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W101: Philosophy Through Comics: Introduction

Professor Sam Cowling

The Vision

Panel from The Vision Vol. 1

Panel from The Vision Vol. 1: Little Worse Than a Man 

Fine Arts Librarian

Defining Comics

From Golden Age superhero stories and cartoon strips to contemporary manga and indie comix, the category of comics is a broad and complex one that subsumes a sprawling range of text-image hybrids. Several comics theorists have offered more precise characterizations of comics. Perhaps most notably, Will Eisner describes comics as "sequential art," while Scott McCloud, in Understanding Comics, defines comics as "juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence." In doing so, McCloud holds that a wide range of historical artifacts like the Bayeux Tapestry are rightly counted as comics. Recent work on the aesthetic, philosophical, and linguistic aspects of comics have raised a host of puzzles and challenges for proposed definitions of comics, but, in doing so, they have offered a littany of novel insights into this comparatively young artistic medium.

- Professor Cowling

Reference

Recommended Reading

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