After reading through the introduction to the book ‘The Art of Comics: A Philosophical Approach’ (2012) by Aaron Meskin and Roy T Clark, I was required to write a short, 200-word statement in response to some of the questions listed below:
- What are comics?
- What make comics art?
- How do comics relate to other art forms?
- How does collaborative creation affect the nature of comics?
- What can we learn about comics from the practice of adaptation?
- How do images and text interact to produce content in comics?
- What different kinds of comics exist? How do these types differ?
Comics could be described as a fusion of visual art and literature, which evolved from the development of printmaking, storytelling and drawing (e.g. caricatures). It is generally accepted that comics are based upon a sequential narrative and include elements such as panels, speech/thought bubbles and movement lines.
Rather than being two separate components, images and text collaborate within comics in the form of captions, speech/thought bubbles and sound effects. Both are of equal importance in the narrative to communicate the intentions to the reader and, rather than one simply being a repetition of the other, combine to enhance the overall reading experience. The text also takes on a more visual nature by the style of lettering, emphasis and placement. It should be noted that some comics (or select panels) use very limited amount of text and communicate almost entirely through the use of expressive images.
Due to the visual nature of comics, they can certainly be related to such art forms as film and animation. However, although these are all considered sequential in nature, comics are unique in that they require the reader to mentally fill in the gaps between the panels, alongside absorbing all of the elements (textual/visual) within the panels and relating these to the ones prior and following, rather than having all of the information presented to them in a continuous moving image.