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Comics and Narration$
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Thierry Groensteen

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781617037702

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617037702.001.0001

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(p.3) Introduction
Comics and Narration

Thierry Groensteen

University Press of Mississippi

The System of Comics, a French-language book published in 1999 and translated in English in 2007, offers a theoretical explanation of the foundations of the language of comics. It shows how the principle of iconic solidarity can be applied to three major operations: breakdown, page layout, and braiding. It also describes the formal apparatus through which meaning is produced to show how aesthetic and semantic considerations are interwoven. This book follows up on the theoretical propositions put forward in The System of Comics, first by expounding on the basic concepts of iconic solidarity, sequence, and modes of reading comics. It also revisits themes such as regular page layout or the threshold of narrativity while addressing new ones, from children’s books to digital comics, manga, and abstract comics. In addition, the book examines the issue of rhythm and that of narration, as well as the relationship between comics and contemporary art. It cites examples from virtuoso American comics artists like Chris Ware, Art Spiegelman, and David Mazzucchelli.

Keywords:   comics, The System of Comics, iconic solidarity, page layout, manga, rhythm, narration, contemporary art, breakdown, braiding

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