image
46 have been developing since the middle ages where m ost of the representational conventions of telling stories in sequential art have their roots. Certainly, at least from the 18 th century forward, the mutual influences between narrative artists and narrative writers would seem to require any complete study of the development of literature needs to include a study of the development of the graphic narrative For example those who wish to adequately present the literature of such writers as Fielding or Dickens should certainly make more than passing referenc e to the works of such graphic narrators as Hogarth or Cruikshank. S torytelling as a feature of human experience will in all likelihood, continue to shape itself to the containers of newer and newer media. The central characteristic of that reshaping is that the story will depend less and less on conveyance through a single sense and that the mode of expression and reception will be increasingly multisensory. Along with narratives in mulitisensory modes, there will also be an increase in narrative techniq ues that emphasize interactivity. This does not mean that the act of reading will diminish, it means the act of reading will expand, as it already has, in response to the opportunities of expanded media. After looking at narratives in emerging media and at many and diverse examples of the graphic narrative, I have attempted to settle on some common elements that may not have been as examined as extensively as have some other, more widely dispersed aspects of narrative such as character, plot, setting, et c. I have settled on three of these elements to
47 graphic narrative that, when examined in specific works, have a great potential to reveal the techniques, implications and st rategies of those narratives. I have selected those qualities because they have substantial application to the evolving discourse of narratives in word and image as they emerge in new and electronic media. It is my belief that these particular terms will b e useful centers around which inquiries and critiques can be made of narratives that are diversely multi modal and interactive, three dimensional as well as two dimensional. In the discussion that follows I will try to demonstrate some of the ways an exam ination of certain prominent features of the narrative of word and image can help us approach the study of narrative in general and the wider pursuit of the pleasures of the text.
48 Chapter Three. Commentary on written text has u sually acknowledged at least some visual elements of language and rhetoric. In some societies (for instance those that use character languages like Japanese or Chinese) drawing and writing remained sister arts. In our tradition of reading and writing, ey es (or fingers if we use Braille) translate certain images (letters and combinations of letters) into the sounds (or simulations of the sounds) of speech. Writing for us, after all, is for the most part simply the early technology we had for recording spee ch. Thus perception by written discourse or spoken speech remained rather similar until about the time St. Augustine marveled that Bishop Ambrose could read without moving his lips. Once that written text could be detached from the breath; writing was no l onger just the media extension of the voice but was an increasingly complicated integration of real and virtual senses [for example when one description]. Once that written text could be read without being spoken, whole new sets of textual experiences were opened to the audience. These experiences
49 were often visual, and one of the perceptive channels that were broadened under the encouragement of these experiences was the channel of the icon. According to the online edition of the O xford English Dictionary icon can be defined as 1. a. An image, figure, or representation; a portrait; a picture, animals, plants, etc. in books of Natural History. Obs. b. An image in the solid; a monumental figure; a statue. c. Computing A small symbolic picture of a physical object on a VDU screen, esp. one that represents a particular option and can be selected to exercise that option. 2. Eastern Ch. A representation of some sacred personage, in painting, bas relief, or mosaic, itself regarded as sacred, and honoured with a relative worship or adoration. 3. a. Rhet. A simile. Obs. 4. A realistic representation or description in writing. Now rare or Obs. DRAFT ADDITIONS JUNE 2001 icon n. A person or thing regarded as a representative symbol, esp. of a culture or movement; a person, institution, etc., considered worthy of admiration or respect. Freq. with modifying word.
50 An icon then is a sign often in the form of a representation which sh ares, or appears to share, something in common with what it suggests or imply certain larger contexts that are often collective, sacred, summarizing, or seemingly generalized. An icon might be a word, a proper name or, often, a picture. Sometimes word and picture are layered together to create a symbol that is rich with meaning or that is made more accessible or more clear. The icon has an ancient history. The making of sacred icons ma y have been one of earliest forms of cultural utterance and often straddled the function of both word and image, comprising both name and visual representation. Something as simple as a signboard over a tavern is a good demonstration of how ancient is the lineage of the icon on our computer desktops. The same process by which an ancient Athenian located a taverna or with which a 21 st century businessperson finds out if she has email, is what underlies the way we read and deploy all icons, from the evocation of the name of Ulysses or Superman, to the devotion we give to a chromo of a blonde Jesus, a publicity shot of Elvis, or a pin up of Marilyn Monroe. In many of these cases there is a tendency to want to boost the power of the symbol by deploying icons tha t are made of both word and image linked together. One reason for this may be that when the brain perceives a picture of an object, say a can of tomato soup, a different chain of neurons is
51 Neural responses to a picture of a can of tomato soup are also going to differ necessarily, from the responses to the apprehension of an actual can of soup. The icon is often thought of as metaphorical, but as the definitions above make clear it woul d be better to think of the icon as a metonymic trope because to become an effective icon the sign must contain representative elements of what is being referenced. In the study of the icon we must inevitably consider not only what is being referenced or i nvoked by the icon, but how that reference or invocation is constructed by the choices involved in shaping the representation itself. Fig. 3 Limited edition cans issued by advertising promotion celebrating resentation of Fig. 4 A set of silk screen prints From an ebay advertisement for Andy
52 their product. Andy Warhol Soup Cans P.R. Newswire Photoservice, 2004. Warhol poster prints. Andy Warhol Prints. Ebay. July 27, 2003. Functional neuroimaging by various techniques m.r.i., p.e.t., o.t. is providing new insights into the exact neurological means by which we perceive, consider, contemplate, process and imagine in relation to words and images. In developing theories of the icon and of virtual experiences, critics will have to account for the theories of thinking and perception that are emerging from these new sources of information. In my discussions here I have tried to incorpora te some of that information when it seems to illuminate the way we read the comics. Experiments in functional imaging have shown that when we read a picture, most of our perception is taken up in linear operation that is, generally we are reading the pictu re one part at a time in some sequence. We rarely attempt to take on the whole picture at once. Rather, in the apprehension of image and text, the raw information is passed through several areas of the brain that sub process and filter the information for rapid recognition. If the image can be refined into a simpler, coded, or familiar form, schema that are familiar to the sub processing brain regions, than the perceptive experience can be modeled in one quick impression of the whole image or major potions of the image which tends to trigger set chains of associations. These refined, simplified or coded images are icons. Reading
53 the image as icon can thus speed up apparent comprehension. These characteristics refinement, simplification and encoding are some of the characteristics of the iconic, especially characteristics that are defined by illusions of distance from and within the narrative, that I will discuss below.
54 Virtuality an d Illustration Another term that is at the center of the explications in this paper is emerging as important terms in discussing aspects of narrative as manifested in new me dia, can also be useful and productive terms when applied retrospectively to texts in traditional media as well. that help us understand the term in this context, 4. a. That is so in essence or effect, although not formally or actually; admitting of being called by the name so far as the effect or result is concerned. g. Computers Not physically existing as such but made by software to appear to do so from the point of view of the program or the user; spec. applied to memory that appears to be internal although most of it is external, transfer between the two being made automatically as required. ADDITIONS SERIES 1997 virtual a Also in more general use, esp. in virtual reality a notional image or environment generated by computer software, with which a user can interact realistically, as by using a helmet containing a screen, gloves fitted with sensors, etc.
55 DRAFT ADDITIONS MARCH 2004 (and n. ) virtual pet an e lectronically simulated animal with which human interaction is possible; spec. a hand held toy with a small screen displaying the animated image of a pet which can be cared for and responded to (by pushing buttons) as if it were a real pet; cf. I think th more application to my context here, 1. a. The possession of force or power. Obs. 1 b. Something endowed with virtue or power. 2. Essential nature or being, apart from external form or embodiment. 3. A virtual (as opposed to an actual) thing, c apacity, etc.; a potentiality. What is virtual has a history of resonating with truth or at least with state of imaginative perception distinct from hallucination, dreaming, and ordinary reality in which external stimuli, often encoded or representationa l or both combine within the perceiver to produce a self conscious delusion
56 with at least a suspe nsion of disbelief, if not outright willing and vigorous participation in the illusory process. This process of illusion may be encouraged and enlarged upon by mechanical means, such as the projection of images and sounds to simulate reality (as in film o r television), or through the various rhetorical devices of any narrative. Many of these devices are deployed to create effects of verisimilitude. For example the tale of Robinson Crusoe is puta tively an account in a log book, as is Mary Frankens tein The story of Lolita is introduced as a jailhouse memoir. Proust makes use of detail and the patterns of reminiscence to organization of thinking/feeling/action within the interior th oughts of a human of verisimilitude permeate our narrative experiences and seem specifically designed to help us virtualize the narrative, i.e. make the experience of reading the na rrative seem somewhat like actually experiencing the events of the narrative. Most devices used to help create narrative verisimilitude are shadows or impressions of the senses that are restimulated, not by a separate, original stimulation, but by an assoc iation that re calls the initial impression. These restimulations rarely call forth impressions with the same force as whatever stimulation that formed the original sense memory. When one reads a story in the traditional manner eyes or fingers scanning an d deciphering the written words on a screen or page descriptive passages,
57 emotional accounts, situations described in the story call forth our responses. Some literary aesthetics have focused on the ways that writing creates objects whose primary mode of representation reflects the unique imaginatively filled in by such simulated experiences. In several seminal essays written in the mid to late 1970s Wolfgang Iser outlined a phenomen ological position that helped formulate one of the main streams of Reader Response criticism. Iser introduce s a vocabulary of virtuality to describe some of what he constructed as the experience of reading, the act of converting narrative to meaning. Iser poses his terms in a context in which virtuality and reality were perceived as near opposites. The virtual was conceived as contained by the real. These days, when mating the terms into contained within the virtual. Along this axis, from virtuality to virtual reality we can transect the subject of the graphic narrative, the object being to illustrate the act of reading that is made up of the unfolding of narrative through both word and picture. Miller discusses in enlarging on the relation between words and pictures in his essay, Illustration Image et texte warfare between the two media, in the full spectrum of its
58 possible skirmishes, from the true blue of pure text at one end to the reddest red of pure representational image at the other, if such purity exists. At one end text seems wholly dominant, the literary text ent irely without pictures other than those it poetry of our own day also belon gs to this tradition. Calligrams seem intended to show that the words on a page can do anything pictures can. After all, both text and image are something seen with the eyes and made sense of as a sign. What, in fact is the difference between reading a word and making sense of a picture? This is just the question. (Miller 73) Miller notes that Mallarm seems to think that a dynamic struggle exists between words and pictures, a struggle in which they contest for the attention of the reader. no evokes having to pass into the mind or spirit of the evocation. They make present in the spirit something otherwise absent. If that power is distra cted, drawn off in a detour, ought, on the spirit of the reader. It will pass into the picture
59 and be present there. The text will be impotent to work its magic effect of evocation on the min d of the reader, calling forth spirits within it. A book, it seems, has only so much magic energy. An illustration will drain this power off, leaving the book dead letter, short circuited by the superior power of the illustration to make something presen t. The book has always been no more than dead letter, since its power is the power of evocation a raising of the dead. The word evokes. The illustration presents. (Miller 67) Miller projects Mallarm as upholding the traditional privilege of text over image for being, in a sense, more subtle in its stratagems because it At this juncture Iser intersects with Mallarm bringing about the virtual d imension, is actually entangled in what he has produced. Only in this way does the reading process become something alive and dramatic, and this is vital since its meaning is not to be illustrated by the characters, but is to take place within the reader. 43) The unifying ideal both share is that the experience of reading is interior and that it is at its most effective when the reader is allowed to imaginatively fill in the blanks, the spaces in the text:
60 ee to paint in the scene. more likely to create simply the impression of a living event, and indeed this animation can only come about because it is not restricted to a concrete picture. This is why the character suddenly comes to life in the reader he is creating instead of merely observing. And so the deliberate gaps in the narrative are the means by which the reader is enabled to bring both 9) Ise existing resources of imagination to flesh out the linguistic skeleton of the narrative text. In this approach to narrative, the creator of the text adopts stratagems that allow the reader to insert him or herself into the text. The role of the reader as incorporated in the novel must be seen as something potential and not actual. His reactions are not set out for him, but he is simply offered a frame of pos sible decisions, and when he has made his choice, then he will fill in the picture accordingly. There is scope for a great number of the reception of the novel, then the work is reduced to the level meant to open him up to the workings of the text, so that he will
61 leave behind his individual disposition for the duration of his reading. In this way, and in this way only, he wil l gain a 6) Iser summarizes this perspective, for which he acknowledges Roman Ingarden, in this way: which the subject matter of the work can come to light, but the actual bringing to light is an action of Konkretisation. If this is so, then the literary work has two poles, which we might call the artistic and the esthetic: the artistic refers to the text created by the author, and the esthetic to the realization accomplished by the reader. From this polarity it follows that the literary work cannot be completely identical with the text, or with the realization of the text, but in fact must live half way between the two. The work is more than t he text, for the text only takes on life when it is realized, and furthermore the realization is by no means independent of the individual disposition of the reader though this in turn is acted upon by the different patterns of the text. The convergence ca n never be precisely pinpointed, but must always remain virtual, as it is not to be identified either with the reality of the text or with the individual di sposition of the reader. (Iser 275)
62 in the abo ve passage is particularly interesting in that the phrase is the literal translation process of personally illustrating the text. actual illus trations complicates this view of the act of reading. This situation can only be further complicated when the text not only incorporates illustrations but is narrated th rough both words and pictures; however, this complication need not be distractive nor destructive of the virtuality. The graphic narrative as a genre demonstrates that the penetration of the reader into the spaces of the work, the wrapping around the armature of what schema the author(s) and the reader(s) supply, happens in both the lingui stic and pictorial aspects of the work. in a work, the possibilities within a work to evoke feeling and respons e, is finite; the potential of words to evoke or pictures to represent is not likely to drain, one from the other, because they are being processed by separate areas of neural perception and the information from that processing is being cross referenced an d resonating through the networks of neural association. It seems more likely that works in word and image increase the potential for the magical energy of evocation rather than decrease it. At the heart of the matter is an assumption that the illustratio n only serves to confine and define the imaginative evocations of words. But
63 usually it is the defining power of words that contextualizes images and not the other way around. The relationship between word and image is almost always made up in this fashion when presented together, or even when related but presented separately, words define and express the contexts by which images can be received and their relation to other images and/or ideas. Images have great powers of evocation but little intrinsic powe r of definition. Exploring the potential evocative power of the narrative image, calling sprits from within the mind of the audience, was to become part of the surrealist project whether those images were composed of words or pictures. One of the most pow Une Semaine de Bonte by Max Ernst, an example in which we can easily see a is constructed primarily of pictures.
64 Ernst, Evocati on and the Graphic Narrative Max Ernst was a pioneer image maker in the Dada and Surrealist Movements and was also an experimenter with dadist and surrealist texts. times, most notab ly in two collage novels The Hundred headed Woman (1929) and Kindness Week we have come to understand it today, an assemblage of elements from different sources united to form a new image designed to produce a new perception of experience and a meaning distinct from those of its sources. Fig. 5 Collage from T he Hundred headed W oman. by Max Ernst. 1929. Art of the 20 th Century. Fig. 6 Collage from Une Semaine de Bonte. Max Ernst. Paris: Editions Jeanne Bucher,1934. Rpt. Dover, 1976. (200)
65 Une Semaine de Bonte or the Seven Deadly Elements was carefully poised by Ernst to reside within the dynamic between word and image, a dynamic that has been constructed to offer large gaps of specificity into which the reader can fit the story they imagine. It is about as open ended a graphic narrative as one can imagine. As the art critic and curator Werner Spies explains at length, Ernst assembles his imagery in a way that is very local to himself. His obsession s, his biography, his outlook are very present in the choices of imagery he deploys, but while these choices localize the work, they do not seem to narrow the participatory channel for the reader. If anything, the channels seem expanded as the reader is in vited to make a narrative of their own to accompany the juxtapositions that Ernst constructs. Ernst clearly expects Une Semaine de Bont to be read; he does not expect us to regard the work as a printed portfolio of separate works on the same theme. In thi narratives and its mirror reflection, The Rakes Progress the course of 9 months. Later it was republished in its enti rety. Each of the sections is focused around a title and some short epitaphs which are presented at the beginning of each section. These texts are are open ended point of reference around which we are invited by Ernst to form our reading. The subtitle of
66 quotation or two. Ernst launches his little narrative canoe on these limited contexts, but he floats the vessel of the work on the sea of our expectations and our resources. For a number of years now I have chosen this work as the introductory reading for students in my Literature of the Comics and Graphic Narrative course. I have asked the students to begin the course b y translating any of the sections of the narrative into English words. These are some of the responses: Fig. 7a. Thursday Blackness Easter Island ( 168 )
67 Fig. 7b. ( 169 ) Fig. 7c. ( 170 ) Fig. 7d. ( 171 ) Fig. 7e. ( 172 )
68 Fig. 7f. ( 173 ) Fig. 7g. ( 174 ) Fig. 7h. ( 175 ) Fig. 7i. ( 176 ) One student writes, Though I went through the whole novel and was totally confused, I could piece together the story. It seems that in th e
69 first sequence of the story, the Easter Island man is revered and looked up to, by the woman in the window, and being introduced to the party, though his egotism takes control and he becomes more controlling over the woman that he was admired by. She is then turned off and turns him down. Then he goes to a bar and becomes very drunk, returns to the party and becomes forceful with the woman and finally is shunned by the people he was so revered by. date rapes and domestic violence. Maybe he meant it in another way, but that is how I perceived it. Sean Murray Fig. 8a. Monday Water Water. ( 43 ) Fig. 8b. ( 44 )
70 Fig. 8c. ( 45 ) Fig. 8d. ( 46 ) Fig. 8e. ( 47 ) Fig. 8f. ( 48 ) Another stud The water section is most puzzling because the water seems to be separating women from what they fear or the water acts as a purifier. I don't know. In some of the images,
71 men look as if they are being swept away from the women or the water has killed them maybe. Also, in some of the images the ladies are being observed by gentlemen. I thought maybe these men were Ernst himself trying to speculate on what a woman thinks about. From seeing that the water separates men and women, I guess that that is what Ernst probably thinks woman think about or, in this case, dream about. Roger Hill Students who respond to this exercise rarely have trouble coming up with some translation of what they are reading into w ords. Sometimes their stories have similar elements but mostly they do not. But the mere suggestion that there is a story here that can be translated into words seems enough to insure that they will find the story that they can read. The importance of Une Semaine de Bont is usually just touched upon in discussions of the graphic narrative. Arguments for the legitimization of the genre of works that combine word and image are usually founded on appreciations of artists working in popular forms whose work is generally seen as undervalued. The argument is generally that this or that work is underappreciated for its aesthetic value because it was composed in a genre generally seen as trivial, juvenile or low culture. But the project of advancing the work th at integrates word and image is not exclusively a popular
72 tradition; for instance avant garde. departures from his work or tangential investiga tions. His collage novels are recognized masterworks and reflect his central concerns as an artist; moreover, the collage novels pioneer aesthetic issues that are very much in the foreground of early 21 st wo rks pointedly and most self consciously explore the most essential issues in the construction of narratives that unite word and image, these works are rarely brought into context with more easily recognized examples of the graphic narrative such as the com ic strip or the comic book. The critic and curator Werner Spies, in his extensive discussion of Max Ernst Collages: The Invention of the Surrealist Universe, credits Ernst with the invention of the collage. Spies is careful to distingui sh what he calls the collage from the papiers colls utilized by other modern artists to diversify the materials of their paintings. For Spies the simple formal substitution of found objects for more traditional materials in the making or art works is not of found materials for purposes of reconstructing meaning. This is an interesting distinction even as it rests on the perhaps unsupportable assumption that there is such an easy distinction between formal or structural elements and elements that are designed to create meaning.
73 It is certain that Ernst, about 1919 had an awakening to the aesthetic effect of the recomposition of accepted and conventional imagery, an awareness he describes himself in his essay B eyond Painting (Au del de la peinture ), One rainy day in 1919, finding myself in a village on the Rhine, I was struck by the obsession which held under my eyes the pages of an illustrated catalogue showing objects for anthropologic, microscopic, psycholo gic, mineralogic, and paleontologic demonstration. There I found elements of figuration so remote that the sheer absurdity of that collection provoked a sudden intensification of the visionary faculties in me and brought forth an illusive succession of co ntradictory images, double, triple, and multiple images, piling up on each other with the persistence and rapidity which are peculiar to love memories and visions of half sleep. These visions called themselves new planes, because of their meeting in a new unknown (a plane of nonagreement). It was enough at that time to embellish these catalogue pages, in painting or drawing, and thereby in gently reproducing only that which saw itself in me a color, a pencil mark, a landscape foreign to the represented o bjects, the desert, a tempest, a geological cross section, a floor, a single straight line signifying the
74 hallucination and transformed into revealing dramas my most secret desire from what had been be fore only some banal pages of advertising. (Spies, Collage 29) formal inspiration, but a realization how simple juxtapositions could alter perception and involvement. One could argu these same principles of juxtaposition are simultaneously being used by such artists as Sergei Eisenstein and D.W. Griffith to construct the grammar of the film. The technique of creating narrativ e links, dramatic emphasis, associative meanings, and other effects in the minds of the audience by merely juxtaposing images, even from completely different contexts, is becoming known and understood across many art forms by the 1920s. And the essential t rick the very first efforts at mass producing illustrated works. For example, the early English broadsides that some critics mark as the beginnings of the graphic narrative in English (Sabin) made use o f this device for economic reasons. In broadsides sold as souvenirs at public hangings, stock pictures would sometimes be used and reused to commemorate different executions. If the picture and the words could be united in the mind of the audience to pro duce the desired effect, it seemed unimportant that the images and the words that were combined with the images may have orginated from
75 different contexts. The freedoms and possible ambiguities were well appreciated by artists and writers alike. J. Hilli s Miller in Illustration makes note of this when he discusses a popular image that emerged from the U.S. Civil War. The image was originally a painting by Everett B.D. Julio that was a very popular engraving hung in Southern homes after the war Miller q Life on the Mississippi Having seen the original painting in New Orleans, creating its effect. p General Lee. Both men are on horseback. Jackson has just ridden up and is accosting Lee. The picture is very valuable, on account of the portraits, which are authentic. But, like many another historical picture, it means nothing without its label. And one label will fit it as well as another: First Interview Between Lee and Jackson. Last Interview Between Lee and Jackson. Jackson Introducing Himself to Lee. o Dinner. With Thanks. Jackson Apologizing for a Heavy Defeat.
