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Comics and Graphic Novels: The Politics of Form

We are currently witnessing a surge in the production of graphic narratives. They combine drawn and often painted panels with the written word to create a narrative form that is inherently interdisciplinary, and in the last twenty years it has been deployed across a number of genres to tackle more issues and contexts than ever before. These range from the journalistic non-fiction of Jean-Pierre Filiu and Harvey Pekar to the travelogues of Guy Delisle and Didier Lefèvre, from the autobiographies of Marjane Satrapi and Katie Green to the crime narratives of Brian Wood and Frank Miller. The network proposed here begins with the premise that the comics form, and its various graphic narrative offshoots, melds different artistic and literary techniques to create new narrative modes that have important cultural, social and political implications. By combining discussions of pre-circulated readings (both primary graphic materials and critical texts) with talks from comics critics academics and presentations from comics artists, this network is designed to facilitate a new interdisciplinary dialogue about a form that demands more comprehensive and ongoing critical analysis.

By Jessica Abel [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons