Comics inherently have a complex relationship with history. Popular conceptions of “history” as a line of cause-and-effect relationships culminating inevitably in the present moment are formally challenged by sequential art, which tends to refuse linear conceptions of time. Specifically, and contradicting the usual locating of history in an inaccessible past, comics as a medium depict past and present simultaneously. As Barbara Postema notes, unlike in film, all the images in comics exist at the same time—time is constructed spatially, as the eye moves from one panel to the next throughout the book, but the images themselves remain, regardless of the reader's attention.1 Readers rarely progress through comics strictly linearly, and the eye is likely to move back and forth both between panels on the page (or, to use Thierry Groensteen's term, within the hyperframe) and between panels that are spread throughout the comic, looking for both narrative and...
Editor's Introduction: Comics and History
Kathleen McClancy is an assistant professor of film and media studies in the English Department at Texas State University. She has published in Film & History, the Journal of Popular Culture, and the Journal of Popular Film and Television, and her essay “Winter Soldiers and Sunshine Patriots: World War II and the Cold War in Captain America” appears in the spring 2018 issue of ImageTexT. She is the primary organizer of the Comics Arts Conference.
Kathleen McClancy; Editor's Introduction: Comics and History. Feminist Media Histories 1 July 2018; 4 (3): 1–11. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2018.4.3.1
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