76 Jackson Reporting a Great Victory. Jackson Asking Lee for a Match. It tells one story, and a sufficient one; for it says quite plainly and satisfa worth, for inf ormation, a ton of significant attitude and expression in historical picture. (Miller 62 Both Miller and Twain use the picture and the story to show how how relative the relation ship of understanding is to the selection of elements that are combined. One of the most important strategies of the graphic narrative is this fundamental aspect of collage which allows for a re imagining of meaning through recombination. Even apparently neutral labels are fertile with contextualization of whatever image they modify. Sometimes the context that is signaled is the working history of the artist, the formal intent, or even the pose of neutral context itself. All these modifications are powerful and significant in their effects. Since almost all images deployed in our culture are accompanied by labels, consequently the study of images is impossible without a study o f the dynamics of the relationship between word and image and that the study of any particular image requires the recognition
77 and relating of the various labels (words) that have clustered around it. The study of images is by force, also the study of word s. The image artists of the 20 th century certainly refined their practice so that now it seems that their images can be deployed for maximum effect with few labels or other modifiers. Sometimes the words that modify images can be mostly ghostly implicati ons, but in many cases the apparent lack of words has been replaced by more complex language structures, structures related to forms, iconography, type, gesture and implied narrative elements. In the case of Une Semaine de Bont one of the most modifying c ontexts of the work is its container. The images that make up the work are novel and was published in just that way, in several parts which were only published as a whole late r on. The collage novels stand as a prominent book in order to position oneself appropriately in relation novel is elemental in more ways than one. His subject is not only the elements that are archetypes of what we come to understand when we read, but the elements of how we come to read what we read. Une Semaine de Bont is an instructiv e work because it contains in figurative high relief the most basic elements of the graphic narrative. First is the container that signals that the contents are to be constructed sequentially, that what appears first is to be related to what appears second
78 and so on. The container signals the conventions that are to be used in assembling the sequence and these conventions are largely the result of cultural tradition and the opportunities embedded in individual technologies that comprise the medium of expres sion. In the case of Une Semaine de Bont, the container is called a book and moreover it is labeled a particular kind of book, a novel. This little bit of text invites us to approach the content within the book from the platform of our expectations as to what a novel might be. And so we begin to read the work because it seems to be a book and we begin to assemble a narrative because we are told it is a novel. As both Eisner and McCloud point out in their respective works on the general theory of the comic s, sequence is at the center of the operations that make graphic narrative distinct as a genre Sequence of course is not distinct to the graphic narrative (e.g. McCloud shows that film might in some cases be considered sequential art), but sequence is wha t unlocks the real potential of pictures to show/tell stories. The example of the Easter Island sequence for the Thursday section of Une Semaine de Bont shows how sequence and label work to shape narrative. Sequential narrative is the product of what rema ins the same and what changes as the reader moves from image to image. In this case, because the size of the image remains the same from page to page, the reader can immediately focus on what is changing or not changing within the frame. Among the most pr ominent similarities in the sequence is the
79 appearance of a figure in each of the images with the features of an Easter Island monument. Because one of the expectations we have for novels is that they have characters, we quite naturally perceive this repe ating figure, even with its variations, as a character. Because this character is the only figure that repeats in all the images in the sequence, and because it is frequently at the center of the action or composition we read this character as a major acto r in the story. face of stone. Although there are some variations from panel to panel in the carving representing the face, the general sense is of an expression on which we projec t our own emotions rather than of a character projecting his or her emotions through expression. As we shall see, some theories of emphasize the role of facial expression in representing emotional states and emphasize instead the role of posture and body position. In this sequence by Ernst, his choice to use a stone face redirects the reader to a greater awareness of the pose and posture of the various figures within the panels. how it can be read at all Ernst is not constructing his images in a random fashion. Ernst is much more of what we call today a remixer. Ernst has quite cleverly insured that at least aspects of his novel will be easily assimilated as narrative by using as a backboard for his recomposed images, image
80 components from highly dramatic novelistic sources. In the case of this sequence he relied on 19 th ce ntury French sentimental melodramas. Much of any single image in this set of pages, one of the shortest but most clearly narrative sequences in the book, may be made up of a single illustration from one of these novels. He is said to have arrived in Italy where he spent three weeks in 1933 during which most of the novel was composed, with a suitcase of such pictures cut from books purchased in second hand bookstalls. that is with an intent to work in tuitionally and without interference from intellectual constraints and personal inhibition, Ernst has created certain compositional rules in advance by his selection of materials that assure certain component levels of readability in the images he produce s as well as certain qualities of imagistic effect. In the illustrations used in the Easter Island sequence the base sources often contain figures in various melodramatic action poses, a language of action and tableaux shared with melodramatic theater. A lmost all the panels in this sequence contain a figure with a body position formed to convey a theatrical and melodramatic emotion or reaction. Ernst may be remixing Dor instead of Hogarth but some of the salient narrative illustrative technique is based on the same principles. The level of appropriation of image is extensive and demonstrates a history of such activities by artists long before software like Photoshop. In images like that on page 174 almost the entire original illustration is lifted
81 from a single source with the simple imposition of a new Easter Island head over the face of the original image of the male attacker. But just that amount of change of the original not only recontextualizes aspects of the original image but brings the image into line with the rest of the sequence. This work helps establish a long line of legitimacy for the appropriation and expropriation of imagery into new constructs that borrow extensively from their original sources. An example of this same type of remixing w ithin the New Motor Queen City which adopts narrative strategies very similar to Une Semaine de Bont Fig. 9a New Motor Queen City Sec 1. 2 Fig. 9b New Motor Queen City Sec 1. 3 Fig. 9c New Motor Queen City Sec. 1 .4 Fig. 9d New Motor Queen City Sec. 1 5
82 Virtuality and t he Continuum from Absence to Presence When we speak of virtuality today, we tend to mean an experience closer to simulation. The experience is often designed to fee l/seem real ; not necessarily to evoke from memory or imagination but to construct a reality of the experience, is in fact the product of certain stratagems by the authors of t hese narrative s that reference and use schematized views that are familiar to the perceiver of the work and that are deployed at every level of cognition of the work. On the face of it, the experience of reading text compared to the experience of virtual reality seems to be a comparison of the extremes of evocation with the extremes of presentation of subjective with objective. B ut critical discourse clustering around both v irtuality and virtual reality are in many ways similar. Both discourses attempt t o describe and elucidate the absence/presence of the reader in the narrative, and both discourses emphasize the means by which the audience can customize the perception of the work. as an electro nic environment we might see how virtuality and virtual reality are similarly rooted in sensory experience. A special quality of a virtual world is its lack of actual presence. The virtual realm is an electronic environment built entirely of electrical signals translated into sensory experience. Even
83 though the five senses may be immersed in a virtual world, the physical body always maintains its presence in the actual world. (Holtzman 47) The universe of virtuality is the electro chemical environment o neural system. For old school virtuality, the neural system is stimulated by the schematics of language and imagery, experienced by the reader in a state of consciousness not unlike that of the daydream. The neural system is stimulated to produce echoes and resonances of sensory experience. It can even be stimulated to simulate an experience the sensory system has never had or would want to have in actual life. It can imagine. The pulse in the narrative. The palms might grow clammy with fear. Or the reader might simply experience a more subdued range of mental or emotional catharsis. In new school virtual reality, the experience is projected at the perceiver with the idea of having the s ensory system translate the projected illusion as if the experience were actual. The emphasis is on simulation, but on simulation external to the neural system of the perceiver, not within it. The narrative is presented to the reader with accompanying ef fects in a fashion that seems to yearn to the ideal of photorealism, that is, toward a perfection of realization that would be indistinguishable from actual life. A variation on this ideal as a theme can be found in the cyberpunk movie, The Matrix A var iation on this ideal as a narrative device would be the holodeck on the second generation of the Star Trek television series.
84 Key to the creation of the virtual reality simulation is the multi sensory nature of the projected illusion. Future interfaces with virtual reality are expected to expand the sensory repertory of the illusion to include tactile, olfactory and vestibular types of stimulation. Ironically, the ultimate interface as represented by cyberpunk fiction is a return to old school virtuality in which the neural system itself is the interface and the sensory system is bypassed in favor of a direct channel to the neural consciousness. In the web, an ultimate media extension of the human The graphic narrative was one of the first genre s to explore a multi sensory approach to narrative. Although both written words a nd pictures are perceived through the sense of sight, the processing of the different forms of information seems essentially discrete, although with significant areas of overlap and coordination. Recent experiments with scanning magnetic resonance imagery confirm the assumptions of brain scientists that images and words excite responses from different areas of the brain (Yoon) Some of the pleasures of the text in the graphic narrative most likely come from the he information received from the linguistic and pictorial sources of the work. Certainly among the stratagems of the authors of graphic narratives are devices that take advantage of this internal neural interplay.
85 Winsor McCay might be seen as a pioneer i n the narrative that the page and the potential of the graphic narrat ive as an illusionist space. H is use of illusionist and fantastic space is akin to the narrative technique of theme parks and dime museums both of which according to his biographer, John Canemaker, were significant influences on the content of his work. and publicity material for circu ses and dime museums. It was during this time that he began his exploration of unusual perspectives and elaborate decorative effects. Among the skills he mastered from this training was the ability to manipulate scale and perspective in such a manner that he could create a sense of realism in his drawings simultaneous with a sense of distortion and exaggeration that would make the implausible seem entirely possible (Canemaker).
86 Fig. 10. Page from Little Nemo in Slumberland By Winsor M cCay New Yo rk Herald July 26, 1908. Rpt. The Complete Little Nemo in Slumberland Vo. II 1907 1908 Ed. Richard Marschall. ( Abington, PA: Slumberland Books, 1989 ) 85
87 Little Nemo in Slumberland or Dreams of the Rarebit Fi end were placed within the endless possibilities of the dreamscape. The most significant achievement of space. In Little Nemo for example, Nemo himself is an extraordinarily static character, wooden in his reactions and expressions and shows little lines are slow, repetitive and unoriginal; the dialogue is stilted and uninteresting. Every episode ends in exactl y the same fashion, with Nemo waking up from his dream while falling out of bed. Fig. 11. Nemo Wakes Winsor McCay. Concluding p anel from Little Nemo in Slumberland. New York Herald, October 22, 1905. 18
88 Yet Little Nemo is considered one of the bes t comic strips of all time, and it is, but not because of its inventive humor, pungent characterization, or madcap satire, which distinguish much of the best work in other early comic strips. Nemo ual experience for us unrivaled by any of his contemporaries in its immersive effects. Little Nemo is about setting and McCay uses the possibilities of picture and word to create an externalization, a new school type virtuality, of the internal state of mi nd of the dream. symbol and memory and recreates the interior landscape of dreaming. media surrealism recreates the exterior landscape of the dream and the unpr edictable high adventure of dreaming. Ernst gives us the dream as a narrative of potential psychological insight, forged in the deep conflicts of the human personality. McCay gives us a Sunday morning escape into the magical space that we inhabit each ni ght but that drifts away upon waking. Ernst tries to reawake the dream imagery from within using a tarot of images to evoke our own deep associations, like a Rorshach test. McCay tries to recreate for us the visual setting of the dream with its transform ations and metamorphoses, its animation and its exaggerated perspectives.
90 Previous Page: Fig. 12. Winsor McCay Creates the Virtual Space of the D ream McCay shows his extraordinary gift for imaginary perspectives. New York Herald, Sept. 22, 1907. 41 Both these narratives can be said to deploy imagery that both evokes and simulates. Most imagery does both at least at some level. In Ernst and McCay we have examples of the graphic narrative that each emphasize one of the two forms of virtuality. reading that comes from evocation of the resources within, a form of virtuality like that and visual association, evoking with both word and pictu re the mechanisms of interior storytelling. Little Nemo emphasizes the possibilities of imagery to immerse the reader in another type of virtuality one that sometimes may even be co resident with the virtuality of the evocative type. This sec ond type of virtuality uses the multi modal nature of the graphic narrative to represent a world that can be observed and experienced as if it were exterior to the self This is the type of virtuality that creates an illusion for the reader perc eptible world of the narrative itself, usually by providing sensory data, such as pictures, that combine with the words of the text to create an immersive effect Some w ays in which a virtual presence is created for the reader within the worlds of iconic narrative s are explored in the next chapter.
91 who had dominated the business of supplying imagery to newspapers and periodicals, were increasingly being supplanted by ph work could take the reader where no photographer could go. The changing nature of the relationship between drawing and photography must clearly be considered the most notable pioneer of the animated cartoon which drew from both traditions. In creating drawings that appeared to move, McCay extended his interest in the breakdown of movement and creative metamorphosis already evident in the narratives of Little Nemo Moreover, the presentation of (1914), reflects the performative Gertie was first projected as part of a live performance in which McCay presented the drawings as a lifesize illusion. Gertie appeared t originates an entire catalogue of ways to place the reader within the graphic narrative. He seems to be keenly interested in the arts of imaginative simulation, creating the means by which an audien exteriorized that once could only be interiorized. The history of many of the standard devices associated with the popular forms of the graphic narrative like the comics, comic books, manga and graphic novels parallel the history o f popular fiction. The work of the art historian David Kunzle amply demonstrates how illustrated broadsheets since the middle ages were the vehicles through which early illustrators
92 developed the narrative conventions with which they could tell stories. This repertory of devices and effects were clearly in place when the newspaper comics blossomed in the late 19 th century. When McCay begins to experiment with these conventions in the early years of Little Nemo he creates a work that is essentially experi ential in its appeal. The recent republication of some of best work by Peter Maresca in his edition, Little Nemo in Slumberland: So Many Splendid Sundays reasserts the highly immersive qualities of these works. Each episode in this edition is re produced at the original size and occupies the entire page of a 16x21 inch 1905 newspaper broadsheet Each page was a very immersive for the money. I t is easy to understand why any early 20 th century reader with very little in the way of media entertainment on a Sunday, would be entranced with these works and become involved with them in a very experiential way. Little Nem o is a progenitor of what will likely become an enlarging body of works that are far more about setting and the exploration of created environments than about plot or character. The proliferation of High Definition Television has already created an audience for recorded Sunrise Ea rth Works in the medium of electronic gaming will often be rated by users on the quality of the game environment and the immersive experience which are considered as important or even more important than what aspects of character or storyline might be pr esent in the game.
93 Contemporary comic books are frequently taken to task for emphasizing flashy splash pages and explosive stylistics over fully fleshed rendering of character psychology or original plots. In part this proclivity is an aspect of the co ntinuing tension between the different agencies of word and image whose combination is the nature of the form itself. In works that lessen the importance of certain attributes of the narrative traditionally emphasized in literary discourse like plot, them e and character, i t needs to be considered that the focus of the graphic narrative need not be either character nor action, but can be simply the milieu of the narrative as an imaginative space a space through which the reader navigates often through an iconic avatar, sometimes with little more object than having the adventure of exploring that space. Experiencing this imaginative space is both an experience of absence, of non involvement in the milieu, and presence, a sense of being environment the narrative might represent. to in discourse around painting. Those wh o prefer to picture their narrative realities strictly within the confines of their own heads favor the literary narrative of silent text or radio with its requirement for evocative language and dependence on textual detail. The iconic narrative of the co mics or television provides a wire frame reality into which one can project oneself.
94 anchors to the imagination in the form of pictures that simulate an external reality. The idea of reading a work of literature with an eye toward has certainly been put to substantial as a theoretical thread that connects narratives across time, space, and medium. has b een reduced by twenty five years of post structuralist thinking. experience has been accumulating significance, resonance and implication over that same amount of time shapi ng t he critical landscape of the twenty first century because it is an emerging thread of literary discourse that can be drawn through time, space, culture and medium, a thread that spin s from the response. The representative ideal of virtual reality might be expressed as a n effort to recreate the sensory effects of an imaginary event by constructing an artificial reality of exacting verisimilitude. New virtual reality t echnologies work toward the goal of creating an environment that a llows a human being to experience a created work as if it were actually happening to them. An audience, however, is not likely to be that interested in the recreation of representation, more likely to seek virtual reality experiences reality narrative s and the subject of literary discourse. Some of the
95 implications of a narrative medium that an audien ce would not be able to distinguish remains unclear. Some of the implications of this are explored in a number of science fiction stories, such as Star Trek: The Next Generation or The Matrix Virtual Reality, a developing technology of sensory illusion, wants to advance the illusionist possibilities of creating environments that look, sound, taste and feel like ordinary reality. W hen we examine questions of virtuality in the Graphic Narrative we can gain certain insights about how storytelling works in multi sensory genre s. In the Graphic Narrative we can see how, just because the method of the delivery of the story combines two major flows of sensory information, this does not mean that the major thrust of those two flows of sensory data is to create i llusionist verisimilitude. Narrative devices in the graphic narrative are just as likely to be deployed to create more interactional relationships between audience and content. These devices can help immerse the audience in the events of the story by othe r means than replicating in finely rendered detail the sensory impression of the environment or the appearance of the characters.
96 Chapter Four Representation, Iconic style and the Illustrated Novel Among the assumptions that are questioned by this in vestigation is the idea that a sense of presence within multi mode narratives is necessarily created by illusionist technique. Just because a narrative is made up of both words and pictures does not mean that the pictures function as a way of increasing t Max Ernst show, pictures can be just as evocative as words, especially when deployed in metaphoric or metonymic fashion. Some multi modal narrative devices can create impressions that are per ceived, not as external, but internal to the self. One of these devices is the icon and the mode of narrative that I call iconic. One of the most prominent aspects of the graphic novel that distinguishes it from the literary technique of other types of no vels is the reliance of the graphic narrative on the devices of metonymy that is ( to adapt Holman ) figures that substitute a part of an object or action for the representation of the thing or action itself. This can be a little disconcerting to those sc hooled in tradition literary critique where so much emphasis is placed on reading through metaphor figures that imply analogies identifying
97 one object or action with another ascribing to the first one or more of the qualities of the second Metaphor uses a vehicle, an image for example, to express a tenor, the idea or subject of a comparison between objects emotions, ideas or other phenomena whole nature of our language is highly metaphorical. Most of our modern spee (315). In the same manner, much of visual language is metonymic, parts standing in for wholes in a form that compresses the association between part and whole into a more visible and affec tive effect. In Understanding Comics the most important general orientation to the reading of the graphic narrative currently available, Scott McCloud outlines the construction of the icon and asserts its importance as a device through which the graphic n arrative closes the distance between the story and the reader. The icon as a device and the iconic as a style fall within the category of metonymous discourse. As McCloud demonstrates, the icon comes about as a result of a reduction of information in an image until a carefully selected set of simplified parts stands for the whole. Through chains of association these parts can come to stand for a surprisingly complex set of characteristics and resonances. For McCloud the icon registers within our internal virtualization of the narrative in a fashion that is closest to the way we internally visualize ourselves. The way we visualize ourselves in our states of ordinary perception has more in common with the wire frame armatures that figure in the early
98 stag es of computer animation than the fully realized and rendered photorealistic image s we carry around this perceptive shortcut might easily be the result of the same sorts of economy of processor time and memory with in our neural systems that make animating with wire frame figures more efficient than trying to put into motion completely rendered images in a n animation station The consequence of this mechanism of perception is that in the virtual experience of readin g the graphic narrative we naturally wrap around the iconic, the caricature, as if it were an image of ourselves. We become close to that character, so close that we fuse with it in the virtual sense, the cartoon caricature is read as a representation of the self. Conversely, the representation of character that is photorealistic is read as the representation of the other. One of the interesting variations of this principle occurs when the graphic narrative utilizes a very iconic form of representation for the characters and very photorealistic representation for the settings and backgrounds, as is the case for works like Tin Tin or many examples of manga. The effect of this choice seems to be to immerse the reader more virtually into the setting and backgr ound. The genre of the graphic narrative is primarily built on iconic Understanding Comics explains how the iconic style of narrative is built into the comics and other forms of graphic narrative involving c artooning. In this important work on the criticism of the comics and its sequel, Reinventing Comics McCloud
99 demonstrates how a critical discourse made up of words and pictures is necessary to fully explore many of the critical issues involved with the re ading of the graphic narrative. In the following excerpts from his discussion in Understanding Comics McCloud sets up a continuum along which he places styles of representation. The styles run from photorealistic to iconically abstract. Fig. 13
100 F ig. 14
101 Fig. 15
102 Fig. 16 a b. Fig. 17 a b
103 Previous Three Pages: Figs. 13 17 Scott McCloud explains elements of his theory of iconic content. Understanding Comics: The Invisble Art ( New York: HarperCollins, 1994 ) Fig. 13. McCloud on Iconic Content. Panel Detail 27. Fig. 14. McCloud on Levels of Abstraction. 28. Fig. 15. Photorealism to Icon 31 Fig. 16. a. b. Perception of Icon 35 6. Fig. 17 a. b. Becoming the Cartoon. 36. What McCloud implies in his essay is an iconic theory of fi ction. In this theory, when representing character, the more iconic ally the character is drawn the more the audience can be expected to inhabit the character, to be present in the narrative. On the other hand, if the author represents the character more photo plethora of fine detail, the more the reader can be expected to remain outside the story, an observer of the narrative. This construct is not the sort of theory common in fiction workshops in the early 1970s. The general theory of storytelling put forward then was that the more detailed the observations the writer could transmit, the more the reader was brought into the story, and the more the reader was present in ssertion is very stimulating for being largely contrarian to this assumption. This theory of storytelling accounts, in a way, for the durability and catalogue, characters that are finely de tailed and richly embellished are the
104 objective characters, the characters the author wants the audience to experience as outside themselves. Characters that are represented much more schematically are the subjective characters, the ones we want to inhabi t within the landscape of the story. The iconic character is the nexus for the absence/presence of the reader in the narrative. This sense of closeness or distance to/from the other characters or settings places the reader in relation to the action of the story. These positions are determinative aspects of what becomes the simulation up the text. Of course this positioning is virtual. The sense of distance between a reader and a c haracter is a virtual sensation, a way of relating that is generally reflexive or intuitive with the reader although the nature of this reflex or intuition may largely be made up of socially constructed responses. Although icons sometimes can be very reson ant and rich with archetypal suggestion, most of the meaning of an icon is socially constructed and usually a matter of associations layered on through repeated contextualization. Icons seem to be rhetorical figures that can be deployed as strong metonymi es or they can be deployed as ironies, or both. The more iconically a character is represented the more rhetorically the character might be deployed and the more first person virtuality it might stimulate in the reader.
105 One of the effects of encountering representation was the insight it gave me into one of my favorite novels, Kurt Breakfast of Champions I became very interested in how the e come to feel there is considerable value in contextualizing this work among graphic narratives and that reading it in this fashion makes visible some interesting elements of both the novel and the genre of the graphic narrative.
106 Reading Breakfast of Champions as a Graphic Narrative drawings are deployed as icons in the narrative discourse of the book. These drawing s are like and not like the illustrations that became a standard feature of most popular 19 th century novels. The audience for fiction at that time expected to receive pictures along with their texts, and the pictures were there to help the readers imagina tively realize the characters and Blackbeard points out in his Overview to his two volume collection of comics, The Comic Book Century the readers of this period did not index their ideas represented by the photograph. Blackbeard describes the dominant style of represent characters tha t are iconic types and frequently stereotypes. These iconically drawn characters are not infrequently placed in more specifically represented settings, a strategy of the European comics tradition evidenced TinTin and a prominent strategy in Man ga, the term we tend to use for the variety of graphic narratives that come from Japan or that use the narrative and representational conventions associated with Japanese comics.
107 Blackbeard advances Charles Dickens as a paragon of the writer who embraced t he atmosphere of collaboration and partnership between authors opportunity to write to drawings. The young writer of Sketches by Boz, illustrated by Cruikshank, was offered the opp ortunity to write the narrative to comic handling of Cockney sportsmen, proposed an idea for a serial novel dealing with a middle class hunting club in London taking off on a picaresque Seymour was succeeded by Phiz (Hablot Knight B rowne) on the Pickwick Papers and they formed a close working partnership that was to last for 20 years and ten more novels. Blackbeard sees parallels in the working relationships of Dickens and his illustrators with those in the various teams of writers a nd artists who have shaped many comics and other graphic narratives. For example, Phiz and Dickens would meet at the inauguration of a new narrative, which were mostly designed to be published serially, and they would work together o n character design. Eve ntually the economics of the demand for illustrations as a part of the experience of the book led to increasing reliance by publishers on stock art. A good illustrator could certainly attract sales to a book, the illustrations might even be a prominent at traction, but costs dictated that most books
108 became illustrated by using stock images. These illustrations were usually engraved economically on cross cut slabs of hard wood and were the 19 th ges came to be read and deployed in an iconic way. The language of these illustrations as it distilled the graphic conventions of illustrators before 1850, became the foundation for many of the conventions of the graphic narrative. Most respectable stori es had illustrations that tried to provide a non iconic experience for the audience. The illustrations were there to increase the virtuality of the experience. It was these illustrations, stock and otherwise, that provided the s collages As a bank of images these illustrations reflected a distillation of 19 th century representative ideas; they evince d a quality of generic summation like recurring images from a shared cultural dream. Ernst made substantial use of their evocati ve, iconic qualities which he manipulated in such a way as to produce a unique and personal virtuality the bank of cultural dream images became organized into a narrative of a personal dream th e purpose of increasing the virtuality of the explanations his narrator offers about life on earth. The drawings appear in the text whenever the putative author, who is not only the narrator speaking directly to the audience but a character himself who p articipates in the action of the story, wants to make something clear to the audience to whom, in a generally inclusive way, his
109 discourse is often directed. This audience is constructed as being something like a troupe of visiting Tralfalmadorians, a spe cies of space aliens who In Breakfast of Champions or Goodbye Blue Monday Vonnegut speaks to the reader directly and seemingly conversationally, and as if the listener knew almost nothing about earth and earthlings. This tactic allows the most common assumptions of earthling life to be exposed and apparently explained. The pictures are included in the text by the author ostensibly to Placing the audience in the position of b eing addressed as if they were space aliens basically turns the conventional frame of the science fiction writer (it was as a science fiction writer that Vonnegut received his first critical recognition) inside out. The genre of Science Fiction is based in part on the conceit that by setting stories on other planets we can more easily see the reality of life on earth. As science fictional earthlings visit other planets, they frequently have guides to these imagined places who explain things to them as the reader (along with the characters) encounters them for the first time. In his novels, Vonnegut often writes as this sort of guide. He pretends the audience are like space aliens encountering the earth for the first time. A great deal of the fun and stimu comes from seeing the extraordinary implications behind our ordinary assumptions. The narrator is cast in the role of explainer, and occasionally
110 what he is asked to explain seems so ludicrous or indefensible that a tone of embarrassment or chagrin enters his explanations. In making his explanations, the relationship between image and word main protagonists of the narrative is Kilgore Trout, a down and out science the preface, Philboyd Studge, explains it this way:
111 Previous page: Fig. 18. Beaver icons from Breakfast of Champions Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Breakfast of Champions or Goodbye Blue Monday: A Novel (New York, Dell 1973). 22 3. Vonnegut uses a partnership of word s and images to describe a means to favor one type of partnership over the other. The arbitrary pairing he tip drawings exude the same casualness of incorporation. It is the cartoony doodleness of the images that makes them so effective because they reinforce and even shape the attitude with which we rece ive the text as a whole. a writer that he was able to make an art of such informality of style. While the mood of the text is seemingly loose and informal, the presence of insight and imp lication, of consideration seems behind each mark and remark. This casualness of style tends to rule out overarticulated or overly complex lines. Everything must be put simply and directly, the writer/illustrator studiously avoiding the temptation of fall ing in love with his own style or his own voice. The images in the example above are deployed ostensibly in an explanatory manner, which supports the conceit of the audience of innocents. The representation of the lurid banner is explanatory and even illu strative in a indexical sense, i.e. it looks like what it represents. It is also
112 an example of text that has become an image. The text of the simulated banner, rendered as are the other drawings in felt tip pen, turns the image into an icon, a knowing rep resentation that understands that image is much more than an example, it is a metonymy of a large set of associations that are among the potential resonances of the image as rendered. Among these associations are the commercializations of text; the relati ve merits of the word and the image, especially the sexually explicit image; and the absurdity of our sexual embarrassment and its vocabulary. In other words these pictures are not explanations; they are icons. Fig. 19a. Light switch. 68. Fig. 19b Asterix. 71.
