In another installment of Neil Cohn's continuing series Comic Theory 101, Cohn puts word balloons, thoughts balloons and panels under the microscope and concludes that they're all essentially the same animal — one that has the function of encapsulating other information.
This month Neil Cohn presents another essay in his series of features on comics as visual language. This article delves into the notion of "what is poetic" in visual language. Poems reflect the language they are written in. If we conceive of comics as a language then there should be particular poetic "forms" that innately reflect comics as visual language. What is Visual Language's answer to English's sonnet? Read on for Cohn's answer.
In his latest exploration of visual language, Neil Cohn sketches in rhyme. Can two comic panels "rhyme"? Can we translate the notion of rhyming into an effective part of the visual language used by comic creators?
How is that your brain can receive two identical signals in the same context yet identify them as two different things? It's not science fiction! Neil Cohn examines the linguistic "Problem of Two" as applied in the context of comics.
One of the most famous theories that Scott McCloud set forth in Understanding Comics was that of "closure." He stated that this was the phenomenon by which people's minds "fill in" what occurs between two comic panels. Now, in other writings of mine, I've argued that any linear panel-to-panel explanation of how people understand sequences of images has multiple problems. However, in this piece, I'd like to take aim at one particular example of McCloud's and use it to illuminate a broader phenomenon that occurs in both visual and verbal expression. Continue Reading
Two new essays on comic theory are posted at Emaki Productions. The first looks at the varying sizes of “visual lexical items” found in the comic medium – exploring things like the role of the panel and multi-panel patterns. The second delves into various techniques like metaphor that are used to create meaning in a series of comic strips put out recently by the Chicago Tribune. Continue Reading
This essay challenges the common classifcation between “sound” and “idea” based writing systems. I argue that all graphic signs lie on a continuum, which begs for reconsidering the conception of their invention, the nature of their relationship to other visual signs, and the universality of the category of “writing” in the first place. Continue Reading
In the first part of this essay, I discussed the ways in which the comic industry is pervaded by aristocratic structures that prohibit a vast diversification and democratization of publishing, content, and production. In this section, I will turn to examine the democratic structures that work against these existing hierarchies.