Graphic Novels and Visual Rhetoric

Here’s an article from Scott Eric Kaufman’s website (he’s a Professor of English) on the use of panel transitions in The Walking Dead. I first started reading him on the Lawyers, Guns, and Money blog which covers politics. He’s quite funny there, but his work on visual rhetoric is particularly interesting. At some point this year, he’s supposed to be putting out a book on visual rhetoric, so you may want to watch for that.

Take a look at what he’s doing in the article, but follow the link for more good stuff:

After discussing the wordiness of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, it only makes sense to discuss its visual counterpart, by which I mean pages like this one from the third issue:

Rick is asleep in his tent with his wife and son the first night after being reunited.  From panel one to panel two the only change is a slightly furrowed brow.  While brow-furrowing may not seem significant in and of itself, when combined with what the reader knows about what Rick went through to return to them—having to fight through hoards of zombies to escape Atlanta—the reader can infer, if not the precise content, at least the character of the nightmare that causes Rick’s sleeping brow to furrow.

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One comment on “Graphic Novels and Visual Rhetoric

  1. If you’re interested in the traditions and stylistic standards of comics as visual rhetoric, the best textbook on the subject ever written is [url=http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Comics-Invisible-Scott-Mccloud/dp/006097625X]Understanding Comics[/url] by Scott Mccloud. The best part is that not only is it a chapter-by-chapter treatise on how to read and understand comics, it itself is written as a comic.

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