113 Fig. 20 Sanitary Strip. 79. Almost all of the images in the book are carefully selected for their iconic qualities. Many fall into distinct categories such as the three images above. The first, a picture of a light switch becomes icon ic because it is a representation of an object so common as to have become invisible to ordinary perception. This image, once simplified and contextualized can be seen to have enormous potential implication. The on/off duality can seem, well, positively cosmic. The awareness hinted at is a little trippy but the essence is that the door to the extraordinary is through the ordinary, and the ordinary in the context of sacred perception can become iconic in the sacred r more than a light switch. The second image above, the enlarged asterisk, is a sort of ur iconic Here what can be taken as an innocent language character, the asterisk, can, Von negut shows us, also be a reasonable likeness of an asshole. Vonnegut frequently titillates by seeming to skate the very edge of
114 sophomoric scatology, as in this case, and the four legged/female figurative imagery illustrated above. The final example in t his set is not iconic word play or visual pun but a picture of the paper loop that used to go around the toilet seat in most American motels with pretensions to high class. It is an icon to middlebrow ideals of hygiene. Its illustration here is to hold u p in the mirror of the story the absurdity of how we represent health, purity and sanitation. The joke results from the representation of a common object with implications of social satire. This is like the artfully chosen pop art icon of an artist like Claes Oldenburg who inflates and deflates the object into an icon. The Pop Art sensibility was very much on the minds of at least the marketers of the book who chose a very Pop Art influenced design for the font, layout and cover. T his novel, published in the early 1970s is a masterpiece of literary pop art. This is demonstrated in the very self conscious way the style of the words and the pictures imitate the iconic character of the comic book. At the very least the title of the novel had Pop art associa tions at least as far as the book designers were concerned. The cover of the trade paperback edition, which reflects the design of the hardcover, is presented with the Wham! Pow! of late 1960s pop type design and color choices drawn directly from comic bo oks.
115 Fig. 22. Pop Art Cover. Cover. This novel evidences a a significant stylistic transition for Vonnegut. In his personal circle of friends were a number of painters who had made their reputations as abstract expressionists of various types. Starting in the early 1960s a few figures among these abstract expressionists together with a new generation of painters introduced a new paradigm to the art establishment. This paradigm became known as Pop Ar t. Diane Waldman in her monograph on Roy Lichtenstein describes how, by 1963, Lichtenstein
116 Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, George Segal, and Andy Warhol, many wh om were working independently, had turned to the common object, popular culture, or the mass media as the underlying theme of their paintings and sculpture, and effectively brought to an end the long rein of abstract expressionism. (3) In Breakfast of Cham pions or Goodbye Blue Monday his seventh novel, Vonnegut seems to have joined this project. This is conveyed in the imagery of the novel and the tone with which the imagery is put forth. The images themselves include a number of Pop icons distilled from or injected into the narrative. Among these are flags, smiley faces, chickens, apples, and images like these Fig. 22a. Cow. 124. Fig. 22b. Burger. 125.
117 which are classic pop iconography. They are classically Pop because in part they are so easil y almost universally recognizable. My seven year old autistic son wandered into the room while I was writing this and where these images were displayed on the screen. He took one glance and immediately The nove l quotes, represents and incorporates many examples of commercial signs and advertising into the text. In the 1950s Commercial Art had been poised as the opposite extreme to Fine Art which at that time meant abstract expressionism. Pop artists reversed th e privilege of that binary. Commercial art was celebrated for its lack of pretense and the bold, vulgar frankness of its appeal. It was cold about involving you, it was calculated to push your buttons, it actively sought to persuade you with any device co mmercial artists and writers could devise to penetrate their Commercial art and advertising were also widely disparaged by the tastemakers of the period and thus were ripe for the tactics of the avant for whatever art establishment is setting the conventions of taste that are being overturned, or at least this is what happens according to the theory of the avant garde. In the case at hand, one of the important sources of the low which would become high was the comics, both comic book and comic strip. The
118 first Pop paintings of Warhol and Lichtenstein were based on cartoons and comic strips. Both artists arrived at this imagery independently and were apparently attracted to the way in which this material brought with it inherent elements of conflict, drama, expression and narrative context. Fig. 23. Look Mickey Roy Lichtenstein. Oil on can vas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. 1961. Warhol almost immediately abandoned the imagery of the cartoon and became more interested in the artistic possibilities in the common object. His next experiments were with the Brillo box and the Campb Soup can. Lichtenstein continued to experiment with the comics and the technique of the comics for the rest of his career. Many of his most significant works incorporate interactions between words and images that are directly modeled
119 from specific panels of comic strips and comic books. These works rely for these works are not just painterly effects, reading the words is a part of the way by which a meaning for the paintin g can be constructed. Breakfast of Champions or Goodbye Blue Monday is a graphic narrative that overlaps Masterpiece and Eddie Diptych are graphic narratives that overlap with the tradit ional form of the easel painting. Fig. 24. Source Image for Takka Takka Rpd in Lawrence Alloway, Modern Masters Series: Roy Lichtenstein (New York: Abbeville, 1983) 28
120 Fig. 2 5 Takka Takka Roy Lichtenstein, Oil on Canvas. Museum Ludwig, Cologne, 1962. Rpd. In Lawrence Alloway, Modern Masters Series: Roy Lichtenstein (New York: Abbeville, 1983) 29. In making these painting s Lichtenstein applied some of the same creative devices to both word and image. In his painting, Takka, Takka for instanc e, when the final image is compared to the source it can be seen that Lichtenstein edited and manipulated the words as much as he did the image. Waldman describes some of these manipulations, running acr oss the top occupies a generous third of the
121 total space a larger proportion than the original comic strip and places maximum pressure on the image, condensing it considerably and heightening its intensity. In fact, he altered the composition quite a bit keeping some of the images but changing others, and emphasizing the relationship between the way words Takka, Takka border separating the text from the imag e; reconfigured the proportions of the surrounding frame, making the canvas ten percent wider in relation to its height, cropped the overall image at the bottom; and added his own color scheme and Benday dot pattern. He also added a few forms that were no t in the original comic strip, such as the explosion that dominates the middle tier of the composition. (Waldman 95) What he changes in the text is interesting. He deletes the reference to Guadacanal as the context for the battle illustrated in the panel effect of making the content of the panel less specific and more tossing the grenade), the deletion of the Japanese flag on the bunker wall and the transmutation of the helmet of the machine gunner into
122 something looking more like a hard hat or a part of the machine gun have the effect of making the context less specific and the image more iconic. chtenstein thus made a painting that, unlike the comic strip on which it is based, is a statement of to defend such methods of painting than any fairness to the illustrator of the original im age. At least to my eyes, the original image is pretty complex and dramatic. The original seems more narrative; time, attention, size and cultural leverage to bring to his work than the unknown illustrator of the original who is trying to get a serviceable period was looking for ways to simplify his or her task because the economics favored the artist who could refi ne a technique that could tell the maximum amount of story with the minimum amount of lines. Lichtenstein advances this aesthetic into the world of fine art along with some of the illustrative techniques with which the comics are associated. Devices such as the Benday dot, the speech balloon, and visual sounds effects had firmly established themselves as conventions of the comics and commercial graphic narrative by the 1950s. Lichtenstein used these conventions to attack both the establishment
123 of abstrac t art and the illusionist space of painting. The editing and recontextualization of the original panels in these paintings create new images that are more intensified, more generalized, more iconic and more ironic. This irony is an important component in disillusionment. A necessary part of the creation of this irony comes from the expropriation of the original image. The expropriations of Lichtenstein and Warhol need to be celebrated. Their approach is a very important root to the emerging dynamics of making 21 st century art. When I look at what Lichtenstein does to the original image in the making of what strikes me is how similarly expropriated images and text are routinely reconstituted by artists (both professional and a mateur) using contemporary digital tools like Photoshop and other imaging programs. This is the exact sort of editing and retouching of images that has become very common and looks to become something of an assumption underlying contemporary visual cultur e. In the 19 th Century, engravers and other commercial image artisans were engaged in editing and retouching the work of fine artists for the purposes of publishing the image to a much wider and less elite audience. Lichtenstein and Warhol reverse d this, editing and retouching works of commercial image makers for circulation among a of constructing the iconography of the images ironically.
124 Warhol Lichtenstein and the generation that ad a loose association of styles with which to play an ironic game helped close the gap in our perceptions between high and low. More recently comics, animation and other imagery from popular culture have been conflated in the art movement cal led Superflat, in which fine art and popular imagery are compressed in works that are superficial and Fig. 26. KaiKaiKiki News by Takashi Murakami. Lithographed Poster. (2001) BBC Online http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/collective/A875171 One of the hallmarks of both Pop and Superflat is a sense of humor and the humor is mostly ironic. The mannerist version of Pop,
125 such as the Batman TV series, implodes this iro ny into camp; however, I think that the prominent aspect of Pop that Vonnegut found so easy to associate with was the ironic quality of Pop, not its camp followers.
126 From the Novel with Illustrations to the Illustrated Novel Breakfast of Champions is a p rototype of the graphic novel that is primarily made up of words. It is closer to a graphic narrative than a typical book with illustrations. A book with illustrations would be like the various volumes in the Harry Potter series which boast evocative ill ustrations on the cover and occasionally within the body of the book. In discussing the strategies behind the pictures deployed in the Harry Potter books with the illustrator of the American editions, Mary GrandPr, she relates that these illustrations wer e designed as concept art for future visualizations (like products or movies) but as expressionistic versions of descriptions of characters and places set out by the author. These strategies were set out first in conversations with the editors and, later, with Rowling herself, who draws and has In the context of the book itself, the illustrations are not used to advance the story but to incite the imagination in an impressionistic way, sometimes n ot so much illustrating the text as illuminating it. universe is most frequently an iconic addition, an opportunity to enter style.
127 an image of the character. This process is exemplified by the illustrator herself as she uses her own f ace as a reference for the face of Harry Potter in constructing his look. While certainly a matter of some co nvenience for the illustrator, this choice puts its imprint on the virtual possibilities of the images, advancing their iconic qualities. In order to retain the way in which the illustrations summarize the few people who is allowed to read the books before they are released. Fig. 27a. Harry Potter Fig. 27b. Mary GrandPr from S cholastic.com Other iconic effects used by GrandPr include the design of the now familiar typeface which is hand drawn in a way that evokes the spirit and mood of the work. This typeface was used on the cover and
128 subsequently adapted as a logotype for the marketing of both toys and the movie. Fig. 28 Harry Potter Title Logo. Designed by Mary GrandPr (1998) Scholastic Inc. The overwhelming popularity of these novels put pressure on the publishers to provide more and better illustration in these bo oks than might be the ordinary case, although the initial two volumes were conceived within ordinary expectations before interest in the novels exploded into a global cultural phenomenon. At the same time, the page count of the novels themselves swelled s ignificantly and there were more opportunities for illustrations. By the introduction of the fifth volume, illustrations within the novel contributed significantly to imagining the work.
129 Fig. 29. Chapter Illustrations from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix show an iconic style of representation. By Mary GrandPr (2003 ) Warner Brothers.
130 The Harry Potter volumes are good example s o f the illustrated book, and sit on one side of a continuum opposite the purely gra phic novel, such as Max Une Semaine de Bonte ( Kindness Week ) Frank In the graphic novel of images, the syntax of the comics link juxtaposed pictures usually expressed in panels, in a narrative that tries to tell a story with the least amount of words necessary. Comic strips like The Little King and Henry that tried to do this were called pantomime strips. The artists of both of these strips, while trying to maintain a self imposed discipline of doing without words were, at times required to use suppo rting characters to say a understanding of the story. As Don Markstein notes in his online Toonpedia entry on Otto Soglow and his cartoon, The Little King minimalist approach Soglow took toward his cartooning. There is also a sparsity of linework to rival that of Barnaby, another favorite among cartoon strip critics. Soglow believed in putting as little as possible between the reader and the humor.
131 Fig. 30. The Little King By Otto Soglow (1939) King Features. In the illustrated book, the relationship between the words and the illustrations is that the pictures amplify the mood or style of the work, provide additional virt uality to the text, and/or add more concrete and specific detail to the descriptive materials of the book. The narrative is not advanced by the pictures and the images contain information that is largely duplicated by the text. The exclusive ly graphic nov el, the story that tries to do without words in telling its story, is the mirror image of the illustrated book. The words are used largely as image elements like signage or as virtual sensory input like sound effects. The words provide some additional co ncretization of the story being told in the pictures but are not used in a significant way to advance the narrative.
132 Fig. 31. Page 12 of a pantomime narrative in which textual elements are used as objects to show story rather than t o tell it By Jim Woodring. The Frank Book (Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2003)
133 Between the extremes of this continuum we can place other narratives that combine word and image with an eye toward how the the story. In all the examples selected for this discussion the characterization and style of the representations are iconic, only the functional relationship and the relative amounts of word to image changes. Looking at a few key examples across this c ontinuum allows us to see iconic mode as it plays through a range of graphic narratives. Breakfast of Champions resides somewhere near the extrem es of the text dominated work, but in the direction of the pole of the more exclusively graphic narr ative. As discussed above, place the work squarely within the dynamics of iconic discourse. It is certain that the illustrations do amplify the mood and style of the work and that, in fact significant turn toward the iconic with this novel. It cannot be said that narrative, but they do place visual icons into p lay next to literary versions of iconic characters and iconic settings. While the pictures do atmosphere as well as specific tropes that help the reader understand how to read and assimilate th e substantial iconic turn in his prose style.
134 The genre of the graphic novel has come to suggest a long form work of comics in which the words and the images both combine to tell the story. Most of the information conveyed by the images is not duplicated by the words, and most of the information conveyed by the words is not repeated or restaged by the images. In works of this type, word and image are part of the narrative flow of the work. The story is broken down into pages, panels and speeches or narra tions which are sequenced and composed graphically for maximum narrative effect. The creation of the graphic novel is often credited to Will Eisner, although there are several others who also claim credit for inventing the form. Various long forms of the comics have been experimented with since the picture stories of the Swiss schoolmaster Rodolphe Dr. Syntax First Will Eisner in the 1970s and later Art Spiegelman in the lat 1980s and early 1990s published work s that eventually helped establish the graphic novel as a market category with a defined presence in bookstores and libraries. The genre has continued to develop and now includes a range of longer works including translated Japanese Manga which are often made up of serial stories thousands of pages long issued in multi volume reprints. Manga reprints account for at least half of what usually appears in the graphic novel sections of bookstores and much of that is made up of sho jo manga, or stories designe d to be read by girls or young women.
135 Among some of the most reviewed and most highly praised Jimmy Corrigan, Smartest Kid on Earth Blankets : An Illustrated Novel by Craig Thompson and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. These are exemplars of the contemporary graphic novel written in the traditional form of comics, using sequences of panels. Each of the novels spreads the story elements across both the images and the words of the work. It would be diff icult to quantify the relative levels, but the reader does not get the impression in reading the work that either image or word predominates. Most often there is a balance of the two that integrates so successfully the reader is largely unaware that they are reading the narrative in a multi modal fashion. Craig Blankets : An Illustrated Novel treats the themes of first love, loss of faith, reconciliation with family, and the search for meaning in just under 600 pages of virtuoso graphic storyte lling. Any truly detailed discussion of the work is far beyond the scale of this essay and deserves several dissertations of its own (which it will probably have, I have heard of a couple that have already been started). This book is now my usual recomm endation to anyone who has no experience of the graphic novel and wants a place to start reading into the genre The story is so artfully told that its graphic effects, many of which are brilliant, go mostly unnoticed by readers because they are so involv ed in the main thread of the story. This is
136 the aesthetic of the graphic narrative that is present in classic storytellers in the form, like Carl Barks, where technique serves story, not the ego or self promotion of the artist. sentation in this work is less abstract than the circuit bent funny animal conventions he used in his previous long form work in the comics, Goodbye Chunky Rice but it is still very iconic. It is iconic, however, in a very lyrical idealizing way which i s one of the endearing qualities of the novel.
137 Fig. 32. P age 182 Blankets : An Illustrated Novel. (Marietta, GA: Top Shelf, 2003 )
138 As Chris Lanier says in his online review of the work, Blankets is most persuasive in its nearly tac tile evocation of first love. The revelations of sexual and romantic love are treated with the awestruck reverence they command in the a good Christian, these experiences would ring with the thunder of Biblical truth. Thompson has a beautiful facility of line, and the fluid drawings have a nearly devotional quality he not only wants to materialize the past, he wants to make it sacred (the hands he draws seem particularly eloquent, like the poised and articulated hands of saints). approach to iconic representation of character emotion and reaction. on facial expression but on pose and body language. The expression on the faces of the characters often remain static or controlled while the more extreme the emotion or state of mind being represented, the more extreme is the body language of the representation of the character. These extremes are emphasized by distorting the figure geometrically when emotions are arch and dissonant, and in a rounded and curvilinear manner when emotions are warming, safe or loving. These distortions of the body tend to bleed into similar
139 distortions of the interiors or landscapes reflecting the way in which personal mood affects the way we render our surroundings. While there are occasionally panels that seem neutral in their observation and recording of place, most panels that f eature the exterior world are represented with a more iconic slant that suggests the state of mind of the observing memorialist who is reliving the story. The self conscious literary effort of the work is the pursuit of memory. Thompson readily admits his reliance on Proust as a literary model, filling his sketchbooks with quotes from Remembrance of Things Past as he develops his own work. In a mutua l interview with cartoonist and graphic novelist Allison Bechdel he points to the following quotation fro m page 784 of his copy of Rememb rance of Things Past as being an especially important quotation that influenced his thought and method in the making of Blankets For with the perturbations of memory are linked the intermittencies of the heart. It is, no doubt, the existence of our body, which we may compare to a vase enclosing our spiritual nature, that induces us to suppose that all our inner wealth, our past joys, all our sorrows, are perpetually in our possession. Perhaps it is equally inexact to suppo se that they escape or return. In any case if they remain within us, for most of the time it is an unknown region where they are of no use to us, and where even the most ordinary are crowded out by memories of
140 a different kind, which preclude any simultane ous occurrence of them in our consciousness. But if the context of sensations in which they are preserved is recaptured, they acquire in turn the same power of expelling everything that is incompatible with them, of installing alone in us the self that ori ginally lived them.... The self that I then was, that had disappeared for so long, was once again so close to me that I seemed still to hear the words that had just been spoken, although they were now no more than a phantasm, as a man who is half awake thi nks he can still make out close by the sound of his receding dream." (Bechdel) challenge is that he has to do this not only with text but with pictures as well. What is remembered must be holographically transferred; the sense impressions that interpenetrate and even index the past are analogized and coded into a graphic narrative. As audience we are transported into not only the matter of memory but the shape of recollection. What is subject is not only what is being remembered but how it is remembered and how the deepest felt matters of the heart are interwoven with whatever we imagine we remember. The result is not a Proustian tale accompanied by illustrations, but an illustration of the Proustian mind. Thompson calls this effort an illustrated novel. This is to associate himself with the ambitions of the novel as a form
141 and the mode of illustration as a vehicle. Blankets: An Illustrated Novel affirms the literary standing of the graphic novel because it is rooted in literary strategies, literary interests and literary technique. It undertakes the same relation to the rendering of its subjects as does the novel. Our virtual experience of Blankets point of view. The dominant sense in reading the work and perhaps its most attractive aspect as a narrative is the simulated participation in the strong perspective Thompson has on life and most especially on a particular girl. This is very much a novel about love and especially the highly charged and deep emotions of first love which are untempered by experience and banked by intense desire. Thompson does not simulate what the experience is like while it is being undergone. He simulates it for us in t he way it is remembered or dreamed. It is a retasting of the experience in the Proustian manner. Like any novel we read it not to experience love for the first time nor to even vicariously live first love again but to experience the memories of his first love and to place ourselves within the virtual spaces of his remembered point of view. In the graphic narrative we hear it, we see it; in this combined way we read it. Thomp
142 Interview .) Both of these terms model a graphic relation to writing and reading that is fused, not an accompanimen t. Blankets with its literary provenance provides tangible evidence that there is a continuum present along which text and illustration can be described in a relationship that constructs a novel. To place them in opposition would be like pitting plot aga inst character. One can be descriptive about the amount any work might favor words or pictures or the balance of the two in the constitution of the novel, or one can describe the interactions between word and image in the construction of any particular wo rk. Until recent technology allowed for more efficient and economic reproduction of images, the amount of illustration within the container of any particular novel has been largely limited. There is a range of examples where the amount of illustration is more substantial or even dominates but there are not numerous examples. In forming any canon of works that help to collectively define the graphic novel, it is important to include works like that make up the continuum of these novels. The nature of the contemporary audience, continuing changes in visual information technologies and the development of the form of the graphic novel insures that, increasingly, more works of literature will be fa lling along this continuum. Une Semaine de Bonte ( Kindness Week ) gives us the graphic narrative as a folio of illustrations sequenced as single panels in a longer work concerned with the novelistic interests of time, memory, dream,
143 relationship, psychology and the inherent character of human beings. It is made up primarily of images. Breakfast of Champions is a graphic narrative with the same novelistic concerns, made up largely of snippets of text interpenetrated with snippets of images, each unbordered panel of text or image constructed with equal weight and value in telling the story and advancing the rhetorical concerns of the narrative. It is made up primarily of text. intentionally trying to distinguish it from many works like manga reprints and other serially published works that tend to dominate contemporary perceptions of the graphic novel. He, in fact, resisted the importunities of his friends to publish it serially first, which he felt w ould undermine the perception of the work as a unified whole (Hatfield Interview ). Because the term graphic novel has come to be associated with any long form of the graphic narrative, there is an understandable desire on the part of a writer like Thompso n to distinguish his work with literary ambitions from those that are just collections of shorter efforts or episodic adventures. The issues of serialization in the construction of the graphic novel, the limitations and opportunities associated with that paradigm, and the issues within the current literary environment around the growth of the graphic novel are more of recent developments in the graphic narrative, Alternative Comics : An Emerging Literature Hatfield relates that he toyed with the idea of titling his
144 work, The Rise of the Graphic Novel to make more explicit the connection between his work and the methods and observations of Ian Watt (153). y makes considerable connection between the economics and social history of the graphic narrative and its development as a form. Hatfield deploys a number of examples that reflect on the effect serialization has had on the construction of certain works an d categories of work. He reminds us that the economics of serialization once played a significant role in the development of the non graphic novel. T he difference in this developing literary dynamic between the serial novelists and those looking to create a more unified and self contained form of the graphic novel may just boil down to a difference in approaches to plan as they go or not plan much at all in terms of the long stor y arcs of any ongoing work and who may thumbnail individual pages or sets of pages as those who want to have the long story arcs completely framed and may even thumbnail the enti re work before beginning on actual production of pages, are not necessarily adaptable to serial publication. They generally want to wait to allow the audience to experience the complete and full impact of the work. Even roughing out an entire graphic no vel is a time consuming task that in itself can take years before actual page production begins. Despite the fact that it is affixed to the title of a significant work in the genre
145 i n distinguishing novels and other long narratives not conceived for serial publication but more interested in works with defined beginnings, middles, and ends from those that are conceived or constructed in serial form. I am more inclined to think the ter that feature lengthy passages of graphic narrative or that are even dominated by graphic storytelling, but that also incorporate large sections of traditional text. A prototype of this kind of illustrated novel is The Diary of a Teenage Girl by Phoebe Gloeckner. Goetz, growing up in San Francisco in the mid 1970s. It is a novel based not so much on memory as documented experience. Using her own diaries as a source, incorporating them, sometimes verbatim, into the narrative (and the endpapers), Gloeckner roots her story in the experience of her younger self, which she approaches re creatively, using a persona through which to dramatize he r past. By the time I began the book, nearly 25 years had passed since I had lived in the time I wanted to write about. The physical diary was like an artifact from another realm of existence. In the meantime, I had somehow become an adult, and I found m yself regarding the author of the diary as any and all 15 year old girls and this girl was in a state of emotional bouleversement. I cared for her, like a mother in a way, and wanted to see her prevail over her troubles.
