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Comics and LanguageReimagining Critical Discourse on the Form$
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Hannah Miodrag

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781617038044

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617038044.001.0001

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Style, Expressivity, and Impressionistic Evaluation

Style, Expressivity, and Impressionistic Evaluation

(p.197) Chapter Eight Style, Expressivity, and Impressionistic Evaluation
Comics and Language

Hannah Miodrag

University Press of Mississippi

Comics consists of four graphic threads: narrative breakdown, panel composition, page layout, and style. According to Robert C. Harvey, style is the “most illusive” and hardest to account for among these elements, and is difficult to quantify using a linguistic semiotic model based on a decomposable system of units. Moreover, drawing style is extremely qualitative and impressionistic. This chapter examines the aesthetic style of comics by analyzing two texts based on the standard practices of formalist art criticism: Charles Burns’s Black Hole and Hannah Berry’s Britten and Brülightly. It describes what Joshua Taylor calls the “expressive content” of artworks and analyzes the impact of comics’ stylistic elements, such as line and brushwork, light and shadow, texture, mass, order, proportion, balance, pattern, figures, and composition. The chapter offers close readings of pictures in Black Hole and Britten and Brülightly in the context of their particular drawing styles. It also considers the impressionistic responses triggered by particular line styles and discusses how a formal critique of a comics text differs from the sort of works traditionally examined as fine art.

Keywords:   drawing style, aesthetic style, comics, art criticism, Charles Burns, Black Hole, Hannah Berry, Britten and Brülightly, expressive content, fine art

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