Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Upcoming Conference on G.N. & Comics

Let me draw your attention to The New Narrative? Comics in Literature, Film, and Art: an interdisciplinary conference University of Toronto 9-11 May 2008. (Conference Poster at this link.) I note that the call for papers describes the conference as taking the academic and sceptical attitude to the claim for literary credibility to G.N., comics, etc.
Comics, whether in the form of novelistic illustrations, newspaper serials, animated films, film adaptations, graphic novels, or sequential art narratives, have been with us since the rise of literature itself, yet until recently such media have never been considered “serious”—or at least, serious enough to be considered novels that might be on university syllabi. However, with the recent rise of the graphic novel and related filmic adaptations, comics—otherwise generically grouped as “comix”—garnering considerable attention, are (yet again) being hailed as the “next big thing.” The (Canadian) publishing industry acknowledges that comix are the largest growth area: is the future now?
But are comix (sic) literature? Are they more than Saturday morning cartoons? Does the study of the genre belong in an art class? Are illustrated novels and live action films really about the pictures and not the narrative? How can the history of the form be reconciled with consumer culture and the ill-defined categories of “high” and “low” culture?

1 comment:

ann ogawa said...

Reading this just made me think, "if a work of literature was rewritten in comic/graphic novel form, is the work no longer literature?". For example, The Tale of Genji has been written in manga form by many different authors, but is the manga now "junk" and not considered literature even if the narrative and dialogue were the same? I am not sure of the answer, but I feel the original text is considered "high" culture (for the educated to read) and the comix form to be "low" culture because it is probably easier to read.

What does everyone else think? If a great work of literature was rewritten in comix form, is it something to be studied in an art class rather than an english class?