146 At first the diaries seemed prec ious: I was afraid to change them in any way. But I wanted to write a novel, not to compile a collection of my juvenilia. I knew that my challenge would be to preserve the girl ness of the teenager, whether I was using her actual words or not, and whether she was indulging in precocious or regressive behavior. I essentially spent two years locked in my garage, hidden from the world, and living the interior life of a teenage girl. (Bengal)
147 Diary of a Teenage Gir l By Phoebe Gloeckner. (Berkeley: Frog Ltd., 2002) 159.
148 What Gloeckner uses as a device for distancing her authorship from her teenage avator is the interweaving of illustrations and graphic narratives into the warp and woof of the text. Although some o f these images are from her actual teenage notebooks, most are drawn in the present, in her contemporary style. Initially I was drawing single images to illustrate the book, sort of like an illustrated Victorian novel. This became frustrating, as the pictu res were not serving to propel the narrative they were redundant interpretations of it. They offered no real relief from the self centered voice of the teenage person who is writing for no one but herself. I began doing certain scenes as "comics" because that way, I had the opportunity to offer a window looking out at Minnie's life from a perspective that was not her own. (Bengal) While a device to facilitate both authorship and readership, the existence of comics within the work appears, at the end of th e day, a phenomenon of the voice of the writer which quite naturally breaks into comics the way other voices might break into verse or song. Even when the novel is maneuvering forward as a novel with illustrations, the appearance of the illustrations with unique qualities of voice. Both pictures and words establish t in the narrative which is especially desirable as a n additional layer of textual investigati on and revelation because of
149 inference. T he events that unfold for the fifteen year old protagonist, t hat were preserved in her diaries.
150 year old persona, comes to discover and be encouraged to pursue comics as a form of self expression. Minnie is especially encouraged by enco unters with comics artists Robert Crumb, Aline Kominsky and Diane Noomin all of whom were early The narrative is interwoven with such self reflexive moments. Self reflexivity, however, d oes tend more to self examination through the distancing device The reason this happens is that in the passages written in comics Gloeckner asserts herself as the narrator letting her adult self relate the story through h er comics voice instead of editing or reshaping the voice of the Minnie persona. It is through the cumulative illustrative passages that we get to see Minnie from without. We see her contexts, and the larger patterns in the world around her are revealed b y the change in distance and There is substantial reassurance for the reader in this narratorial presence. The accumulated moments of self reflexivity have created a close identity between the events in the narration and the presumed life of the author. W e know that Minnie, the ostensible author, will survive because we know the representative language of the comics and the illustrations are not that of the fifteen year old girl but the mature version of Minnie, now equipped to look at the past with an unblinking gaze. This reinforces the
151 impression in the epilogue that really is a survivor despite or because of the way her life has been in crisis. Fig. 35. Minnie in Crisis. 262
152 Gloeckner orga nizes her illustrated novel to develop virtuality at three levels of the narrative the words, the illustrations, and the comics First t here is the virtuality of the words in the story which simulate and may often adapt the actual words of the 15 year old version of the author. The conceit that it is a diary would provide a certain sense of verisimilitude in any event but this particular novel goes farther in that it is at least in some part the actual diary of a teenage girl. The sense that the diary accounts are the is supported by the inclusion of actual illustrations and comics done by the 15 year old Phoebe. The inclusion of these drawings virtually insists that we regard the novel as very thinly disgui sed autobiography. Second, t he use of the traditional illustrations within the text is the mode that provides the most distant perspective on the events of the narrative This perspective virtualizes the interior and exterior worlds of the presumed author The full page captioned illustrations and the spot illustrations interleaved within the diary entries are the most composed and balanced accounts in the narrative. These drawings represent the view of the observing mature version of Minnie/Phoebe capabl e of putting a frame and a structure around the experience of her adolescence Third, t he portion of the narrative that is told in the mode of traditional comics is placed virtually within the present time of the story. The point of view of th is virtualit y is that we watch Minnie as she goes through the actions of her life. The diary entries are monologues that give us a view of events
153 but just what Minnie wants us to hear; we h ave to infer the contexts through which the other characters are speaking. Comics allows us to experience dialogue in a very direct way even more directly than dialogue that is fashioned in typical novelistic prose. The dialogue in comics is immediately contextualized by the settings, the represented character of the speaker, and the dynamic interaction possible through the simulated presence of other characters. This contextualization occurs because the dialogue, usually in the form of a speech balloon emerges visually within the context of the pictorially expressed descriptions of the setting and the characters ; the reader experiences this rich visual context simultaneous with the moment that the dialogue is read. In comics, when dialogue is receive d, character and setting do not have to be remembered they are present, as they are in actual events, at the same time the v erbal information is received. Gloeckner uses the portion of her story written in comics as a means of d ropping into the third per son; t he voice of the narrator is a voice speaking in comics. The use of comics gives us the sense of watching the story move forward while having more perspective on events than is available within the A quality o has modeled her character designs in the comics portions of the narrative to reflect the proportions of more typical character design for comics. In the
154 full page illustrations the characte rs are drawn between four and four and a half heads high. These are the proportions often used by boardwalk world view and which feels very ironic in the hands of the mature Phoebe executing the illustrations. The result is that the illustrations drip with irony of which the cast of characters is so woefully ignorant that the illustrations can be wrenchingly p ainful to read. The proportions of the characters in the comics portion of the narrative are rendered closer to the seven heads size of typical character representations in comics that are more on the photo realistic side of the representational continuum. are about five to five and a half heads high. A typical superhero these days might be rendered at nine, nine and a half, or even ten heads high. This difference in character design changes not only the poin t of view when we shift from the illustrations to the comics, but the mood, the style, and the literal sense of proportion within the narrative itself, giving it the sense of being more normal or typical Moving so re adily among these three major modes of narrative discourse Gloeckner is able to produce a reading experience that gives great verisimilitude to the reader Alternating among all thre e modes she is able to incorporate sophi sticated levels of absence and the
155 events recounted in the story. She uses the ability of the comics to provide a first person, the state of mind of her protagonist so that we find it easy to techniques of the book illustrator to affix a comment to the story, a window into its visualization but al so a distinct point of view on the character and the action which we can, in this case, ascribe to the author. Diary of a Teenage Girl is a prototype of the varied virtual ities that can be unleashed within the illustrated novel. Posy Simmonds similarly stitches traditional textual narration together with book illustration and comics in her illustrated novel, Gemma Bovery This work does not hinge on self reflexivity nor on autobiographical sub text. Instead it loosely adapts a classic novel and retells the story through a distinct narrative character. The novel, as the title suggests, is a retelling of Madame Bovary with in a contemporary frame The story is narrated by a local baker with literary pretentions who gets caught up voyeuristically in the l ife and affairs of a recent addition to the population of the little village in Normandy where they all reside. The typical textual portions of the novel are page with the illust rative elements of the work which expand the narration in a contrapuntal manner observation and point of view
156 As in The Diary of a Teenage Girl the illustrative materials often are there to add verisimilitude or additional detail to the narration. The illustrations include letters, drawn versions of photographs, maps, architectural drawings as well as landscapes and interiors. As various points are made in the narration the pictures expand on those points, vertical elabor ations to the horizontal flow of the story
157 the story. By Posy Simmonds from Gemma Bovery (Boston: Pantehon, 1999) 22
158 In the illustrative features break out into comics, advancing the narration instead of just glossing it. In the comics passages in Gemma the voices of the other characters come into the story in a more objective w ay than if they were narrated by Joubert. This is also the w ay aspects of the story can be told that would be impossible for the narrative character to know or see. Comics becomes the vehicle through which the writer can easily counterpoint the accounts of the narrator with the perspectives of the other characters who in comics, can speak for themselves. Unlike in Blankets or in The Diary of a Teenage Girl the voice of the mak er of the comics in Gemma Bovery is not directly a character in the story as either the first person narrator or her later Iife avatar. In Blankets the maker of the comics is the possessor of the memories which are the real subjects of investigation E verything we know and feel in the work comes to us filtered through our conscious construction of what we imagine as the In The Diary of a Teenage Girl the maker of the comics is the possessor of the memories and the maker /possessor of the documents on which the story is founded. She asserts her presence into the narrative to ameliorate some of the rough and troubling as pects of the work. In Gemma Bovery the maker of the comics is the stylist of the story adjusting the illustrative elements in a fashion that often indicate s her judgements her attitudes and her point s of view k through the diverse inventions of her drawing and her devices of visual
159 communication which never lets us get away from the fact that we are reading a graphic narrative.
160 Fig. 38. Three Seasons. 35
161 The general ratio of words to image on the pages of this novel is about fifty fifty. There are times when the images dominate, sometimes almost completely but rarely if ever do pages seem less than half made up of pictures. So the pictures must carry at least half the w eight of advancing the narrative. In Figure 37 above, Simmonds creates a metaphor in her unbordered panel in which Gemma is shown filling in her life like a paint by number painting. The written narrative back sto ry occupies the top center of the page surrounded by spot illustrations that each contribute a specific detail that elaborates on the story a c ountry lifestyle magazines that have helped shape the n umbered pattern on the canvas that Gemma is trying to fill in. An illustration of a real estate photo with accompanying description is put side by side with the same photograph turned into a paint by number image gilded with a few roses and amplified with the inclusion of a over idealized portrait of Charlie and Gemma happy in front of their new home in the French countryside. The narrative put forward by the top half of the page forms the background of the episode that unfolds in the comics that occupy t he bottom half of the page Over each panel of the active storyline there is a n bulleted entry from the orderly objections. All of these aspects of her page design are laid out in such a way as to leave the impression that Charlie is be ing successfully maneuvered The tone of the pictures the jibe of the paint by
162 objections with rationalizations that nonetheless seem devoid of any happiness.
163 Fig. 39 A Baroque Cartoon. 70 Later in the novel (Fig. 39) Gemma is pictured once again making plans for a new life with a new and different lover These plans unfold with the elaborate character of a footnoted Bar oque cartoon which suggests just how grandiose Gemma has gotten in her total self involvement In Fig. 37 we see nine months compressed into three illustrations of the same scene pictured at three different seasons during which Emma becomes disillusioned with country life This episode is another example of how illustrative strategies are central to the appeal of the work. These concentrated effects are likely the product of its serialization, the fact that it would have originally been seen by readers o f the Manchester Guardian, one page at a time. Gemma Bovery is a prototype of the illustrated novel because it uses so many illustrative strategies and devices to show and tell its story. The novel contains both traditional types of illustrations a s well as passages in comics and these together with the written word, are braided quite tightly together on most pages of the narrative to form a very dense music with many overtones that decorate its captivating storyline he effect of reassuring potential readers that they will understand how to approach the work they are being asked to read. Readers are quite familiar with the concept of illustration and they are likely to be reasonably comfortable with the combination of easy association. The illustrated novel may be a publishing category that will
164 make further inroads with the readership of traditional novels. Despite longstanding prej udices against works that combine word and image to tell stories, Illustration still connotes cooperation with the written text and even subservience to it. This is a relationship that readers of typical novels find less threatening then what is implied b y terms like The novels of Gloeckner, Vonnegut and Simmonds all show ways in which illustration can be artfully integrated with texts in novelistic fashion. The work of Gloeckner and Simmonds also gives testimony to the manner in which full integration of words and image in the novel is best accomplished by using comics. When the story is to be advanced by both the words and images, some close approximation to what we call comics, the juxtaposition of sequential images t o tell story with or without narrative boxes, speech balloons or panels (open or closed), is the form such narrative passages most efficiently take. At the center of the continuum between the novel of words and the novel of images is the novel in the form of the comics. Although called an Blankets is completely a work of comics. impressionist illustrative style. What is comics is not de pendent on style of representation or figuration. There are definite styles we associate with the comics, manga style, superhero style, bigfoot style, etc. But comics as a mode of discourse has found itself highly adaptable to the form of the novel
165 in va rious ways. Sometimes comics will be used to relate the entire novel, at other times, only passages. There are also forms of graphic novelistic discourse, like those used by Vonnegut, that suggest the comics without becoming them. The act of reading wi thin the paradigm of a more visual culture will mean an inevitable growth of works all along the continuum examined here. Most of these works will make use of icon and iconic styles of representation to articulate character and to create a means by which readers can become observation can be manifested and through which presence can be invoked. Both of these are the primary means by which virtuality is created and maintained in the graphic narrative. Ye t there is a dark side to the icon and the iconic and that is the stereotype. In the next chapter I will examine the way stereotype has been wound up in the issues of representation in the comics, the problems, both ethical and pract ical with the use of stereotypes in the comics and some of the prominent strategies in character design founded in more diverse approaches to graphic storytelling in the novel and beyond the novel.
166 Chapter Five Icon, Stereotype and the Ethics of Representation in the Graphic Narrative Traditional commentary on the cave art of Europe has generally assumed that the pictures and symbols painted on the cave walls by early cultures have a dimension of functional magic. It is hypothesized that huma ns made those images because they expected, in some way, that the representations they made had some influence or even control over what was being represented. Thousands of years later we are still tracing the manner in which representations can effect in dividuals, shape culture and form attitudes of self and other. The power to make and shape representations of others is not a power that should be wielded without consideration or thought about the consequences and implications of the images one makes or promulgates. This chapter is an inquiry into some of the ethical issues that accompany the power to represent. It is an inquiry that specifically addresses the ethical problems accompanying one particular schema of iconic representation in particular, th e use of stereotypes. In his book on the narrative aspects of sequential art, Graphic Storytelling Will Eisner articulates one of the central tenets of representation
167 in the comics, that effective graphic storytelling is dependent on the use of stereotyp e. The purpose of this discussion is to examine that tenet and its context. The terms stereotype and clich are very close in origin. The terms originate near the beginning of the 19 th century and refer to the process in printing in which a metal printing plate, cast of molten metal, is struck from a mold. The type is assembled, a mold made of the type using papier mach or other material, and the molten metal, commonly lead, is introduced into the mold. The resulting plate is used in the printing process while the original assemblage of type can be disassembled and reused. The term clich is echoic, apparently, of the sound used when a stereotype was cast by letting the matrix fall down upon a surface of molten metal at the point of cooling. The sound made 2 By the turn of the 20 th century both of these terms were no longer limited to describing the specific mechanics of printing, but had been turned to use in describ ing a number of conditions ascribed to langua ge, appearance or even character. It became possible to use clich phrases, to The initial image of a cast being made from a mold and then that copy being the enunciator of many other copies the ster eotype became applied to anything or constantly repeated without change; a stereotyped phrase, formula, etc.; stereotyped diction or usage The meaning of the word
168 A stereotyped expression, a commonpl ace phrase; also, a stereotyped character, style, etc. preconceived and oversimplified idea of the characteristics which typify a person, situation, etc.; an attitude ba sed on such a preconception. Also, a person who appears to conform closely to the idea of a type. It is out of the last sense of the term that Eisner seems to be constructing his central thesis. Eisner begins his own discussion of stereotype ( Gr aphic Storytelling referencing its origin in printing. This seems his way of contextualizing his one whose use is virtually inevit able in the construction of graphic narratives. Stereotype has a bad reputation not only because it implies banality but because of its use as a weapon of propaganda or racism. Where it simplifies and categorizes an inaccurate generalization, it may be har mful, or at the least offensive. The actual word comes from the method used to mold duplicate plates in letterpress printing. These definitions notwithstanding, the stereotype is a fact of life in the comics medium. It is an accursed necessity a tool of co mmunication that is an inescapable ingredient in most cartoons. Given the narrative
169 function of the medium, this should not be surprising. (Eisner, Graphic 17 ) Eisner continues, Comic book art deals with recognizable reproductions of human conduct. Its drawings are a mirror reflection, and visualize an idea or process quickly. This makes necessary the simplification of images into repeatable symbols. Ergo, stereotypes. (17) Eisner expl icates his meth od of stereotyping thusly, In comics, stereotypes are drawn from commonly accepted physical characteristics associated with an occupation. These become icons and are used as part of the language in graphic storytelling. (18) able stereotype is amply illustrated in a panorama backstage at an Eisner casting call. Under each of the character representations Eisner has labeled the stereotype he intends to represent. As an revealing experiment I have reproduced the illustration her e without the labels. Below the drawing is a list, not in order, of the stereotypes represented in the drawing. Can you match the labels to the stereotypes? The original drawing, including the labels, is reproduced in Appendix A.
170 Label the Stereotype Fig. 40. Label the Stereotype. Match the list of stereotypes below with their conventional image. Do you want to reinforce the stereotypes with your selection or call them into quest ion? T go to Appendix A. Image by Wi ll Eisner altered in photoshop by the author. From Graphic Storytelling (Tamarac, FL: Poorhouse Press) 18 List of Stereotypes Thief Vamp Wimp Boss Con Man Scientist Police Banker Mother Worker Athlete
171 Among the observations one might make if o ne tries this experiment is that at least, at some level, the stereotypes are all rather interchangeable. Labels like Banker, Athlete, Scientist, or Worker could be applied to any of the images. Of course when gender is indicated by the label the choices a mong representations is somewhat more limited, in large part because the set of representations includes only two images conventionalized in a way as to represent women. Of course the number of images that might be labeled Con Man, Mother or Vamp would va ry as to whatever preconceptions about gender, androgyny or cross dressing the observer might have. conventionali zed representation of a mother. It is rare for a student to acknowledge a resemblance. At the same time, almost all the students have no trouble recognizing the image as a conventionalized representation of a Mother stereotype. Eisner explains, For exam ple, in creating a doctor prototype, it is useful to adopt a compound of characteristics that the reader will accept. Usually this image is drawn from both social experience and what the reader thinks a doctor ought to look like. (18)
172 Fig. 41. The basi s of stereotypical imagery is the idea of embodying what someone in a particul ar category should look like. 18 exp The emphasis suddenly or hers cultural programming. This is a very significant switch. Eisner wants to hold to some essentialist un derpinnings for his theory of visual narrative. The art of creating a stereotypical image for the purpose of storytelling requires a familiarity with the audience and a recognition that each society has its own ingrown set of accepted stereotypes. But ther e are those that transcend cultural boundaries. (19)
173 must be some universal icons that can represent those values. his work. To communicate well, the storyteller must be conversant with what is universally valid. (19) Eisner tends to view all stories as being variations on the theme of human survival. Eisner seems to believe that living things share in common the struggle to survive, and that human beings share a consciousness of that struggle. The near universal awareness of that struggle among humans implies to Eisner that there must be a universal set of images or icons that can symbolically represent that shared awaren ess. Whatever the virtues of this hypothesis, it is dubious that Eisner does much to demonstrate it in the context of Graphic Storytelling He evokes the characteristics are recogn on associations between characteristics and appearance that are largely, if not wholly, culturally determined. McCloud makes a good case for how human perception is subject to filtration by gestalt so that some very recognizable schema, such as the human face, arise unbidden from our flow of visual information. These perceptive operations seem nearly universal because scanning for the pattern is automatic and the data is filtered for these schema close to the
174 entry ports for the dataflow. The act of recognizing faces seems to have been very important early in the development of the human species, as it seems to be very important in the early development of human individuals. Eisner seems to want to evoke a presumed process nearly as deep in human neurology when he discusses the sourcing of stereotypes in archetypal personification of animal attributes. In devising actors, it is import ant to understand why the use of response. I believe that modern humans still retain instincts developed as primordials. Possibly the recognition of a dangerous person or responses to threatening pos tures are residuals of a primitive existence. Perhaps in the early experience with animal life, people learned which facial configurations and postures were either threatening or friendly. It was important for survival to recognize instantly which animal w as dangerous. (20) And then Eisner provides an example of how archetypal, or perhaps neurologic, readings of animal based images can evoke character recognition.
175 Fig. 42. Employing Characters that Resemble Animals. Eisner suggests some representation s of types have their basis in primordia l human perception of animals. 20 In considering the reading of these images one must consider that while the human types portrayed physically resemble the appearance of the animals with which they are paired, the characteristics associated with those features are purely a matter of cultural conditioning. I think what Eisner gives us is a very nice description of how to develop archetypal stock characters by using animals and especially animal based allegory to pro vide visual models. In the particular examples Eisner
176 illustrates in Fig. 42, the representations seem to me to be drawn not so much from character abstractions of the animal but from individuals in rticular animal and so he uses that animal as a reference point for designing his caricature seems substantially like a caricature of Eisner himself. The representations end up d isplaying not universally recognized qualities but simply preconceptions preconceptions about animals derived from traditional anthropomorphic readings of their presumed characters, preconceptions about the people whom he may be caricaturing preconceptions in a sense, masquerading as observations. The s e preconceptions are on display in the three panels that illustrate Standards of Reference. Fig. 43 Standards of Reference. Eisner illustrates the relationship between stereotyp e and standards of reference 19
177 The images labeled Heroism and Evil are examples of pure stereotype. They clearly resonate with associations to our preconceptions about the physical appearance of heroes and evil doers. But there is no necessary connection between the images and t he attributes they supposedly project. For example one could complicate the reading of the images by replacing the label for Eisner moves on to explore h ow stereotypes can be used to create humorous effects by unexpected interpolation of type and situation. Fig. 44. Stereotypical humor. Substitute an unconventional stereotype for the conventional one in a situation and the result can be humor. 19 Eis ner is not blind to the implications of his joke or his defense of stereotype. Many Eisner stories touch on the effects of preconception, prejudice and the rhetoric of stereotypes on individuals. Anti Semitism and its roots were
178 active areas of inquiry fo r Eisner and comprised the central subject of two of his late works, Fagin the Jew and The Plot one. In film, there is plenty of time to develop a character within an occupation. In c omics there is little time or space the image or caricature must settle the matter instantly. (18) In graphic storytelling, there is little time or space for character development. The use of these animal based stereotypes speeds the reader into the plot a nd gives the teller reader acceptance for the action of his characters. (20) The general rationale is the need for speed and certainty of recognition which, to a large degree, means giving people what they already expect. The task of the graphic narrator when it comes to the visual creation of characters is to select and exaggerate those details which summarize or embody expectations. These representations, perforce end up drawn not so much from life as from the storehouse of previous representations. For positive stereotypes to negative ones. Eisner seems to believe that the graphic narrator must learn to employ a large vocabulary of images that are employed with specific asso ciations and resonance within the visual language of the comics. I call offers a few catalogs of
179 such apparatus which includes objects, apparel, pose, props, all of which are cast in the story like actors to facilitate the speed and certainty with which the reader can comprehend the story. As Eisner remarks about the employment of this apparatus, There are some objects which have instant significance in graphic story telling. When they are employed as modifying
180 adjectives or adverbs, they provide the storyteller with an economical narrative device. (21) Poets and writers have always regarded images as being economical in the way they can modify or represent ideas, emot ions, states of mind, problems or anticipations within a text. In this case the images are literally drawn represented visually, rather than with words. boundaries of the Hogarth prot otype. Eisner, like Hogarth, had a career shaped by his energetic entrepreneurship and he excelled at making accessible work that showcased the bourgeois values of middle class life In the late 1930s Eisner was the artistic c enter of the Eisner Iger Stud io where his storytelling techniques were a major influence on the development of the commercial comic book. Eisner pioneered the factory style of comic book production, breaking down the various stages of story development into stages, each completed by someone who became a specialist at that area of production. primary role in the factory was to oversee the entire process of production. Usually he would the visual story telling elements, make the panel by panel breakdown of the sc ript and rough in the drawing for each panel. He was responsible for much of the character design and general concepts for the stories and on going series, so he was the central figure at the origin of most work produced by the s tudio. At the end of the process he would review and sign off on the final product.
181 Payment in this system was by the page, so the more efficiently the studio could operate; the more money came into the operation and enriched the partnership. Eisner bec ame almost legendary for all the ways that he devised to make operations more efficient and to save money. At the same time Eisner remained dedicated to the idea that the comics were a storytelling medium capable of delivering literary art. It was in thi s atmosphere that Will Eisner began developing his ideas about the theory and practice of sequential art. Any insights into how to make his storytelling clearer, more emotive, faster paced, more exciting and just more communicative in general were derived directly from the practice of making visual narrative and were immediately put back into making more work. It was an environment in which all incentives were directed towards getting more effect for less time and effort. Others in the field were similarly motivated, but what made Eisner special in this regard was that he remained committed to improving the quality of the storytelling as well as the speed at which new stories could be conceived, produced and delivered. Eisner became known for two qualities of his work, the ability to deliver on time and his ability to produce work that excited a higher level of reader interest. It was his reputation for delivering work on time that recommended him to a large newspaper syndicate that wanted to try integrating a comic b ook like product with its newspapers. This recommendation resulted in
182 The Spirit regarded by most critics as one of the highest achievements of the so The Spirit was a comic book that was distributed as an insert in the Sunday paper in a number of markets across the country. Ostensibly the adventures of a masked hero in the mold of a pulp fiction detective, the feature quickly became a wider ranging anthology with the title c haracter serving to introduce a variety of tales, often involving a cast of stock characters and frequently reflecting the tastes and qualities of noir film. The Spirit allowed Eisner to ratchet up his experiments with page design, typography, splash pane ls, among other formal elements of the comics as he explored subject matter that blended pulp fiction with elements of social realism. It was the formal experiments of The Spirit as well as the range of subjects and themes advanced in its stories that mad a master of the medium. practice and approach to his graphic novels. But it may be the next period of his career that secured much of his ideas and practices inv olving characterization and representation. When Eisner left The Spirit for the army in 1942 it was the first step on a journey that would make him a pioneer in the field of graphic communications. His primary work in this area was the production of PS M agazine, a publication of the Department of the Army that was designed to promote preventive maintenance among the troops. For over 20 years this
183 a time during which he cultivat ed a reputation as a businessman more than that of an artist or cartoonist. In creating the successful formula for this project, which was a successor to Army Motors the magazine that Eisner illustrated during his time on active duty, Eisner based the co ncept of the publication on what he thought would appeal to the average soldier. As a result it had obvious occassional use of visual double entendre.
184 Previous Page: Fig. 46. Double Entendre. Eisner u ses a visual double entendre to catch the attention of the average soldier in order to encourage better practices of preventative maintenance. The caption on the cover From Bob An delman, Will Eisner: A Spirited Life (Milwaukee, OR: M Press, 2005) 153. In designi ng for PS, Eisner kept his representations limited to types wit h which he th ought his audience w ould find it easiest to connect. He has something he wants to communicate, and his tools as a cartoonist are there to be bent to the purpose of what he wants to communicate. But by the formulae. PS Magazine was by now being produced by others who had to find n ew devices and approaches to create soldier interest in the publication. It became very much an issue when I was in my ten years on re. The ladies sometimes complained that they felt there were a lot of male chauvinists in the military. Of course, it had been strictly a male organization. And then, of course, color became an issue, too. We had to make sure that the black troops were p ortrayed correctly. The staff introduced a new character called Bonnie,
185 giving me photos of beautiful black ladies, trying to get me to incorporate that stuff. At the time, during the Vietnam War, her (Andelman, 165) Throughout this period when Eisner is developing as a businessman, he is trying to create a more systematic understanding of the relations between image and reader. His attention to the task of organizing and making more efficient the prod uction of the comics inevitably turns more to the issues of visual narrative and to the technical breakdown of the whole process of making comics from inspiration through execution that is outlined in Graphic Storytelling and its predecessor, Sequential Ar t. These efforts are trademark elements. These works attempt to educate in the way that PS magazine and any number of other Eisner projects (like his Gleeful Guides series for e xample) do. Eisner attempts to make explanations as short and efficient as possible, he makes his choices based on appealing to the largest audience appropriate to the project, and his explanations are accompanied by humorous illustration wherever possibl e because learning is more effective when its fun.
186 values and assumptions are bourgeois and revolve around a strong work h the ranks of his profession and at having always been able to make a living by working at what he liked to do. This is the professed ideal of most of the young people with whom I work, all whom aspire to be professional artists. It is through someone like Eisner that we can understand an artist like Hogarth. This is someone who considers how to broadly appeal to the tastes of the public rather than to the tastes of a specific patron. This is someone who wants to clarify and make more systematic the stu dy of the graphic narrative and its legitimacy as an art form. This is an artist who approaches his work with the pragmatic ethics of the bourgeoisie, ethics that charge artists with a responsibility to educate and promote positive values through their wo rk while they entertain. This is a dedication to learning as an ideal educate, and which is both principled and entrepreneurial. It is why we can think of Hogarth and Eisner as not just prototy pical figures in the history of multi modal narrative but paradigmatic ones as well. The efforts of graphic narrators between Hogarth and Eisner were attuned to the efforts of distillation, of finding reproducible images that could embody, at a glance, a set of characteristics that would be instantly recognizable and easily placed within the virtual narrative of the reader. The paradigm of print emphasizes the reduction of complexity and
187 individualization in favor of simpler schemata that are easier to r eproduce. The economics and dynamics of the technology of printing emphasize processes of reduction. Artists within the paradigm of print quite naturally flow with the grain of the medium toward the most essential aspects of representation, the most tell ing of details. Inevitably the techniques of print favor the speed of impression, both the impression made by the plate to the paper and the impression assembled by the reader from the words and images on the page. Against this background, the use of ste reotypical representation can seem reasonable and even necessary. Much of the project of mass media seems to be to simplify all issues, points of view, representations, and ideas into low common denominators entertainingly expressed. Commercial graphic n arrators since the time of Hogarth have largely worked from within that project. In a commercial framework, stereotypes can seem well vetted mechanisms for storytelling, images developed over time sure to be quickly recognized and easily understood by a ma ss audience. The adoption of stereotypical representation as the primary form of character design in episodic television points to its success as a crucial element in contemporary narrative formula. There have been many analyses put in motion about the s ocial effects of stereotypes and the psychological effects on individuals as they measure themselves against these stereotypical standards of beauty. There are
188 fewer efforts to confront stereotype directly within the theory of graphic narrative as opposed overgeneralizing them, often in an unfair or unbalanced fashion is probably not a good thing, but we can find it hard to imagine that the comics can wo rk without resorting to stereotype in some way. And most of us can be a victim to the often expressed opinion that there must be some truth to a stereotype, or otherwise why would it be a stereotype. T o test this assumption we can look at a case study of a particular stereotype within the context of the comics. Such a study should have substantial implication for the study of stereotypes in general because of the acceptance, by some, that the deployment of stereotype is a necessary component to the gen re body of images in which the stereotyping is clear, apparent and undeniable. Black Images in the Comics: A Visual History provides a perfect set of images from which to make observa tions because it ranges widely in its sources and includes a diverse set of representations. from a number of cultural positions including representations of Africans and African Ame ricans by Africans and African Americans. The images include representations that are both stereotypical and non stereotypical; but his selection is particularly sensitive to and communicative of the ways in which stereotypes have conditioned and shaped r epresentations of black people.
189 This is evident in the image ornamenting the frontispiece of the collection which shows the night and day of a stereotyped image and a non stereotyped representation. Fig. 47 Night and Day. Graphic Design by Fredrick St rmberg from Black Images in the Comics: A Visual History by Fredrick Strmberg (Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2003) 3 Central to the difference between the two halves of the image is that one side is an observed impression and the other is a received impression There are a few common elements between the two representations, the curl to the hair for example, but mostly it is hard to understand how the stereotyped image on the right side is in any way a generalization or metonymy of the image on the left. Ther e is such an obvious disconnect between the actual appearance of Black people and the minstrel/cannibal
190 default iconic form for representing black people in the comics of Europ e and North America. Strmberg summarizes seven different basic Black stereotypes that he sees reflected in the images from his collection. I might call the first stereotype simply for want of a better word the native namely the unflattering portrayal of native aborigines as childish savages both silly and dangerous. Next comes the tom an eternally servile, humble, and forgiving soul who never questions the superiority of the white ruling class; his name derives from the traditional, if somewhat inaccurat e, The third stereotype is the coon a roguish, comedic figure known for his mischievous pranks and idiosyncratic approach to the English language; the fourth stereotype is th e piccaninny a younger version of the coon, overenthusiasm. The fifth type is the tragic mulatto particularly common as a topic in films a person (most often female) sexually torn between Black and white worlds, her desire even as her Black legacy dooms her to tragedy. The sixth common stereotype is the mammy a sort of feminine tom complete with large, ungainly, asexual physique and an
191 unwa vering loyalty to the white household for which she works. The seventh and final stereotype, the buck is a strong, violent most often functioning as a cautionary example. (Strmberg 29 30) In laying out these stereotypes Strm berg reminds us that Racism in comics is not only a matter of the drawings, however. It can as I see it be distinguished on at least three levels: the first is the purely pictorial (in which a certain minority is depicted with various stereotypical attrib utes); the second is the purely textual (in which captions and not least the use of language present persons in a negative way); the third, and probably the most subversive, is on a content level (in which for example people from a certain minority are con stantly nonexistent). (24) Strmberg shows how early images of Africans in popular print were the savage or primitive slavery broadside of the early 1800s entitled Remarks on the Methods of procuring slaves, with a short Account of their Treatment in the West Indies
192 Fig. 48. Remarks on the Methods of Procuring Slaves Ca. Early 19 th Century. 36 In this image we are looking at representations that are stereotypical in the original sense of the term, the sense that the figures are very generalized in style and the image could have been used or reused any number of times to illustrate similar tracts about the abuses of slavery. Stereotypical then, in the manner that they are designed to make a quick and immediate impression, onto the paper and into t he reader.
193 Although the images of Black people here are more vaguely impressionistic than closely observed and show little evidence of the artist necessarily having seen many Black people, they are still rendered with the same level of caricature as the f igure of the slave owner. Compositionally it takes three slaves to balance the slaveholder and he is obviously clothed to their nakedness, which serves to emphasize visually the inequality of power that shapes their situation. At the same time, though th ey are portrayed as humbled, the slaves share the same depth in the picture plane as the slave owner. This, and sharing the same level of caricature means there are definite ways that the image and representations are equalized in their visual essentials. The vagueness of the caricature has an iconic quality to it, and if iconic representations empathically and to internalize the experiences of the character being iconically repre sented as experiences like our own. This is not a demeaning portrayal and the Black figures are posed with considerable nobility, especially the manner in which the lead figure stands to the branding iron. It might be said that the representation slants in the caricature of Black people that infects subsequent centuries of illustration is not in play here. Negative stereotype is well in play, however, in this image from an 1872 epis ode of the Ally Sloper feature in Judy, or the London Serio Comic
194 Journal Ally Sloper is generally considered the first recurring character in European comics. Fig. Ally Sloper in Africa from Ally Sloper by Charles Henry Ross and Marie Duval, 1873. B y the 1870s the stereotype of the savage is well ensconced in the visual catalogue of popular culture. 40 From the episode, Sloper in Savage Africa the story itself is a sati re of British colonial behavior but the representations of Black people are v ery stereotypical and do as much to reassure colonial attitudes as bring them into question. As Strmberg notes about representations from this period, It is hard to tell exactly when individualized Black characters r that Black characters
195 when they first showed up overwhelmingly did so in the guise of the native stereotype. Sometimes the characters were European royal courts. More often, though, native chara cters simply reflected crude European visualizations of Africans at home. (39) For Europeans, demeaning stereotypes were used to preserve and defend assumptions about culture that enabled colonialism. The foreign, exotic other was represented in such a wa y as to justify exploitation. Nothing enables exploitation more efficiently than the delusion that you are exploiting others for their own good. Key to creating such illusions are representations of the other as juvenile, animalistic, without reason or j udgment, non rational and overly superstitious, stupid and slow witted, without ties of community or family The force behind the cultivation of stereotypes is our self serving attitudes about othe rs that de humanize them and create a network of rationalizations that can excuse and mask our exploitation of them. The social behavioral mechanisms which but a member of the other. rationalize violence and exploitation of indigenous cultures pretty much anywhere there is a collision between lar ge scale and small scale societies.
196 In the Levi but are represented as a threat to them as well because they are portrayed as seeing civilized people as less fellow beings than as just something to cook. Fig. 50. Mickey on a Desert Island. By Win Smith, 1930. Most major artists in the comics and animation before the 1950s evidence the use of stereotypical Black images. 68 In the United States there was a greater need during the 19 th Century, when the visual conventions of Black stereotypes were being refined and disseminated through the new il lustrated humor magazines and publications of popular fiction, to rationalize slavery. The result was that by 1900 the commonly accepted caricature of a Black person was conventionalized
197 around the minstrel stereotype, a sort of tamed version of the Afric an minstrel show. Fig. 51. Musical Mose By George Herriman, 1902. The central character is this series of strips seeks to hide his ethnicity in order to pursue his career interests This may have been the case with the strip s creator as well. 48 In the panel from the strip Musical Mose by George Herriman, the minstrel stereotype is used to represent the Black characters. As Strmberg relates in his notes accompanying this ima ge, there is likely poignant irony and psychological subtext in the theme of this strip in that Herriman is considered by many contemporary comics historians as having significant
198 African something he readily acknowledged. In this strip the central character is always trying to pass as another ethnicity in order to get work as a musician. Whatever his ethnicity may have been, Herriman lived as a White person, not as a Black person. In contrast, Jelly Roll Morton, a near contemporary and who, like Herriman, was originally from New Orleans, always considered himself to be White but he did live as a Black person and l argely amidst the African American culture of his time. Krazy Kat feel that work in particular, considered by many comics scholars (including myself) as the epitome of the comic strip, is very representative of an outsid er, African It should be said that the work reproduced here is a fairly early work. One of interests and developed a visual language that did not rely on ethnic humor and stereotype but on archetypes and the specific archetypal triangle seeing and using the new archetypal visual vocabulary t hat was emerging out of popular culture. Interestingly enough he was able to develop the possibilities in this language in large part because he was freed from the need to use stereotype to reach the masses. Herriman was unique among commercial comics ar tists in that the large body of his work did not have to
199 compete for mass appeal because he had a patron in his publisher, William Randolph Hearst, who gave him a lifetime no cut contract. It is highly unlikely that any of that would have happened if Herr iman had been living as a Black person. The stereotype that Herriman has used in this panel is one that the novelist/cartoonist Charles Johnson describes in his introduction to As a black American reader, my visceral reaction to this ba rrage of racist drawings from the 1840s through the 1940s was revulsion and a profound sadness. How else could a black person respond to a parade of generic, dancing silhouettes; savage, cannibalistic Africans; language mangling Boskos; and bubble lipped, buffoonish cartoonist Ollie Harrington once put it, white illustrators of this and inking into the wee hours of the morning at their drawing tables, black Americans as their audience. We were not part of the artist/audience equation. (8) tatingly chooses examples from virtually every major figure in the history of the comics through 1960, from McCay to
200 Eisner, all of their work, tainted in some part for us as readers, by their use of these racist stereotypes. I bring this information to my students as an important observation about the consequences of the use of stereotype on the subsequent reputation of the artist, asking them to consider if they want their own work being perceived in the way we read these obviously compromised images toda y. For me, the importance of Strmberg to make the case that it is not just a matter for the artist to choose from between ne gative and positive stereotypes. T he graphic narrator is far better off, I think, to completely eschew stereotype as a device, a device toxic to both reputation and work. The main problem with stereotypes is that they are untruthful in their essence because they are representations that have been devised without observation of those who are being represented. This problem is clearly visible in the case study of Black images that Strmberg assembles. It is obvious upon reviewing these images that the history of stereotypical representations of Black people in the comics tells us nothing about Black people. The history of s tereotypical representations of Black people does tell us some things about White people. n to make that emphatic so as to be clear that Black stereotypes are without any elements of truth, accuracy or reportage. Stereotypical representations of Black people are not the embodiment of any pattern recognition; they are artifacts of psychosexual desire and the will to
201 power. They are like embodiments of evil platonic ideals shaped in some completely self serving region of the imagination and dis seminated to mold and to shape the way we think we recognize the patterns in others. Stereotypes embody the way we think others should be if the world were organized to satisfy our desires, designs and assumptions. Stereotypes are exaggerated and, often, demeaning models of humans with which we try to insist that reality comply. It is not unusual for people to see validation for the stereotypes they harbor in their observations of others because, in large part, what to observe and how to interpret what t hey observe has been coded in advance by the stereotype. People often confuse caricature with stereotype. Caricature, which is a mode of representation that makes use of exaggeration and diminution together with other techniques of distortion, emphasis a nd isolation, is based on observation. Caricature may be very cruel and unkind, it may be unfair and it may even be hateful but at least it is rooted in observable phenomena. Caricature may be deployed in a very demeaning fashion, and although it is ofte n used to deflate the pompous and the mighty, it can also be used to make sport of those who are simply strong featured, powerless or disabled. presuppose the observation of an original, 1. In Art Grotesque or ludicrous representation of persons or things by exaggeration of their most characteristic and striking features. 2. A portrait or other artistic representation, in which
202 the characteristic features of the original are exaggerated with ludicrous effect. 3. An exaggerated or debased likeness, imitation, or copy, naturally or unintentionally ludicrous. A stereotype does not presuppose any observation of an original, a caricature does. That a stereotype does not presuppose any obse rvation of an original is demonstrated by Strmberg observed we have the early appearance and promulgation through print media of representations of Black people that are visualizations not observations. A representation of someone that substitutes supposition for observation has the inherent the relational sense in that we expect the image and imagemaker to give us The case history of Black Images in the Comics shows how the use of stereotypes has compromised the work of the most important and valued artists in the form. What has be en b etrayed is the compact between artist and audience that any reality the artist presents has been observed, observed no matter how interior, absurd, spontaneous or personally skewed. The artist can tell us the perception, external or internal.
203 Nothing in this essay should be con structed as any criticism of Will Eisner or any other artist of the past for making the choices they made with the information they had. In the case of Mr. Eisner I was personally the recipient of many generous favors on his part and I admired him greatly for in storytelling and representation. Artists are responsible to history as much as politicians and open season for second guessing their choices and judgment. My concern in this discussion is not their use of stereotype; my concern is our use of stereotype. Stereotypical representations are not really prese nt in a narrative to enhance the readability of the narrative or to develop the characters; they are usually present to reassure the reader of the safety of their opinions and prejudices, whether this is known by the author or not It is true that our con sciousness of stereotype has evolved in such a way as to now allow for stereotypes to be deployed ironically if not always sensitively. Such a case may be the way very racist and sexist imagery that shows up in the work of Robert Crumb.
204 Fig. 52. Int entional Offense. Robert Crumb deploys his stereotypical imagery in full awareness of their offensive character. He invites the offense as a way of revealing the pervasive racist character of White imaginings. 132 re delivered with both a knowingness and a sense of compulsion. They often have an exaggerated cuteness that helps underscore the irony with which they are intended. Crumb is obviously aware of their maliciousness and demeaning qualiti es; he even exagger ates those qualities for more effect. The images taste of projectile vomiting, bites of things brought from deep within, indigestible bits of mass culture vomited out of personal history and put on display for public consideration from a cool distance.
205 Wh at start ed enabled big bang of encouraged by his association with his second wife, Aline Kominsky, whose intensely confessiona l Love that Bunch is a masterpiece of personal comics. Crumb begins to emerge more and more from behind his characters as his work solidifies and he concentrates on improving his observation and his draughtsmanship while, at the same time, trying to ho ld on to his spontan eity. In his sequential stories Crumb seems to develop a semi co nfessional method that accepts that many aspects of the self do emerge in the work and that the artist can choose not to put the lid on, not censor what arises, and let it all hang out as a s ort of exercise in telling it like it is [to use two phrases that might have quotation marks but for the sake of trying to rehabilitate them as actual statements of serious bohemian lifestyle advice and not just cat ch phrases of hippie clich]. compact with the reader is to deliver themselves up in raw est fashion possible. Although expressed with in the exaggerated frame of the comics, Crumb and Kominsky share a commitment to representing their truth and that is evident in the work w ith its willingness to share deep detail about their own lives as they attempt to come to an awareness of their own hidden motivations. As always with confessional work, the danger is in becoming too self es that line of self indulgence, in the sense, anyway, that it is offensive.
206 In the Terry Zwigoff documentary, Crumb the artist notably declares the only people who complain about his use of stereotypical imagery are White liberals, thus implying that Bla with stereotype. I cannot report that is the reaction of my African American students. They see what Crumb is doing, but they are still very offended by the imagery he uses to do it. Ironic purpose or effect may not be able to compensate for the failure to include these readers in the expected audience, as Charles Johnson notes above. relate viscerally to the way his images distill the simultaneous affection and loathing one can have for the mythic framework of characters and icons that populate the common cultural reference for the first television generation. This was a generation whose childhood spanned the 1950s when stereotypical portrayals of African Americans were ubiquitous and still largely time in which the common icon for a roadside vegetable stand was a stereotype consuming a watermelon. Part of coming of age in the 19 50s and 1960s was coming into an awareness of how the icons that made up the background imagery of our lives were loaded with ideology and programming. A fair amount of the exposure to popular culture we did receive was not just to the popular culture of t he 1950s (Elvis, Eisenhower and Ed Sullivan) but to the popular culture of the 1930s and 1940s largely as an effect of the repackaging of film (and
207 caricatures and most of his sequen tial work inhabit a world that is deeply influenced by the false memories of the 1930s and 1940s induced by deep exposure to this popular culture. It is from these influences that Crumb draws his style and his archetypes and some of these archetypes are stereotypes. This same interest in the way that these stereotypes are denied and Ghost World in which a stereotyped advertisement for the fried chicken chain for whom Seymour works, b ultimately banned, art project. Seymour, a character added to the screenplay by Zwigoff and author Daniel Clowes, and not developed in the graphic novel, is much like Crumb and Zwigoff themselves, prefering the authenticity of primitive blues and insouciance of Sweet Band music of the 1930s to their commercially overhyped and overprocessed pop culture descendants. A strong preference for what is acoustic and analog over that which is electric or digital. Wha rooted looseness, a relaxation that is the antidote for the constipated White American culture that creates individuals who can smile on the outside, while all the time being consumed with desperation from within. Whiteness in Crumb is constructed as rigid, unforgiving and stultifying, denying the body, prizing repression and appearance above naturalness and sincerity. The
208 construction of Blackness in Crumb tends to be built as an antithe sis to his construction of Whiteness rather than occupying any inclusively independent platform of representational ideals. Other than his narratives about musicians, African populate the backgrounds protagonists, representations of Black people in Crumb tend to signify potential sexual energy, resignation and malaise, willingness to surren der to impulse and sex without guilt or regret. When placed at the center or near the center of a story, Black people in Crumb tend to be celebrated like noble savage heroes of culture (like Blues musicians) or to be ruthlessly exploited by White men. Wh en Crumb uses an iconic stereotype he does so without apologies, but also without softening the representation, without softening the history or the implications. Crumb exaggerates even more, if possible, the brutality of his stereotypical icons and charac ters. Crumb wants to reveal the cruelty in these images and rub our noses in what they mean about our collective culture.
