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The speech balloon is a great philosophical discovery - David Carrier (2000:4)

Like literature, comics are narratives that are read; like paintings, comics are images that are viewed. And so a proper account must do justice to our experience of this unity, words-and-pictures. - David Carrier (2000: Introduction)

Comics in my view are essentially a composite art: when they are successful, they have verbal and visual elements seamlessly combined. - David Carrier (2000:4)

To interpret an art, we need to know its essence, its defining qualities; and with the art of comics, that requires understanding its origin. - David Carrier 2000:1-7)

Animals that talk and express emotions, is . . . well rooted in the Native American humor tradition. - Joan N. Buckley (1984:12). [And talking, expressive animals are features of folklore the world over (TK).].

Certain pictures convey their meaning in a way which makes them similar to words. - Mario Saraceni. (2003:37)

To produce a particular cultural product, traditions of production, of marketing, and of audience work together, Martin Barker tells. (1989:238)

Picasso's always been such a huge influence that I thought when I started the cartoon paintings that I was getting away from Picasso. - Roy Lichtenstein (American pop artist, 1923–97)

The point of view that each individual panel in a comic strip episode is drawn from, is a major aspect of how meaning is conveyed in comics. It contributes to creating various effects, such as closeness, distance, threat, subjectivity, objectivity, and so on - It defines the positions of the characters within the story; it contributes to the identification of the reader with the main character; it helps the reader gain access to the character's emotions and feelings and, sometimes, to their dreams, visions and imaginary thoughts. [T. Kinnes].


The idea of transgression is central to the comic, the limits or boundaries transgressed are always unstable, varying with the locale, region, moment, period, and the social groups involved. - Peter Burke. (1997:62-63)

Ambiguity . . . raises the question of the limits of the permissible. How far could one go, in what direction, with whom, about what, without going too far? . . . Was laughter always an end in itself, or might it be a means to another end? - Peter Burke. (1997:62-63)

Ambiguity also leads to the question of function. Was laughter always an end in itself, or might it be a means to another end? We shall soon see examples of laughter as an instrument of vengeance. Another possibility to be taken seriously is Vladimir Propp's idea of laughter on certain occasions as a kind of ritual.

"The world isn't fair, Calvin."

"I know Dad, but why isn't it ever unfair in my favor?"

[Bill Watterson, The Essential Calvin and Hobbes: A Calvin and Hobbes Treasury]


Cartoons and comics  

Barker, Martin. Comics: Ideology, Power and the Critics. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1989.

Burke, Peter, "Frontiers of the Comic in Early Modern Italy, c.1350-1750". In Jan Bremmer and Herman Roodenburg, eds. A Cultural History of Humour: From Antiquity to the Present Day. Oxford: Polity Press, 1997:62.

Buckley, Joan Nagelstad. "The Humor of han Ola og han Per." In Peter Julius Rosendahl. Han Ola og han Per. A Norwegian-American Comic Strip. En norsk-amerikansk tegneserie, edited by Joan N. Buckley and Einar Haugen. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985, 10-25.

Carrier, David. The Aesthetics of Comics. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania University Press, 2000.

Saraceni, Mario. The Language of Comics. London: Routledge, 2003.

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