Comic Books

Authored by: Jason Dittmer

The Ashgate Research Companion to Media Geography

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409444015
eBook ISBN: 9781315613178
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042822


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Comic books are a relatively recent topic within geography; however, their appearance in the literature has quickly sparked an efflorescence of papers, if not approaches (Dittmer 2014). While there are precedents within the geographic literature, such as the study of literature (Hones 2008) and political cartoons (Dodds 1996), this review is self-consciously limited to the world of graphic narrative, whether in “comic book” or “graphic novel” format (“graphic narrative” and “comics”/”comic books” will be used interchangeably through the remainder of this chapter). Graphic narrative can be understood as the juxtaposition of images, usually with text overlaying or within the images, to produce a story (there is an extensive debate about the definition of comics, see Varnum and Gibbons 2001b; Holbo 2011). If comic books are only recently a feature of the geographic literature, it does not hold that they are unimportant, or tacked onto an already full roster of media to be studied. Rather, comics may be understood as the spatial medium par excellence.

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