209 Fig. 53. Threatening Stereotypes. Robert Crumb, 1971. Rpt. in The Book of Mr. Natural (S ea ttle: Fantagraphics, 1995) 39 One prominent example of this occurs in the infamous Devil Girl for cleaning the apartment. As an experiment, Mr. Natural loans the body of Cheryl to his disciple, Flakey Foont. headless and compliant Cheryl, and as he has sex with her body, his orgasm is triggered and facilitated by violent and misogynist sexual fantasies of her severed head. In a state of guilt and regret that follows his complete capitulation to tural (Crumb
210 124). The story ends with Cheryl raging over Mr. Natural having treated her window to get a way. Crumb introduces this story with th is tagline: Fig. A First Panel Detail. By Robert Crumb (1991). 114 This particular story is part of a series that starts about five years earlier with the reintroduc tion of Mr. Natural into the li f e of Flakey Foont who had last been featured committing Mr. Natural to an asylum. The series of stories establishes a romantic triangle of sorts among Foont, Mr. Natural, and Cheryl Borck who is Devil Girl. Both Foont and Mr. Natural are members of Crumb Mr. Natural is very iconic and simplified, as if he were built like a Kilroy with a beard; h e is dressed in a simple nightshirt style robe that gathers past his ften carries a homemade sign with a e is a very clear rendition of what Eisner would call a
211 reemphasize that when Eisner is talking about stereotypes, he is no t really talking largely about stere otypes of occupations and roles; it just happens that the category of imagery he is talking about also contains the sorts of representations co llected by Strmberg. proselytizer, end of the worlder drawn from the catalog of gag cartoon characters. His backstory is that he is a streetsmart charlatan who has been a vaudeville magic ian and a dance orchestra leader. Since the 1950s he has reinvented himself as a guru and spiritually evolved person with a small cult of followers who began organizing Mr. Natural Fan Clubs in the early 1960s (42 44). The fact that he has a backstory in dicates the amount to which the character has evolved from stereotype and stock characteristics narrator is ho w he takes the stock characters and stereotypes of the comics and turns them into archetypes of contemporary experience. comics conventions, which suppresses distinguishing details in making a represention in in favor of imagery made up of bold lines that emph asize active body pose, facial expression and the humorous exaggeration of such body parts as hands, noses, and feet.
212 Fig. 55. A Panel Showing the Bigfoot Style. Mr. Natural Stops Talking (1971). 45] Despite this highly exaggera ted style, it seems to me that when including African American characters in sequences with Mr. Natural or other member of his repertory company Crumb retains something like the same level of caricature but not the same level of stereotyping as, for exampl e, his representations in Fig. 53 There is a difference in the representations in this example ; sourcing the caricatures in the conventions of vintage cartooning has meant that when it comes to the representation of Black people, the stereotype being use d is not a stereotype of a vocation or a role, a stock character, but the stereotype of an ethnicity. While stereotypes of bakers and judges might not always be well received by those who work in those vocations, there is some
213 reasonable inclusiveness to the representation and frequently, as with most stock characters, there is a framework that can be built out, particularized and made individual while remaining iconic in form, the kind of character the reader can wrap around and inhabit the narrative. One develop without losing at least the lingering impression of the basic, iconic, stock character outlines on which th e structure of the comedy is framed. Ethnic stereotypes are much more limiting than stock character stereotypes. Instead of having a framework through which to develop and articulate the character more individually, an actor or creator must work to subver t the stereotype in order to create a character. One can appreciate Mantan Moreland and Eddie Anderson manage this in their film and radio roles in the 1930s and 1940s. Mantan Moreland who appears as the chauffeur, Birmingham Brown, in many Charlie Chan Movies, 3 uses set pieces from Black vaudeville, exaggerations o f stereotypical expectations, and even direct addresses to the audience to intentionally include the African American au dience.
214 Fig. 56a. Keye Luke and Mantan Moreland Horrorwood Webzine http://www.horror wood.com/mantan.htm 56b. Eddie Anderson and Lena Horne Publicity shot from Cabin in the Sky. Moderntimes.c om. July 21, 2006. radio and later television, created a relational character out of the stereotypical role that was originally written for him. Although the relationship on air between A employee and mumbled asides to make it clear Rochester was his own man. This a
215 reassess the way the role was written. Eisner went through a similar revision ore enlarged acquaintanceship with African Americans during the war and a greater sensitivity to the effects of negative stereotypes on African Americans. Both of these actors, who struggled so effectively to subvert the stereotypes and humanize the char acters they were given to play, suffered substantial damage to their reputations when culture moved on, and their efforts at humanizing their characters, for a time, were overshadowed by the stereotypicality of the roles they played. It illustrates how th e use of stereotype, particularly demeaning stereotypes, has a corrosive effect on the lasting perception of a performance, no matter how nuanced or artfully expressed. The essence of the problem of stereotype in graphic narrative involves the way in which the virtuality of the experience is interrupted by the terms, is to create a framework in which the reader can become immersed in the narrative. Crumb is considered a master narr ator of the form because his world is so inhabitable. The funky vintage cartoon/comics influenced characterization and background, the interesting conjunction of iconic characters, iconic sets, and iconic apparatus posed in front of backdrops of mundane an d colloquial American landscapes create an inhabitable reality to
216 one side of ordinary life and on the seamy side of Toontown. American We ride the iconic characters of the graphic narrative like voodo o gods, the steed must be compatible, the shape of the character we are to inhabit must fit comfortably so that the illusion is that it is us, a media extension of the body that allows us to feel present. Black stereotypes do not allow for that because th e manner of representation is completely exterior, the image exists to control, to contain, to reduce, to limit, repress and restrain. Crumb certainly has no conscious agenda to do any of these things to people of color. He merely wants to make fun of the m the way he makes fun of everyone else. His unconscious agenda he lets unfold right in front of you. He is the one who reveals and makes a subject of his prejudices and predilictions. But his choices as a graphic narrator have also posted the equivalen t of Do Not Enter signs to some classes of readers that he might otherwise wish to have. That the narrative excludes in this way not include them in the audience, is what compromis es the values in the work. long recognized as problematic in his work, it is often his representations of women that have ignited the most controversy among readers of his comics. A Bitc the Devil Girl episode detailed above, is one of the
217 govern relations between men and women. Like for the American satirist James Thurber, the War between Men and Women occupies a considerable Both artists project meek personas overwhelmed by their own response to feminine power and female sexuality. Their male characters frequently chafe under what they see is the domination of female anima and they escape by imagining themselves in daydreams or fantasies of power. fluid thin lines, decorous and well mannered. These representations get progressively more zen like in both their simplicity and their evocative power conflict lie beneath the surface while above, floats the veneer of upper middle class imperturbability. underneath this placid, normalized surface is a vicious near animal like conflict for power and position that determines the real relations between men and women. The struggle is at the primal level mes of seduction and the realities of marriage. away its layers of overcivilized denial. Crumb, like Thurber, sees the conflict as ancient, primal and determining the relations between men and women,
218 acceptance of the nature of the conflict and the nature of the combatants as a necessary step to functional detent in mixed gender relationships. Crumb presents relatio ns between the genders as rooted in a violent conflict in which both male and female parties are impulsively driven to participate. The Crumb male may pretend to various civilized behaviors, particularly if they are the received ideas of social conduct wh at he thinks he ought to be doing but underneath, the Crumb male is a potential rapist, seething with resentment toward women basically because he wants to jump on
21 9 Fig. 57. Rpt. in The Book of Mr Natural (Seattle: Fantagraphics, 1995) 118.
220 every attractive one within reach and have uninhibited sex with them and 4 female relationships is very much in line wit h the sort of analysis of gend er relations represented in work s of New School Feminis W riters like ss feminist ideals in favor of a more pragmatic and less idealized appraisal of sexual politics. T hese writers often share a background that includes experience as sex workers and /or as victims o f sexual assault. New School Feminist writers practice a fe minism that is careful not to alienate women who position themselves within the discourse of sexual objectification as a putative object; women, for example, who are prostitutes, strippers, hostesses, or Pam Anderson. One of the hallmarks of New School Fe minism as it has emerged in the past 15 to 20 years is how it seems to accept sexual objectification as mo re useful environment of acceptance of their testosteronal urges that A New School Feminist might go beyond mere acceptance and also express sincere empathy for male sexual feelings and beha vior as Mary 1994 interview of Gaitskill by Alexander Laurence,
221 Q Have you used your experiences as a stripper for a story? There was one story in Bad Behavior about a pros titute. I was wondering have you ever turned a trick? MG Yes. Have you? Q No. Not really. Maybe I should. I've paid a prostitute for sex before. MG I definitely would if I was a guy. think the sorts of thoughts he portrays in his work if she were a guy, is a matter of purest speculation, but what is no speculation is that there are reasonable possibilities of this work being read with sympathy, empathy or perhaps just bemused accepta nce from a feminist position. In the Devil Girl series of stories, Crumb represents men as basically and irresistibly driven by their receptive sexual reflexes. The code of male sexual behavior is that a man sees his opportunities, and gets as much as he can get to gratify his sexual desires. Sexual attraction in Crumb is not general but specific, and Crumb enthusiastically celebrates the figuration of his specific desires. specific compu lsions, the Crumb man is driven by the demands of the sexual Id. His impulse is toward conquest, possession, use, discharge, and relief.
222 All this would come as no r evelation to a feminist of any school. B ut Crumb provides something else a New School F eminist might greet with specific approval her own complex sexuality and lustful intensity Devil Girl is not that dissimilar from a Virginie D espentes heroine. She is anything but defenseless, although she can be brutally used by men. S he is capable of rage and animal desire. In f act, in this archetype of heroine both rage and desire are close to the surface. She is physically represented as a figure very transgressive of standards of beauty and social norms. Cheryl Borck, Devil Girl, is constructed with a very active self defense system. She is usually bigger, stronger and more aggressive than anyone else in the room. Nor is Cheryl requ ired to suppress her rage when she is victimized. When she feels she has been wronged she reacts belligerently, with aggression and even violence. When e xamining how much Cheryl Bork is or is not a stereotype we might begin by considering the truction of her nature Devil refined through the full length of career and is the archetype of his muse with whom he wishes to embrace in the most carnal of fashions. Th e elements that make up her character design are careful refinements of the ultimate Pin up. It is likely that Devil Girl incorporates specific observations of various ages on which Crumb is fixated. In some
223 ways she is an assemblage of parts, but she is drawn at times with voyeuristic specificity because she must function as a fetish, an object that summarizes and potently concentrates sexual desire. Devil Girl is the Devil Girl is drawn from a very specific representation of obs ervations deep observation and study; she has had many models and many versions in the work of Crumb. Devil Girl is not a stereotype. Her character is not elaborated out of a stereotype; it is built out of an archetype, and thus a fairly plausible device with which to invite (or bait) a female reader to enter an involved relationship to the work. If the reader chooses or is drawn to participate in the narrative through the char acter of Cheryl, she or he will be drawn into the sex play within. Most complaints about this story do not fault Devil Girl as a character, but object to what is done to her by Crumb in the course of the sex play (or violent sexual assault if you prefer a nother construction). This opposition to the story does underscore the importance of the issues of virtuality in considering the narrative and the manner of representation. Narrative, genre in comics publishing today. Publications in this genre keep publishers
224 like Fantagraphics in business, such as it is. It is my argument that the reason for this is that the multimoda l form of the graphic narrative, both words and pictures, provides a more involving virtual sexual experience. It is the fact that the sexual experience being portrayed can be shared by the reader in such an involving way, that one might sexually get off on it, is what arouses such a strong reaction among critics of Crumb and of the sexually explicit graphic narrative. It should be added that some who would find most sexually explici t narrative socially acceptable still find stories like Bitchin Bod unrede emably offensive and possibly dangerous. The high level of virtuality, of possible virtual participation, and concomitantly the prospect that you may through this means, be encouraging such practices as sexual violence and incest disturbs many people. Th is is, of course, an old argument and affects each new medium that moves in the direction of more virtuality. It surfaced most visibly in connection with the comics in the creation of the Comics Code. In recent years more concerns are being voiced about content and issues of representation in relation to video games as the technology has allowed for appeals to our basest instincts; comedian of the lower chakras and proud of it. Bitchin Bod is based on the structure of a vaudeville sketch; it is made up of the inter action of clown show archetypes in this case the top banana, the second banana and a
225 girl with hyper feminine qualities. The sketch ends with the clowns jumping off opposite sides of the stage pursued by the enraged butt of the joke. The point of such low humor is to appeal to our most common elements. Such an appeal generally leads back to the body as the universal portal to our shared human experience. In the clown show, the clowns image the essence of the human situation through narratives expressed predominately through body language and body action/reaction. Any message we receive, any teaching or observation comes to us without our thinking of it, which is part of the zen or sacred character of clowning. Clowning emphasizes communication forms that address the earliest filters on our perceptive streams of exter ior information and that are designed to most fully engage the mirror neuronic virtual machine. d as an intellectual experience; it is designed as a gut level simulation of real human interaction around sex and d esire. It dramatizes the absurdist comedy with which we pursue the uninhibited release and satisfaction of our deepest sexual impulses, while we fear, regret, feel ashamed, guilty and embarrassed by those same impulses. Like some clowning, there is in Cru absurdities a dark, and in this case, instead of the more typical misanthropic, a clearly misogynist edge. One of the functions of the clown is to define and illustrate boundaries by going beyond them. They are not only transgressive in t erms of boundaries, but also in terms of behavior. Clowns do not act in an ordinary
226 fashion. Clowns are not models for ordinary behavior; they offer contrast to ordinary behavior in order to reveal its patterns and rituals. Clowns are contrarians, they often deploy tactics of inversion to make the nature of narratives; the actions here are not offered to be emulated but to show extreme example; the actions are a mime of the ritu als of power and help form a caricature of human behavior. the design of the deepest patterns of our interactions. The Mr. Natural stories dramatize the patterns of these rituals and it is the keen observation archetypal comedy. organic, what is based in the organism of the human. His myths celebr ate as well as dispair at the way human consciousness is trapped in a body and This extended discussion of Crumb is meant as an example of how a discourse about icon, representation and virtuality in relation to a particular graphic narrative helps reveal and contextualize a reading. Here that discussion has been used to explore some of the issues and contexts that become visible when we look at issues of stereotype and representation within specific narratives.
227 While we have been looking at a number of examples that draw on Black images in the comics in relation to the question of stereotype, this chapter is more generally centered on a discussion of stereotype and its place in the visual narrative; n evertheless, it is necessary to reassert a point that Strmberg makes evident, namely that it is not that difficult to make a caricature of a Black person without resorting to ethnic stereotypes. There are any number of non stereotypical caricatures of Bl ack people including the numerous examples that have appeared in the African American press which up through the 1950s, provided the primary vehicle for images of African Americans in the comics. The many i mages of African Americans in contemporary mains tream comics with mostly African American casts or central characters who are African American, like Wee Pals Quincy Curtis Boondocks or Watch Your Head show that relevant comic caricatures of African Americans that are funny, inclusive, and readily re cognized by the reader are not that hard to make without referencing the visual shorthand of traditional Black stereotypes. In the 1960s and 1970s several popular mainstream comics integrated their casts as some newspaper cartoonists and editors became mo re sensitive to issues of African American representation on the comics page. Cartoonists with well developed sty les working on strips with type s of character design that had been long established, were required to figure out ways to adapt their styles an d character designs to representation of African Americans. This new inclusiveness had to be accomlished with studious attention to avoiding
228 sensitive visual stereotyping. These mainstream cartoonists managed to make these representations in a quite reas onable fashion that balanced difference and similarity within their own character language The example of Charles Schultz in his strip Peanuts shows how thoughtful characterization can create the impression of ethnicity and still stay in the same represe ntational scheme. Previous Page: Fig. 58. Franklin. Charles Schultz introduce d Franklin, an African American character who is little distinguished in appearance from the rest of the cast, in 1968. from Black Images in the Comics: A Visual History by Fredrick Strmberg (Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2003) 130
229 One of the guidelines that these cartoonists seem to follow in their efforts at more inclusion was to keep the level of caricature the same for all the characters so that no one character is especial ly demeaned by being more exaggerated in action or figure than roughly every other character. In this approach to representation, whatever standards of caricature an artist uses must be fairly applied and that fair application needs to be reasonably appar ent. Fig. 59. Lieutenant Flap. The introduction of Lt. Flap into the cast of Mort October 5, 1970. 146 In this approach a character can still be strongly represented or caricatured in a pronounced way without, theoretically giving offense. This is the approach used by South Park, for example, which, although it seeks to offend in a reasonably fair and universal fashion, still incites significant controversy. This controvers y, however; does usually relate to questions of
230 l anguage or subject matter rather than to the approach to character representation taken by its creators. Fig. 60 Puffy and E ntourage. From a picture gallery of South Park by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. http://animatedtv.about.com July 22, 2006. An y representation best avoids being perceived as too stereotypical by using as much actual observation of action, demeanor and figure as it can in the construction of its character design. In making such observations, the artist must be aware of the ways i n which previous exposure to stereotypical ideas and stereotypical images can shape the perception of information. My brother in law is convinced that African Americans are just like their traditional stereotypes because that is how he sees them, looking for them to fulfill his ideas of how they should look and act. Stereotypical representations are not really present in a narrative to enhance the
231 readability of the narrative or to develop the characters; they are usually present to reassure the reader of the safety of their opinions and prejudices, whether this is known by the author or not. In making representations of others, especially where previous representations have been circumscribed by stereotypes, the artist must be careful to see what is actu ally there and not what they have been conditioned to think will be there. Observation is at the foundation of the development of iconic imagery and can be especially important when those whom the artist is representing have been subject to very stereotypi cal treatment in the past. An exemplar graphic novel, Stuck Rubber Baby Fig. 61. Stuck Rubber Baby Howard Cruse represents all types of folks through specifically observe d iconic character design. (New York: Paradox,
232 1995) 206 A coming of age story situated in the heart of the South during the civil rights battles of the mid protagonist awakens to the fact that he is gay. The n ovel recounts his explorations of his situation and recounts the various social barriers and prejudices he encounters, including those self limiting ideas of race, gender and sexual preference he discovers within himself. Cruse has occasion to represent a ll kinds of folks in the course of his narrative and does so by characters share the same order of specificity and that specificity has the look of being anchored in observed d ifferences between individuals, not generalized differences between different groups of people (African Americans, homosexuals, etc.). not strictly autobiographical any more than the events related in the story are necessarily auto biographical. They might easily be patchworks of observation or casual borrowings recorded in a sketchbook and later imagined into a character. There are many ways to proceed in building characters either metonymously or by accretion or even both together Some types of character design start with very photorealistic reference but are made more iconic using the repertory of techniques and effects of the fine artist. King the author often breaks
233 out in to various experiments with abst raction and expressive distortion of characters The characters are rooted in photographic and journalistic/historical reference, but Anderson has personalized their representation in such a way that they have become equally representations by himself. T his personalization may be a subtext in all images that they personal subtext has become text and shares the attentions of the reader with the historical, biographical themes of the work. personalization of King makes King a story in a mythic flow, an account of a hero and an ancestor whose spirit and blood vibrate through the being of the story of King is on display in the high level of personal style with which he represents King. Anderson wants both to represent King and also represent his ideas of King. Such a high level of abstraction or visual play with the character design may distance the c haracters from the reader, but they do close the distance between the characters and the author. Thus the reader is drawn closer to the author and participates more in the narrative through The position of the creator in relat ion to the representation they are making is a very important consideration in the way we receive that representation, especially representations where ethnicity or other histories of stereotypical imaging are involved. If we feel the representation has b een made by someone who is a member of whatever group might be
234 represented, then we are more likely to credit its authenticity or acceptability. Certainly in questions of ethnicity, gender, or sexual preference we are inclined to feel that a person who sh ares the ethnicity, gender or sexual preference that is a focus or important element in the work, should be more sensitive to and have more direct experience of the issues involved. Of course any individual creator may or may not be more sensitive or info rmed, but once we connect the artist with the work in this way, our knowledge of the specifics of the relation between the artist and representation can substantially shape our reading of the work. Such knowledge can certainly shape the authenticity which we are willing to grant a narrative and our willingness to accept representations when they are challenging or unconventional. In the case of Anderson and King our knowledge that the author is African Canadian of Caribbean heritage affirms the authority with which the creator can manipulate Black images in his comics. It also helps us create a the subject which is not necessarily conditioned by the political conditions of the Un ited States but views his hero as an historical figure from a cultural Martin Luther King is expressively felt and reimagined while being able to portray King less attached to specif ic ideological constructs and more iconically, as a figure of more cross cultural relevance, a relevance that aids, perhaps the crossover to White readership.
