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Intertwining verbal and visual elements in printed narratives for adults

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In the course of print history only a few successful models of image and word-alliances (e.g., comics, picture books) developed, while other types remained rather marginal. This article tries to argue why such different and experimental works as What a Life! (Lucas and Morrow, 1911), La Prose du Transsibrien et de la petite Jehanne de France/Prose of the Trans-Siberian and of Little Jehanne of France (Cendars and Delaunay, 1913), Dynamik der Gross-Stadt/Dynamics of a Metropolis (Moholy-Nagy, 1925), La Cantatrice Chauve/The Bold Soprano (Ionesco and Massin, 1964), La Toilette/The Cleaning (Charras, Robial and Montellier, 1983) or Narratology (Drucker, 1994) in fact belong to a separate but cohesive body of works. Though individual works of this newly defined group of image and word-narratives may share some characteristics with better known models (as those of comics or picture books for children), as a group they use far more extensively typographic manipulations and special layouts, they experiment more freely with varying styles and they can redesign the object of the book itself. The image and word prototype books created in a workshop at a Flemish art school will serve here as a case study.
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Keywords: artists' books; image and word-narratives; marked typography; novelty books; picture books; print culture

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Media & Design Academy (Genk) & University of Leuven (K.U. Leuven).

Publication date: April 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • Studies in Comics aims to describe the nature of comics, to identify the medium as a distinct art form, and to address the medium's formal properties. The emerging field of comics studies is a model for interdisciplinary research and in this spirit this journal welcomes all approaches. This journal is international in scope and provides an inclusive space in which researchers from all backgrounds can present new thinking on comics to a global audience. The journal will promote the close analysis of the comics page/text using a variety of methodologies. Its specific goal, however, is to expand the relationship between comics and theory and to articulate a "theory of comics". The journal also includes reviews of new comics, criticism, and exhibitions, and a dedicated online space for cutting-edge and emergent creative work.

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