235 The way we read any representation is conditioned by our ideas of who is doing the representing. This has always been somewhat problematic, but it is clear that readers still expect there to be some reasonable relationship between the way a creator represents themselves and the general and sometimes specific facts of their situation. The nature of those expectations on the part of an audience can be rigid and inflexible so sometimes, to advance their own interests, authors disguise the general facts about themselves: female science fiction writers disguising themselves as male, or male romance write rs disguising themselves as female so as to preserve the illusions and expectations of the audience. If an author is too fast and loose with the veracity of information they impart about themselves the reader can become disillusioned, their work called in to question and the author can end up being publicly humiliated on Oprah. The increasing prominence of narratives and representations from virtual discourse communities means that the act of reading must inevitably depend less on looking to the relationshi p between the creator and the representation as a trustworthy opening into the text. Readers are having to make more and more judgements and choices around text without having his is just one way in which the act of representation itself is being subverted by the dynamics of cyberculture. My colleague, Dr. Carolyn Bloomer, in her paper Skin Color, Ethnicity, and the Graphic Infrastructure of Mass Media Imagery points out how,
236 al though our awareness has grown of the effects of bias and racism in the overt choices that make up the visual language of representation, we have been less ready to examine the effects of choices in the framing and composition of images among other aspect s of graphic infrastructure, and how these might reflect similar bias. Bloomer, who is a visual anthropologist, is interested in the nature of representation that is being processed and understood non consciously. Citing Tor Norretenders 1991 work, The U ser Illusion (Bloomer 1), that 11 million bits of information are being processed by the brain every second but that only 15 40 bits can be held in consciousness at any one time, Bloomer wants to focus on the information in an image, some of the 10,999,960 bits of information each second, that is being processed at non effects that certain choices that image creators make have on shaping the non conscious impressions that audience members decode. One method Bloomer uses to reveal this non conscious information in an image is to reduce the information in a photograph or an advertisement by tracing over the image to make an outline of the figures that emphasizes the pose and gestures of the figures and the fram ing and composition of the image. In essence, to better understand the non conscious aspects of the image she turns the photo into a comic. Her analysis looks at a number of aspects of the graphic infrastructure of photographs and advertisements including such issues as: the simulated distance between viewer and subject and the interpersonal relationship that
237 is suggested by that distance; the point of view the reader has on the subject in the image, are we looking down on them, up to them? Etc.; the posit ioning and body wholeness (contour interruptions, whole vs. part; sigfificance of vs. periphery); grap of its overt content. This is the most 3). interrelationships in the depicted situation. These levels bring into play culturally learned social codes regarding gaze, facial expressions, body lang uage, self presentation (clothing, make up, hairstyle, etc), interpersonal serving/receiving, giving/taking, together/apart) and the ways in which these visual cues work as shorthand to represent so cial class, hierarchical roles, and social relationships. (3)
238 Fig. 62a. Fig. 62b. Photos are Turned into Comics. As a means of revealing the graphic infrastructure Dr. Carolyn Bloomer outlines the figures in the photo in
239 order to reveal their hidden codes of association. Images from lecture Handouts. Another level of analysis considers overall patterns of representation as regards specific categories within various contexts. Among the values she examines is how often a category (skin colo r, gender ethnicity, etc) is represented (frequency) and how much variety is dimensions of mass media imagery commonly support ethnic stereotypes, colo nialist attitudes, and white (male) dominance even when the overt content pretends to multicultural inclusion. Average audiences and not only need help in recognizing the clear duplicity of re based on a model that expresses the relationship between maker, image, and audience in the following fashion: IMAGE Designer, Artist, Photographer Audience, Reader Bloomer focuses on the receptive side of the equation, looki ng at the effects of choices made by the image makers. She explicitly challenges image makers and image mediators to consider what they are encoding into images
240 at the non conscious level and to envision how they might encode more equality into their repr esentations. In the construction of character through representation, image makers must raise to a higher level of observational consciousness the way in which their representations must avoid not only the stereotypical forms and attributes of the represe ntation and stereotypical behaviors, but they must also consider the effect of staging that reasserts and reconfirms at the non conscious level, social and cultural biases. examinations of i ndividual narratives within this dissertation. Interesting to me is how Will Eisner, when he dempnstrated the basics of visual narration in person, concentrated on the depiction of character through the very elements of non conscious information at the exp ressive end of the transaction that Bloomer concentrates on in her study of the receptive effects of these expressive choices. some of his best and most prominent practices as a gr aphic narrator. The a particular emotion, feeling, action, reaction should look like in iconic terms. th eir expression is refined and idealized. He tries to create images that allow us to place ourselves, through our reading of other (mostly non conscious) information, within the virtual reality of the narrative as an observer. He
241 gives us very iconic emot ion in his characters that can create the conditions for easy reading of the supporting cast as well as the possibility to wrap around the iconic armature of a lead character and experience their narrative of feelings and their response to events more inte rnally. language and expression into the shorthand of caricature. Eisner obviously seems to have felt th at he needed the additional assistance of recognizable stereotypes to help make things even easier and clearer for the reader. This orientation to reader convenience was quite helpful to Eisner when creating his large body of information purposed work lik e his illustrations and graphic narratives promoting preventive maintenance for P.S. magazine. When it came to adapting his style to the more social realist narratives that comprise his work in the graphic novel, this aspect of his narrative technique s eems far less useful. The tools that Eisner, as a businessman, used to satisfy clients and driven narratives seem not just clarifying but expand on t he potential of the graphic narrative for extended storytelling. The more stereotypical the characters, the less they succeed in longer narratives where we need more character definition and more specific qualities of a character with which to relate. In his most successful books, this strategy in Eisner has been tempered by other factors. In the case of
242 Drops ie Avenue the historical pageant in which characters move into and out of the story space of the Avenue allows for a reasonable use of more stereo typical design. This is a narrative of place and the characters are not there to sustain the story but are there as apparatus, providing detail to a particular space over a s ignificant span of time. The achievement of Dropsie Avenue is the recreation of an historical point of view in words and pictures. Part of that historical view is the delight in pattern recognition and the use of stereotypes or stereotype based character s can reinforce the idea that certain social patterns exist when in fact the social patterns are embedded in the stereotype in advance of their deployment. In books like The Name of the Game for characters are replaced by his use of character designs that seem more observed at close hand and built on actual people rather than on stock its transit from the types of characterization used in pulp fiction to the types of Booth Tarkington or John Galsworthy. Like Tarkington and Galsworthy, in this graphic novel Eisn er is interested in creating a sense of intergenerational family traits that help determine the interaction among characters and that shape the conflicts and resolutions of the novel. Among these traits are ematic concerns in most of
243 his work in the graphic novel, especially his interest in representing the Jewish experience in American culture. When one chooses to represent issues in class, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, finding a specific language that will not be perceived as stereotypical can be a very difficult task. Sometimes a creator will try to avoid some of the issues by choosing a scheme of representational narrative conventions such as funny animal conventions, manga style, or convention al superhero narrative. This strategy of using conventionalized representation schemes does not; however, necessarily make the problems disappear. An example of how these problematics can remain is Art which to write Maus Written initially for a comic book entitled, Funny Animals (1972) in Maus Spiegelman chooses the funny animal convention to emphasize the issues of stereotypicality and constructed categories among humans, not to deemphasize it. I n successfully applying the iconography of Mighty Mouse cartoons to a retelling of the Holocaust, Spiegelman demonstrates that the conventions of cartooning can be put to telling any sort of narrative, a major moment in the expansion of the graphic novel i n the United States. racist environment of the holocaust by, in a sense, accepting the world view of the Nazis. The categories in Maus are by species, with the Jews being represented by mic e and other ethnicities or nationalities placed in a hierarchy of animal based typology. The Germans are cats, the French are
244 frogs, a child who is half German and half Jew is represented as a mouse with stripes. This is a means of showng the Nazi racist hierarchy for the absurdity it is. It also allows for an efficiency of reading in that we have no trouble telling the Jews from the Germans from the Poles, etc. My Polish students usually do not like to see Poles being represented as pigs, although this world Spiegelman is trying to tell us about. Art knows he giving offense, its an inevitable consequence of the system of representation through which the story is being told. Spiegel of them, Art discusses with his wife, Francoise Mouly, how he will represent
245 Fig. 63. I Just Married a Frog. From The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman (New York: Pantheon, 1966) Vol. II, 12.
246 The problem Spiegelman is struggling with is how to apply his representational schema to constructed categories of race and ethnicity. How will he re present Francois as French and/or a Jew is the real issue there is no functional metonymy for such generalized categories, only stereotypes. How does a Jew look? How does a French woman look? This are aspects that cannot be specifically represented in a n image without graphic storytelling that leads Eisner to conclude that stereotypes are necessary because they can be so difficult to escape or find an equivalent for in terms o f narrative convenience. I advise my students that in making representations of themselves or others that they should consider the following questions regarding the foundations of their character design: o aracters he or she is representing? If you are representing types or groups do you know these types or groups from the inside or do you only have a distant or outsiders take on the group or type? How close is your observation; how close can you be to th e characters? o Is everyone in your world rendered at the same level of caricature? Is the level of caricature itself demeaning of any of the characters? Why and to what purpose or effect?
247 o Is your world of characters inclusive? Do the members of your cast who represent or express minority positions only occupy the fringe of the narrative? Are these minority characters involved in the action or do they take a passive role? Who is at the center of the narrative and who, generally, do they represent? Are y ou providing ways into the virtuality of the narrative for a wide range of audience? o As you execute the work are you careful that your staging and o Even if you have used particular conventions like anime, f unny animal, or superhero conventions through which to tell your story, are you satisfied that your representations are fair and inclusive? The object of this questionnaire is to promote alternative approaches to the use of stereotypical representation. The main thrust of this effort is not towards altering representations as they appear in comics today; there is substantial sensitivity to the nature of stereotype among the creators of comics of all types. I have laid out my observation about stereotype within the context of the comics because it is easy to see the issues through the examples offered. There is some distance historically and the fact that the issues of representation are flattened into two dimensional representations makes the issues some what more visible and easier to acknowledge. These remarks are intended to lay groundwork for what will be a different but
248 related discussion about the issues of representation, stereotype and simulation as they evolve in the next level of virtual reality narrative, narratives in video games and other immersive technologies. In concluding the discussion in this chapter I want to look briefly at some issues in these emerging media that intersect with the issues of icon, virtuality, and representation in t he comics. When I take up these questions with my students I like to begin with several images that are much more familiar to them than the images from the comics we have been considering here. These are images from the prominent mass media of the curren t generation. 5 The first of these, an image of the video/pc game character, Lara Croft always provokes a range of interesting reactions from the class and especially the women in the class.
249 Fig. 64. Lara Croft in Rare R epose. Fan art by Udi Anoulin The Croft Times. www.ctimes.net Most of the young women in my classes do not find the design of Lara Croft particularly objectionable. They understand that she is objectified and framed to optimize the pleasures of the male gaze. They like the way more recent renderings her proportions and figure are somewhat within the realm of the feasible and she has been de bustified in her seventh incarnation to make her more ath eletic. The debusitification is also expected to attract more female gamers, an important growing segment of gamers whose allegiances are not already committed to established game
250 franchises. The new game developers have also reframed her image in the ty pical arcade view of the game, backing the camera up so that it lets more of the landscape into the frame which used to be closely fixated on her considerable charms in collective motion. (Totillo) What the young women in my class find most problematic a bout the representation of Lara Croft is that she is a standard of reference for explanation for the necessity of stereotype. They are very concerned about what they feel is the pres sure on them to meet standards of reference for beauty and ideals of body perfection. They are especially aware of how these standards, these ideals of perfect appearance are encoded in heroic representations like Lara Croft. In the paradigm of print th e dynamics at play around the technology of that medium work toward an efficiency and simplification of design to ease the mechanics and improve the accuracy of reproduction. As I said earlier in this essay, the emphasis for narrative artists in print is on creating characters that will make a quick and clear impression. In the act of reading the graphic narrative, the reader will experience increased virtuality if the creator has adequately handled the creation of characters with iconic qualities, balan cing them with more photorealistic characters and apparatus so that they are perceived as part of the environment that can be seen when one is
251 In the paradigm of information interactivity the act of reading can involve the sorts of cha racter relationships we see in comics and other graphic narrative forms. But the technology is not a force pushing toward simplification and ease of impression but rather in the opposite direction, towards elaboration and toward photorealistic detail in th e characters and throughout the environment. Instead of pushing toward the icon, the technology pushes toward an illusion of simulated reality, a simulation. Immersion in the story is created, not by iconic transfer but through interaction in the fictive space. In many comics the reader is invited to wrap around an iconic representation that they can ride through the virtual reality of the narrative. In electronic gaming, the reader is invited to immerse themselves in a character to wrap the character a round themselves and investigate a simulated reality through the shell of the character.
252 Fig. 65. Screenshot from the Sims. Electronic Game. By Electronic Arts 2004 The limitations of processing speed, memory and the manner in which computer drawn polygons can be rendered to simulate the smooth continuums of analog reality currently limit simulated worlds to environments and characters that have character designs that look very similar to the comics. This similarity is a byproduct of designing characters to maximize the creative potential within the rendering power of first, second and third generation gaming engines. Some game designers and artists are beginning to discover that iconic character design provides some welcome narrative advantage s besides better facility at graphics rendering. For example, the simplified and iconic design of Pac Man characters is really quite appropriate for the game play of Pac Man and there is no good reason to significantly
253 alter the characters, in fact signif icantly altering them would not be well received by the players. Three dimensional versions of Pac Man are now commonly played, but in creating the worlds of 3 D Pac Man, designers have not tried to replace the iconic world of Pac Man with a photo realist ic world. Some game designers are learning that using iconic characters in photorealistic worlds has something of the same effect as reading manga. Readers enter the narrative through the iconic character and explore the virtual world of the story as the y explore normal space because there are such interesting places to visit. Entering 3 D space through the icon can make the gamer feel even more present in the action and the narrative. Increasingly gamemakers understand that Cartesian coordinate space i s just a set of visual and narrative conventions, appropriate for some types of storytelling but not the only convention that can contain interactive electronic storytelling and sometimes not the best choice. Not all narratives, worlds or characters shoul d aspire to the condition of photorealism and over time we may discover that not many truly satisfying gaming or virtual reality experiences will aspire to that condition. In the world of gaming like the worlds of comics, will we want to see ourselves as we see ourselves, in various iconic guises, or will we want to see ourselves as others see us? The other question is how As narrative evolves into various modes of interactivity and virtual reality, will our fantasies be b etter realized by interaction with individuals or stereotypes? Games have an unfortunate proclivity towards stereotypical
254 representation because the violence that is so ubiquitous in electronic gaming seems more acceptable when the virtual victims of simu lated violent acts are represented as a stereotypes. The more stereotypically represented are the subjects of our fantasies, either in consciously constructed narratives or the narratives that we superimpose on reality the easier it is to objectify them This objectification is almost a necessary concomitant to doing violence to them. The more violent we want our fantasies, the more the characters must be stereotyped and objectified. The e try to construct them as stereotypes. In this fashion, the use of s tereotypes abet s violence. Fig. 66. Screenshot from Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. Electronic game. Rockstar Games, 2005
255 My students are very uncertain when I ask them about ster eotypes in Grand Theft Auto. They believe they recognize the characters in the narrative. Representations are generally inclusive and are rendered with the same level of caricature. Central characters are equally realized and real observation of historic al period (the early 1990s) has gone into the apparel, language and attitudes of the characters as well as the apparatus of the environment. My students think of these characters as observed. What is less apparent to them is how the selection of characte rs flows from and reinforces stereotypes in the culture, and how we learn how to represent Because it is largely a narrative of violence, Grand Theft Auto must have a significant level of stereotyping of characters, situation and storylines. Such levels of violence are entertaining because the incidents of violence are perpetrated by stereotypes on stereotypes. This type of narrative is socially reassuring because when the player is real the illusion is that such stereotypes. Stories in the Grand Theft Auto series are notable for the way they advance the idea of virtual space as a central story element. The exploration of space i s such an important element that it substitutes in these narratives for the exploration of character. The creators of these games are making narratives of survival in which the player chooses a path through webs of
256 characters who are either to be used or f eared. Relationships in this virtual world are temporary alliances of convenience impatient for the conditions of betrayal. It will be interesting to see if the writers of the next generation of virtual realities learn from the history of the comics. It is not just a question corrupting in itself. One of the features of this corruption is how the use of stereotypes teaches the audience to read the narrative of their own reality in stereotypical terms. The antidote to the problems of stereotype in electronic gaming narrative may be the increasing development of the interactive elements of gaming. The more interactive a character becomes the more individualized and visa versa. Advan cements in the artificial intelligence of game characters are creating the conditions for more satisfying interaction in gameplay especially in respect to the deepening possibilities of interaction and even intimacy with simulated characters. In the stor y d the assaults that Crumb stage manages on the person of Cheryl Borck are assaults on her as Devil Girl, sex object and archetype objectifying mind for which the objects of des ire and the objects of beauty are useable phenomena outside any relation to the self, save as tools for the will to power. In his story Crumb replumbs Cheryl Borck into the ultimate object of desire, suppressing the most individual and interactive aspect s of
257 her character, her face and head, in favor of the most fetishistic parts of her character, her body. cyborg the old fashioned analog way, with a length of pipe and a strap gasket Reshaped by a few tools and male ingenuity, Devil Girl is a natural machine constructed to deliver sexual pleasure. This is the final refinement of male representation of female, that she is the vehicle for male pleasure and Crumb has his characters rid e around on various parts of her. The idea retained by suppressing those parts of her that are in conflict with this anti platonic ideal. The point of this allegory is that even the most extreme examples of shaping reality to fit the objectifying demands of desire does not prove to be sufficient to the needs of human males. The objectifying aspect of male sexuality pulls strongly in one direction but the forces of socialization and the need for intimacy pull another. In representational terms while our will to power wants to embrace stereotype, our need for intimacy requires individualization.
258 Fig. 67. Intimacy in The Sims Screen shot from T he Sims Intimacy requires specif icity and individuality. One cannot be intimate with a stereotype One, however, can be intimate with a simulation. Certain forms of electronic gaming such as first person shooters or platform games will most likely continue to be peopled by stereotypes. Just as many forms of popular genre fiction in print media, tv and film. Stereotypical characters and formula plots retain their appeal even after some 200 years of audience exposure. At least Lara Croft now expresses regret when she blows away an animal by mistake, instead of one of her virtual human antagonists. Most forms of virtual reality narrative will inevitably lean toward characters and settings with more detail and specificity as the technology of
259 digital representation improves. What will re ally drive greater specificity and individuality in character representation and design in electronic gaming will More virtual interactivity seems to require more individuality of representation beca use the more individual and specific the characters, the more one can uncover and know about the others within the context of the game. The essence of interaction, and the pleasures of virtuality, are in coming to know more about someone, something, or yo urself. In virtual reality narrative we scout around environment, observe apparatus, communicate interactively with others who occupy the same virtual space. The information we get is multi modal, made up of what we see, what we hear, and what we read. T he more information there is available to us, the more there is that can be revealed and understood. The central action in virtual reality is uncovering. The more there is to uncover the more the central action is made manifest. The biologist and post from an organic, industrial society to a polymorphous, information system of this shift in a series of dichotomies: Representation Simulation Bourgeois novel, realism Science fiction, postmodernism Organism Biotic Component Depth, integrity Surface, boundary Heat Noise
260 Biology as clinical practice Biology as inscription P hysiology Communications engineering Small group Subsystem Perfection Optimization Eugenics Population Control Decadence, Magic Mountain Obsolescence, Future Shock Hygiene Stress Management Microbiology, tuberculosis Immunology, AIDS Organic divisio n of labour Ergonomics/cybernetics of labour Functional specialization Modular construction Reproduction Replication Organic sex role specialization Optimal genetic strategies Bioogical determinism Evolutionary inertia, constraints Community ecology E cosystem Racial chain of being Neo imperialism, United Nations humanism Scientific management in home/factory Global factory/Electronid cottage Family/Market/Factory Women in the Integrated Circuit Family wage Comparable worth Public/Private Cyborg ci tizenship Nature/Culture fields of difference Co operation Communicatins enhancemenet Freud Lacan Sex Genetic engineering labour Robotics Mind Artificial Intelligence Second World War Star Wars White Capitalist Patriarchy Informatics of Domination Leading the list of those dichotomies is the proposed opposition of we are all organism; in short, cyborgs
261 For Ha The cyborg is a condensed image of both imagination and material reality, the two joined centres structuring any possibili ty of believes the hegemony of representation wil l be surrounded by new structures of social reality imagineered by experiences of simulation. the traditions of 'Western' science and politics -the tradition of racist, male dominant capitali sm; the tradition of progress; the tradition of the appropriation of nature as resource for the productions of culture; the tradition of reproduction of the self from the reflections of the other Simulation is, by definition, made up of alternatives tha t branch and recurve. The concept of representation is to represent, in some way, social reality. Simulation is about pursuing alternatives to existence proscribed by social reality. Representation itself is caught up in the dialogics of self and other. If we are to truly consider how to build character, world, environment and the pleasures of reality/virtuality we should consider character design that is founded not on the principles of representation but on the concepts of simulation. Simulation is u ltimately built out of interconnectivity. Representation places others at a specific distance, nearer or farther depending on the mechanics of the representation and the quality of the icon. The icon is the entry into the virtuality of the two dimensiona l world of the printed graphic
262 narrative. Character simulation is a outgrowth of three dimensional media and many of the techniques of character simulation may be/may be already backloaded into two dimensional narrative. One of those backloads may be th e transcendence of simulated characters over stereotypes. Ethics, effectiveness, reputation and empathy are all compromised when artists resort to stereotypes. Audience is narrowed and distanced. Any sense of fairness or equality within the narrative is disturbed. The promise of simulation and virtual reality is to enable the transfer of dreams. Will we all be able to place ourselves fairly within those dreams? Will the dreamspace of virtual reality be a place of empathy or one of violent unconcern? Narr ative choices will shape that space.
263 Summary Conclusion The purpose of this paper has been to demonstrate the importance of the graphic narrative as a genre through which we can connect traditional literary study with the study of complex multi modal narra tive s I attempt ed in this discuss ion to connect the study of the graphic narrative to the study of narrative in emerging technologies like electronic gaming and virtual reality. ity are key elements to consider when reading multi modal narratives, including graphic narratives By c onsidering how these elements are realized in various types of graphic narratives I have hoped to elucidate how discourse around these elements can highlight issues common to the act of reading across the technological continuu m of storytelling My exposition beg an by looking at elements of multimodal narrative After locating as a protot ype of the graphic narrative and Hogarth as a prototype of the graphic narrator, I have tried to develop the ways in which virtuality manifests i n this narrative in a similar fashion to the ways it often manifests in narratives for electronic gaming. I ha ve attempted to take terms and tools
264 from the developing discourse around stories being told in gaming and early virtual reality technologies and apply those tools to the investigation of similar narrative phenomena within graphic narratives. My discussio n of points to the way the reader assembles the elements of the narrative from an exploration of each panel as if the panel w as a room in the story space filled with clues through which the reader infer s the story. I note d mode of representation is rooted in observation and how his representative choices evoke in iconic fashion the specific time and space of the London of his lifetime. I have m of a progress is a social fiction in iconic style a style that emphasizes metonymic as opposed to metaphorical devices. This reliance on metonymic devices helps Hogarth implement a narrative strategy that emphasizes showing the reader the story rather than telling it to them. inherent strategy of stories expressed in electronic gaming and other interactive and virtual reality media. My discussion of Hogarth as a prototype of a graphic narrator, a prototype shared by su ch graphic narrators as Winsor McCay, Carl Barks, and Will Eisner, focuse d on how graphic narrators of this type in particular, as a result of their interests in business and technology recognize that advances in technology require new paradigm s of narrati ve practice The central problem all these narrators are working on is how the storyteller can overcome the barrier of not being in the presence of the audience when the
265 story is being related. This problem can be addressed only by making the presence of the storyteller more virtual, by making the audience more virtually present within the world and events of the story, or by both. Thus the continuum of absence to presence as a measure of our relationship to the experience of the story, and as a measure a pplied to elements of virtuality in the relating of the story are inherent in mediated narrative. I n Chapter Two, I provide d some context for the reading of graphic narratives in general in this exposition Ideas intr oduced in Chapter Two are more fully developed in Chapter Three where I used the essay Illustration by J. Hillis Miller to leverage discussion of the relationship between text and illustration, or more essentially word and image, as expressed in the last t wo hundred years of literary discourse. My discussion recalls various ways that historically, word and picture have been p ut into opposition and how this oppositional arrangement has made it especially difficult for works that combine word and image to be considered on a par with works that eschew one for the other. T his oppositional positioning of word and image seems exacerbated by the increasing anxiety expressed by those who are still largely centered within the paradigm of print. In Post Modern and P ost Structuralist contexts there is a tendency to highlight the oppositional elements in any binary. This seems inevitable in discourse that assumes that any oppositional pairing manifests hierarchy and that one term will always be privileged over
266 the oth er. I have tried to make the case that in word and image relationships within the graphic narrative there are tensions and dynamics that do reflect this oppositional model; however, in the graphic narrative word and image are married, the y work together in their expression of the story. Any descriptive model of relationships between word and image within the graphic narrative needs to account for the sometimes ambiguous and contradictory dynamics of this marriage The relationship between word and image in any graphic narrative can certainly be examined with an eye toward how power in the relationship is distributed and which pa rtner is privileged or dominant. B ut this relationship, like any marriage, also needs its cooperative and interpenetrative arrangements d escribed in order to complete the whole picture The genre of the graphic narrative seems to require models that are more continuous than binary and oppositional While these continuities might flow between poles such as word and image, absence or presence, and realistic or abstract, our descriptions need to reflect fields of continuities, with descriptive values that are dynamic instead of static. I have tried to imply that it is the multimodal aspect of the graphic narrative that inherent ly balances the narrative between the poles of its constituent components ( word and image ) This aspect requires continuous rather than binary descriptors and exposes the limits of the critique of privilege and opposition Such critiques tend to miss the more complex pattern of
267 arrangements around power and networks of cooperation that define, in a continuous fashion, interdependent and interactive relationships. As I conclude near the end of Chapter Two, t he development of the graphic narrative is the inevit able outcome of the efficiencies brought to storytelling by improvements in the technology of printing. Similar developments of the narrative have been recently set in motion by improvements to the technology of multi modal, multi media storytelling. The se developments have been prompting the application of critical descriptors that are based on continuities rather than on oppositions In Chapter Three I looked more extensively at what constitutes virtuality In introducing this subject I hypothesized that future discussion of the act of reading the comics and other forms of the graphic narrative will have to take into account the descriptive phenomenology being advanced by recent studies of how the mind perceives and assembles interior simulations of imagined events from multimodal sources. As yet I have found no organized experiments in recording and analyzing functional images of the perception of comics or other narratives of j uxtaposed images or image/word combinations. Eventually data from such experiments can be expected to replace the conjectures that currently inform our phenomenological descriptions of the act of reading providing us with more specific information as to how the brain simulates when constructing
268 imaginative experience through narrative Such information is really essential to accurately understand how icon and virtuality function in various types of stories. This emphasis on virtuality and the use of the term in relation to reading I traced to Wolfgang Iser and the foundations of reader response theory. For Iser virtuality is the way the reader imaginatively reconstructs the text as an experienced phenomenon From a discussion of virtuality in Iser I mov ed to a discussion of i llustration a s seen by J. Hillis Miller, whose work shares some of the same phenomenological underpinnings as Iser In my discussion of Miller I brought to the surface the charge, prominently expressed by Mallarm that i l lustration is toxic to the evocative power of words. I have tried to answer this charge against i llustration by a Une Semaine de Bonte in which the evocative aspects of the narrative are cent ered in the images and in such an evocati ve and associative fashion as to rival the effects of poetry. I used formal elements of visual narrative elements like juxtaposition, deliberate sequencing and the display of ima g es within certain containers, can create the most sophisticated of narratives even from found images. of langu age and imagery into imaginative recreation of experiences that the reader has never had and in which the experience is
269 projected at the perceiver with the expectation that the sensory system will translate the projected illusion as if the experience w ere actual. The emphasis is still on simulation but on simulation external to the sensory system of the perceiver, not within it. I see the graphic narrative as one of the first genres to explore a multisensory approach to narrative an approach that organizes both internal and external techniques of imaginative simulation This exploration is documented by an examination of Little Nemo by Winsor McCay. high art, elite market surrealism simulates the juxtapo sition of symbol and memory and recreates the interior media surrealism recreates the exterior landscape of the dream and the unpredictable high adventure of dreaming. These two examples show something of the continuum of virtuality within the trad ition of the graphic narrative; e ach emphasizes one of that comes from evocation of the resources within, a form of virtuality like that Little Nemo emphasizes the possibilities of imagery to wrap the reader in a projected virtualization. This part of the discussion concludes with the observation that Little Nem o is a progenitor of what will likely become an e nlarging body of works that are far more about setting and the exploration of created environments than about plot or character. T he focus of the graphic narrative need not be either character nor action, but can be simply the milieu of the narrative as a n imaginative space a space through which the reader navigates often through an iconic
270 avatar, sometimes with little more object than having the adventure of exploring that space. This exploration of virtuality in Ernst and McCay shows i s an important emerging thread of literary discourse that can be drawn through time, space, culture and medium, a thread that spins from After looking at the continuum of ways virtuality is constructed in the graphic nar rative in Chapter Three, in Chapter Four I chose to discuss the ways icon functions within a range of graphic narratives. I advanced the view that one of the significant differences between graphic narrative and traditional monomodal textual narrative is the emphasis within the techniques of graphic narration on devices of metonymy, especially the icon. I tried to take note of the way that this can be a little disconcerting to readers who may be more conditioned to devices of metaphor and may be somewhat disoriented within the metonymous technique of the graphic narrative. I clearly see icons as metonymies at the very least in their initial formulation. I t must be said however, that many icons can initiate such complex chains of association that they slide toward the condition of metaphor One of the most important conjecture s about the way icon functions is developed by Scott McCloud in his well known and influential discussion of icon Understanding Comics I accept this conjecture and use it as a basis for discussing icon and the way iconic devices and style place
271 the reader within the virtuality of the story. This relationship is constructed along the continuum of absence/ presence. conjecture is that it implies an entire theory of iconic fiction in which the more iconically the central characters are drawn, the more the audience can be expected to inhabit the characters, to be present in the narrative. On the other hand, if the author represents his or her charact represents the characters with a plethora of fine detail, the more the reader can be expected to remain outside the story, an observer of the narrative. I used this nascent theory of fiction in looking at the way icon is Breakfast of Champions which I read as a graphic narrative. My reading of the novel focuses on the way that the images are incorporated into the novel and, in a real sense, define its style. The images in the novel are actually only illustrations in the broadest sense and function as icons that overlay and I argued that the iconic style of this work had direct connections with the ascend ancy of Pop Art and its fascination with the icon and especially the iconic quality of the comics. My primary interest in discussing Breakfast of Champions was to examine how icon and virtuality functioned within a graphic narrative that was comprised mos tly of words and in which words and images were arranged in a fashion most like a typical text ual novel.
272 One of the by products of this examination is a distinction between imagery that is employed iconically and to further the showing/telling of the narra tive and imagery that is deployed as traditional illustration which amplifies elements of the text in visual fashion but does not contribut e to the showing/telling of the story itself. In the second part of Chapter Four I developed readings of three conte mporary long form graphic narratives Blankets is a masterpiece of comics in which all the imagery is devoted to advancing the narrative ; little is duplicated between what is told or implied by the words and what is shown or implied by the images. novel is a representation of memory. What is remembered in his novel is holographically transferred; the sense impressions that interpenetrate and even index the past are analogized and coded into a graphic narrative. As audience we are transported into not only the matter of memory but the shape of recollection. What is subject is not only what is being remembered but how it is remembered and how the deepest felt matters of the heart are interwoven with whatever we imagine we remember. The result is not a Proustian tale accompanied by illustrations, but an illustration of the Proustian mind. Blankets with its literary provenance provides tangible evidence that there is a continuum along which text and illustration can be described in a relationship that constructs a novel. To place them in opposition would be like pitting plot against character. One can be descriptive about the amount
273 any work might favor words or pictures or the balance of the two in its construction and/ or one can describe the interactions between word and image in the structure of any particular work. These are the descriptive maneuvers with which I approach readings Diary of a Teenag e Girl and Posy Simmond s Gemma Bovery Gloeckner organizes her illustrated novel to develop virtuality at three levels of the narrative the words, the illustrations, and the comics. Gloeckner uses the portion of her story written in comics as a means of dropping into the third person; the voice of the narrator is a voice speaking in comics. Moving so readily among these three major modes of narrative discourse, Gloeckner is able to produce a reading experience that gives great verisimilitude to the reade world. Alternating among these modes she is able to modulate the virtuality of the story creating sophisticated levels of absence and presence for the reader. Diary of a Teenage Girl is a prototype of the varied virtua lities that can be tapped by the illustrated novel. Posy Simmonds similarly stitches traditional textual narration together with book illustration and comics in her illustrated novel, Gemma Bovery In this work the maker of the comics is the stylist of th e story adjusting the illustrative elements in a fashion that often indicates her judg strong in this work : through the diverse inventions of her drawing and her devices of visua l commun ication she never let s us escape the
274 consciousness that we are reading a graphic narrative. Of the three stories considered this is the only one that was written for serial publication and its weekly appearance seems to have encourage d the creator to ex periment with a number of illustrative effects that add to the virtuality of the story or that embellish the story with metaphors or even allegories. Gemma Bovery is a prototype of the illustrated novel because it uses so many illustrative strategies and devices to show and tell its story. The novel contains both traditional types of illustrations as well as passages in comics and these, together with the written word, are braided quite tightly together on most pages of the narrative to form a very dense music with many overtones that decorate its captivating storyline. The novels of Gloeckner, Vonnegut and Simmonds all show ways in which illustration can be artfully integrated with texts in novelistic fashion and for novelistic effect When the story is to be advanced by both the words and images, some close approximation to what we call comics is the form such narrative passages most efficiently take. At the center of the continuum between the novel of words and the novel of images is the novel in the f orm of the comics. Comics as a mode of discourse has found itself highly adaptable to the form of the novel in various ways. Sometimes comics will be used to relate the entire novel, at other times, only passages. There are also forms of graphic novelis tic discourse, like those used by Vonnegut, that suggest the comics without becoming them. In all these forms of graphic narrative we have seen how icon, representation and
275 virtuality function within the various continuums of word and image ( text and ill ustration ) to shape the experience of reading the work. It was impossible to write an exegesis on all the issues regarding representation as manifested in the graphic narrative in this context there are far too many issues Instead, i n Chapter Five I co nstructed a treatise to explore one of the most important issues of representation in the critique of the graphic narrative and that is the use of stereotypes. My d iscussion specifically addressed a proposition put forth by Will Eisner in his work of prac tical criticism, Graphic Storytelling In that proposition Eisner outlined his belief that effective and efficient graphic storytelling is dependent on the use of stereotypes. to co narrator in the manner of Hogarth, rooted in middle class values and shaped by his experience and instincts as a business man. I pointed out the ambiguities in regard to this issue in examples of as well as the conflation in his characters. I noted that t he efforts of graphic narrators between Hogarth and Eisner were attuned to the efforts of distillation, of finding reproducible images that could embody, at a glance, a set of characteristics that would be
2 76 instantly recognizable and easily placed within the virtual narrative of the reader. The paradigm of print favor s simple schemata that are the easie st to reproduce. Artists within the paradigm of print quite naturally flow with the grain of the medium toward the most essential aspects of representation, the most telling of details. Inevitably the techniques of pri nt favor the speed of impression, both the impression made by the plate to the paper and the impression assembled by the reader from the words and images on the page. Against this background, the use of stereotypical representation can seem reasonable and even necessary. There have been many analyses put in motion about the social effects of stereotypes and the psychological effects on individuals as they measure themselves against these stereotypical standards of beauty. There are fewer efforts to confro nt stereotype directly within the theory of graphic narrative. We can understand that stereotyping people is probably not a good thing, but we can find it hard to imagine that the comics can work without resorting to stereotype in some way. Many of us ca n fall victim to the often expressed opinion that there must be some truth to a stereotype, or otherwise why would it be a stereotype. To test the assumption that there must be some truth behind stereotypes I made use of the anthology of images collected a nd glossed by Fredrik Strmberg in his Black Images in the Comics: A Visual History An examination of Strmberg stereotypes are not based on observation. Stereotypes are not iconic
277 because they are not met onymous, they have no inherent observable relationship with what they purport to represent. Icons are metonymies graphic narrators to create non stereotypical representations of bl ack people Stereotypical representations of Black people are not the embodiment of any pattern recognition. Stereotypes are exaggerated and, often, demeaning models of humans with which we try t o insist that reality comply. It is not unusual for people to see validation for stereotypes in their observations of others because, in large part, what to observe and how to interpret what is observe d has been coded in advance by the stereotype. This i s the reason I conclude that the history of stereotypical representations of Black people in the comics tells us nothing about Black people. The history of stereotypical representations of Black people does tell us some things about White people. The use of stereotypical imagery does not seem to materially aid the graphic narrator in establishing or developing character. Any development of a stereotypical character works against the character s stereotypicality. One suspects that s tereotypical representa tions are not really present in a narrative to enhance the readability of the narrative or to develop the characters; they are actually present to reassure the reader of the safety of their opinions and prejudices, whether this is known by the author or no t
278 It is true that our consciousness of stereotype has evolved in such a way as to now allow for stereotypes to be deployed ironically if not always sensitively. Such a case may be the way very racist and sexist imagery shows up in the work of Robert Crum b. Crumb brutally exaggerates his stereotypes Crumb wants to reveal the cruelty in these images and rub our noses in what they mean about our collective culture. Nonetheless, even in the use of stereotype, particu larly demeaning stereotypes, has a corrosive effect on the lasting perception of a representation, no matter how nuanced or artfully expressed. The essence of the problem of stereotype in graphic narrative involves the way in which the virtuality of the e xperience is interrupted by the stereotype instead of encouraged. Black stereotypes cannot convey African American readers through the story because the manner of their representation is completely exterior to African Americans, the image exists to contro l, to contain, to reduce, to limit, repress and restrain. The stereotype is not configured to be inclu sive I contrasted with his r epresentation of women and I speculated that Crumb s representation of women, by virtu e of their basis in observation and rendering as archetypes had more potential to be inclusive of female readers. Both of these examples in Crumb besides clarifying question s about stereotype and representation, show the linkage among stereotype, icon and virtuality.
279 The treatise finishes with an analysis of approaches to representation that avoid stereotypical treatment but that are both inclusive and sufficiently flexible to be expressed through caricature. I tried to ap ply this analysis and these approaches from these studies in graphic narrative to issues of representation within electronic gaming narrative. Among my conclusions on the subject is that e thics, effectiveness, reputation and empathy are all compromised when artists resort to stereotypes. Audience is narrowed and distanced. Any sense of fairness or equality within the narrative is disturbed. These issues should be of great concern to gaming narrators who can learn from the history of stereotyp i cal representation in the graphic narrative. I ity are three important elements to consider when reading multi modal narratives, including graphic narratives In t his dissertation I have tried to show how consideration of these elements can enrich readings of individual narratives. Through ex tended discussions of each of the three terms I have explored how they can be applied to the study of literary topics generally and how they interact with one another to form some of the core experience of stories related in multimodal form.
280 Works Cited Andelman, Bob. Will Eisner: A Spirited Life. Milwaukie, OR: M Press, 2005. Anderson, Ho Che. King: Vols. I 3. Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2001 2003. Bechdel, A 15, 2006. Online. Powells.com http://www.powells.com/interviews/bechdel.html Bengal, Rebecca. E mail Interview with Phoebe Gl oeckner. P.O.V. online. www.pbs.org Bloomer, Carolyn M.. Skin Color, Ethnicity, and the Graphic Infrastructure of Mass Media Imagery Presentation for the Southeastern College Art Conference, University of Louisville, Oc t. 19 21, 2000. Canemaker, John. Winsor McCay his Life and Art. New York: Abrams, 1987. Crumb Dir. Terry Zwigoff. Documentary. Sony Pictures, 1998. Crumb, Robert. The Book of Mr. Natural Seattle: Fantagraphics, 1995. Cruse, Howard. Stuck Rubber Baby Intro. Tony Kushner. New York: Paradox, 1995. Dierick, Charles & Pascal Lefvre. Forging a New Medium: The Comic Strip in the Nineteenth Century Brussels: VUB University Press, 2000.
281 Derrida, Jacques. Dissemination Trans. Barbara Johnson. Ch icago: U of Chicago Press, 1981 Eisner, Will. Graphic Storytelling Tamarac, FL: Poorhouse Press, 1995. Ernst, Max. Une Semaine de Bonte : A Surrealist Novel in Collage New York: Dover, 1976. Gloeckner, Phoebe. Diary of a Teenage Girl Berkeley: Frog Ltd ., 2002. Haraway, Donna "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the Late Twenti eth Century. Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature New York; Routledge, 1991 Hatfield, Charles. Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature Jackson, Miss.: University Press of Mississippi, 2005. Hatfield, Charles. Interview with Craig Thompson Comics Journal. June 15, 2005. Online. www.tcj.com Holman, Hugh. A Handbook to Literature, Third Ed ition Indianapolis: Bobbs Merrill, 1972. Holtzman, Stephen. Digital Mosaics: The Aesthetics of Cyberspace New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997. Iser, Wolfgang. The Implied Reader Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1975. http://www.thehighhat.com/Marginalia/003/blankets.html Laurence, Alexander. Interview w/ Mary Gaitskill. The Write Stuff: Interviews 1994. Online. http://www.altx.com/int2/mary.gaitskill.html
282 Miller, J. Hillis. Illustration Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 1992. McCay, Winsor. Little Nemo i n Slumberland: So Many Splendid Sundays Ed. Peter Maresca. Palo Alto: Sunday Press Books, 2005. Oversize: 16 x 21, Handbound. McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. New York: HarperCollins, 1994. McLuhan, Marshall. The Gutenberg Galax y: The Making of Typographic Man Toronto: U. of Toronto Press, 1962. --. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man 1964. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003. Paulson, Ronald. Hogarth Vol. I II. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers, 1992. Rowlandson, Thomas. Dr. Syn taxs Three Tours London: Chatto and Windus, c.1820. http://www.bugpowder.com/andy/e.row.syntax1.html Sabin, Roger. Comics, Comix & Graphic Novels: A History of Comic Art London: Phaidon 1996. Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood New York : Pantheon, 2003. Seaman, Patricia. New Motor Queen City 1998. Available online: http://www.chbooks.com/onl ine/new_motor_queen_city/1.html Shesgreen, Sean, ed. Engravings by Hogarth New York: Dover, 1973. Simmonds, Posy. Gemma Bovery New York: Pantheon, 1999.
283 Spies, Werner. Max Ernst Collages: The Invention of the Surrealist Universe (trans. Gabriel) New York: Abrams, 1988. Spiegelman, Art. The Complete Maus New York: Pantheon, 1996. Strmberg, Fredrik. Foreward by Charles Johnson. Black Images In the Comics: A Visual History Seattle : Fantagraphics, 2003. Sunrise Earth Discovery HD Network. Dail y, 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. Thompson, Craig. Blankets: An Illustrated Novel Marietta, GA. : Top Shelf, 2003. --. Goodbye Chunky Rice. 4 th Ed. Marietta, GA: Top Shelf, 2003 Totillo, Stephen. Lara Croft Trades Bust for Brains: Regrets Killing Animals MTV News. Online. March 3, 2006. http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1525303/20060302/index.jht ml?headlines=true Vonnegut, Kurt, Jr.. Breakfast of Champions or Goodbye Blue Monday: A Novel New York: Dell, 1973. Waldman, Diane. Roy Lichtenstein New York: Guggenheim, 1993. Ware, Chris. Jimmy Corrigan The Smartest Kid on Earth. New York : Pantheon, 2000. Watt, Ian. The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Rich ardson and Fielding Berke l e y: U. of California, 2001. Yoon, Hyo Woon, Cho Kyung of Reading Korean Words and Recognizing Pictures by Korean Native Speakers: A Funcitonal Magnetic Resonance Imaging
284 The Int ernational Journal of Neuroscience 115 (2005) 757 768. --, Chung Jun Yung, Kyung Hwan Kim, Song Myung Sung and Hyun Wook Neuroscience Letters 392:1 2 (2006) 90 95.
285 Illustrations Andelman, Bob. Will Eisner: A Spirited Life. Milwaukie, OR: M Press, 2005. Anderson, Eddie. Publicity photograph w/ Lena Horne. Moderntimes.com. July 21, 2006. Anoulin, Udi. Fan art of Lara Croft The Croft Times. www.ctimes.net Bloomer, Carolyn M.. Skin Color, Ethnicity, and the Graphic Infrastructure of Mass Media Imagery Presentation for the Southeastern College Art Conference, University of Louisville, Oct. 19 21, 2000. Campell Giant Eagle and Service. April 14, 2004. Crumb, Robert. The Book of Mr. Natural. Seattle: Fantagraphics, 1995. Cruse, Howard. Stuck Rubber Baby Intro. Tony Kushner. New York: Paradox, 1995. Eisner, Will. Graphic Storytelling Tamarac, FL: Poorhouse Press, 1995. Ernst, Max. The 100 Headed Woman Art of the 20 th Century. Online. http://www.nelepets. com --. Une Semaine de Bonte : A Surrealist Novel in Collage New York: Dover, 1976.
286 GrandPr Mary. Image of Harry Potter. Scholastic.com, Sept. 3, 2006. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Screenshot. Electronic Game. Rockstar Games, 2005. --. Ha rry Potter Logo. 1998. http://nascarulz.tripod.com/1apotter.html Sept. 3, 2006. --. Chapter Illustrations for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix By J.K. Rowling. New York: Schola stic Deluxe Edition, 2003. Gloeckner, Phoebe. Diary of a Teenage Girl Berkeley: Frog Ltd., 2002. Hogarth, William. 1732. Engravings by Hogarth. By Sean Shesgreen. New York: Dover, 1973. Illustrations 18 23. Lichtenstein, Roy. Look Mickey Roy Lichtenstein. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. 1961. --. Takka Takka. Museum Ludwig, Cologne, 1962. Rpd. In Lawrence Alloway. Modern Masters Series: Roy Lichtenstein New York: Abbeville, 1983. 29. McCay, Winsor. Lit tle Nemo in Slumberland 1905 1911. The Complete Little Nemo in Slumberland Vol. I II Ed. Richard Marschall. Abington, PA: Slumberland Books, 1989. Moreland, Mantan. Publicity photograph w/ Keye Luke. Humorous Horrorwood Webzine http://www.horror wood.com/mantan.htm Murakami, Takashi. KaiKaiKiki News 2001. BBC Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/collective/A875171 Oct. 7, 2006.
287 Simmonds, Posy. Gemma Bovery New York: Pantheon, 1999. Spiegelman, Art. The Complete Maus New York: Pantheon, 1996. Strmberg, Fredrik. Foreward by Charles Johnson. Black Images In the Comics: A Visual History Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2003. The Sims Screenshot. Electronic Game. Electronic Arts, 2004. Soglow, Otto. The Little King. 1939. lambiek.net. Oct. 7, 2006. Warhol, Andy. Andy Warhol Prints Ebay. July 27, 2003.
288 N otes 1. From email by Neil Cohn to the Comix Scho lars listserv, July 10, 2004 the mid seventies, a psychologist named Eleanor Rosch was able to show experimentally that concepts and categories are not necessarily discrete nor defined explicitly by certain properties. Instead, she showed that people have a "prototype" concept that fulfills the most idyllic properties, while other members of that category fall further away from that radial center. The most common example is the word "bird." The prototype of "bird" conjures a mental image of something like a robin esque animal, as opposed to an ostrich or penguin. For instance, you can't try to define birds as being animals with feathers and that fly, because that would exclude featherless chickens and ostriches/penguins. Those are still members of the "bird" category, though they lie further away from the prototypical ideal of the category. www.emaki.net story supposedly typesetters would p reset lines of type for phrases in common use by the writers the printers printed. Supposedly this type was
289 able to confirm that story as anything but an illustrative tale. 3. Charle Chan movies are perhaps one of the most ready examples where one can see actors struggling to work with astoundingly insensitive ethnic stereotypes O ften even the white anglo european actors playing the title role have to struggle mightily against the confining stereotypical definition of the asian lead character 4. This is very close to the same male represented by Woody Allen in many of his films, especially the ones in which he plays a leading part. hat new media tend to be containers for the older media that they supplanted (how we use TV to watch old movies, for example), the mediascape tends to be made up of generational strata. This is more visible now that we are laying down new layers in an acc elerated fashion. Certainly older generations pick up on the newest media to some degree (My 85 year old mother owns a computer and uses it to browse and email), but the older media forms remain largely intact to service the generations who grew up with t hem. Consider the future of the newspaper.
290 Appendix A Here is the Eisner illustration that begins Chapter 5 shown with the read.
291 About the Author David Steiling w as born Feb. 12, 1949 in Rapid City, South Dakota. He was raised in Wyoming and attended High School in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He received his B.A. in English from Carleton College in 1971 including a year at the Institut o Meditteraneo de Deya Mallorca He received an M.A. in Creative Writing and English from Boston University in 1974. From 1974 to 1980 he was a Poet in the Schools for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a Poet in Residence for Rural Libraries in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. From 1980 to 1984 he worked as a clown, magician and New Vaudevillian. From 1984 to 1988 he worked as a n editor and journalist. He joined the Ringling School of Art and Design in 1988 and has been a full time instructor and Coordinator of the Literature Progr am since 1990. He has taught a class in the Literature of Comics since 1992.
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Icon, representation and virtuality in reading the graphic narrative
h [electronic resource] /
by David Steiling.
[Tampa, Fla] :
b University of South Florida,
ABSTRACT: "Icon," "representation," and "virtuality," are key elements to consider when reading multi-modal narratives, including graphic narratives. By considering in detail how these elements are realized in various examples, the author shows how the study of the comics can lay groundwork for critical reading across the technological continuum of storytelling.The author looks at how icon, representation, and virtuality interact in a reading of William Hogarth's A Harlot's Progress. He then examines each term in more detail through readings of a variety of graphic narratives including Max Ernst's, Une Semaine de Bonte, Winsor McCay's Little Nemo in Slumberland, Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions, Craig Thompson's Blankets, Phoebe Gloeckner's Diary of a Teenage Girl, and Posy Simmonds's Gemma Bovery. The author distinguishes between two types of virtuality, internal and external, and ties the construction of virtuality to reader response theory.^ ^In exploring issues related to the icon, the author builds on Scott McCloud's conjecture that the iconic character is the means through which the reader inhabits the virtual space of the graphic story. The author advances the proposition that icons are metonymies and that graphic narratives are centered in metonymic, not metaphoric devices. He also undertakes a discussion of how icon operates within the expanding tradition of the "illustrated novel." Throughout the dissertation an attempt is made to express observation and analysis through continuous instead of binary descriptors in order to emphasize the cooperative rather than oppositional arrangements of word and image within the graphic narrative.The dissertation concludes with an extended examination of Will Eisner's contention that the use of stereotype is a necessity in graphic storytelling. Examples from Frederik Strmberg's Black Images in the Comics are used to test this theory and illustrate its consequences.^ ^The treatise finishes with an analysis of approaches to representation that avoid stereotypical treatment, are inclusive but sufficiently flexible to operate through caricature..These observations are applied to issues of characterization and representation in electronic gaming narrative. The author concludes that ethics, effectiveness, reputation and empathy are all compromised when artists resort to stereotypes.
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2006.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic dissertation) in PDF format.
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Mode of access: World Wide Web.
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Adviser: Philip Sipiora, Ph.D.
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.