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Narrative Structure in Comics: Making Sense of Fragments

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In Narrative Structure in Comics: Making Sense of Fragments, Barbara Postema seeks to explain how comics communicate and create meaning, with an emphasis on two aspects of comics. She first examines the pictorial quality of comics, which receives more emphasis than verbal/textual elements. Her second focus is upon the storytelling and narrative qualities of comics, as well In Narrative Structure in Comics: Making Sense of Fragments, Barbara Postema seeks to explain how comics communicate and create meaning, with an emphasis on two aspects of comics. She first examines the pictorial quality of comics, which receives more emphasis than verbal/textual elements. Her second focus is upon the storytelling and narrative qualities of comics, as well as the literary explorations they provide. The “narrative structure” refers to the potential of images, the story telling capacities of panels, and the sequence of panels, in addition to the more traditional narratological concepts. Overall, the author presents a credible rationale for the way in which comics structure their narratives. At every level of communication, comics rely on gaps or absences to create meaning and guide the reader to a meaningful experience.


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In Narrative Structure in Comics: Making Sense of Fragments, Barbara Postema seeks to explain how comics communicate and create meaning, with an emphasis on two aspects of comics. She first examines the pictorial quality of comics, which receives more emphasis than verbal/textual elements. Her second focus is upon the storytelling and narrative qualities of comics, as well In Narrative Structure in Comics: Making Sense of Fragments, Barbara Postema seeks to explain how comics communicate and create meaning, with an emphasis on two aspects of comics. She first examines the pictorial quality of comics, which receives more emphasis than verbal/textual elements. Her second focus is upon the storytelling and narrative qualities of comics, as well as the literary explorations they provide. The “narrative structure” refers to the potential of images, the story telling capacities of panels, and the sequence of panels, in addition to the more traditional narratological concepts. Overall, the author presents a credible rationale for the way in which comics structure their narratives. At every level of communication, comics rely on gaps or absences to create meaning and guide the reader to a meaningful experience.

59 review for Narrative Structure in Comics: Making Sense of Fragments

  1. 5 out of 5

    Guilherme Smee

    Me decepcionei um tanto com esse livro. Não sei se é porque eu estava esperando muita coisa dele, ou se é porque já li livros demais sobre o assunto e acabou que esse livro me acrescentou pouco às minhas já calejadas leituras. Sempre sublinho os livros teóricos que leio e nesse, a profusão de sublinhadas aconteceu somente no último capítulo, intitulado Mostrar e Contar. Poucas vezes Postema desenvolve uma teoria e um pensamento próprio, quase sempre apoiada em outros teóricos. Mas o que torna a Me decepcionei um tanto com esse livro. Não sei se é porque eu estava esperando muita coisa dele, ou se é porque já li livros demais sobre o assunto e acabou que esse livro me acrescentou pouco às minhas já calejadas leituras. Sempre sublinho os livros teóricos que leio e nesse, a profusão de sublinhadas aconteceu somente no último capítulo, intitulado Mostrar e Contar. Poucas vezes Postema desenvolve uma teoria e um pensamento próprio, quase sempre apoiada em outros teóricos. Mas o que torna a leitura do livro enfadonha é a repetição de análises de sequências de quadrinhos que não levam a nenhuma conclusão e que se demoram demais naquilo que (não querem) dizer. Existem muitos livros sobre a linguagem dos quadrinhos, mas ao invés de trazerem novas perspectivas para o tema, repetem as mesmas coisas que teóricos anteriores já atestaram, sem trazer nem novidades para os pressupostos científicos e nem que acabem incitando novas pesquisas nesse assunto. Assim, eu fico me indagando, com tantas outras obras carecendo de tradução e versões brasileiras sobre a linguagem dos quadrinhos, porque acabam sendo disponibilizadas aquelas que tratam os quadrinhos no seu óbvio mais ululante?!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dominick

    Solid, clear introduction to narrative form in comics. The books works up from the panel through to the comic, with clear explanations and examples (I am especially fond of the recurrent use of Peanuts comic strips). This book would be accessible to anyone not already familiar with comics--it would make a good primer for an intro course on comics--but it is also well informed by theory and thoroughly researched (there are pages and pages of cited sources), and it offers numerous insightful (albe Solid, clear introduction to narrative form in comics. The books works up from the panel through to the comic, with clear explanations and examples (I am especially fond of the recurrent use of Peanuts comic strips). This book would be accessible to anyone not already familiar with comics--it would make a good primer for an intro course on comics--but it is also well informed by theory and thoroughly researched (there are pages and pages of cited sources), and it offers numerous insightful (albeit generally short) close readings of numerous texts. It also covers a good range of "mainstream" and alternative comics. Very useful.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Derek Royal

    Yet another critical work on comics narratology that came out in 2013. This is an accessible and well-researched work, although it's not too long or overly exhaustive. I got the sense reading this one that it might be useful for classroom use, particularly as a primary critical text for a upper-level comics course. I have no idea if the author wrote it with this in mind, but the book's conciseness and introductory approach suggest as much.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ayanna Dozier

    Barbara Postema's Narrative Structure in Comics: Making Sense of Fragments provides a rich and valuable analysis on comic book theory. Her insight on how temporality works in sequential images is particularly of value. More importantly though, Postema's book provides scholars of comic books and comic book theory a much need updated entry and critique of the oft -cited Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. This is not to say that McCloud's work is wrong per se, but rather that the field needs a Barbara Postema's Narrative Structure in Comics: Making Sense of Fragments provides a rich and valuable analysis on comic book theory. Her insight on how temporality works in sequential images is particularly of value. More importantly though, Postema's book provides scholars of comic books and comic book theory a much need updated entry and critique of the oft -cited Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. This is not to say that McCloud's work is wrong per se, but rather that the field needs a variety of analyses on how to read comic books and other works that point out the limitations of singular analysis on the field.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel

    Great book, would be extremely useful in a class as it rethread lots of important knowledge for a student wishing to learn about comics from multiple comic book critics.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Skjam!

    Disclaimer: I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway on the premise that I would review it. This is a scholarly work on the subject of “Comics” which here includes comic books, comic strips, graphic novels and sundry related items. The emphasis is on the formal elements of comics, the structure which is used to create narrative. Definition of terms and the historical development of comics as an art form are relegated to appendices. Ms. Postema’s thesis is focused on the concept of “gaps”, whic Disclaimer: I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway on the premise that I would review it. This is a scholarly work on the subject of “Comics” which here includes comic books, comic strips, graphic novels and sundry related items. The emphasis is on the formal elements of comics, the structure which is used to create narrative. Definition of terms and the historical development of comics as an art form are relegated to appendices. Ms. Postema’s thesis is focused on the concept of “gaps”, which allow and require the implied reader to fill in those gaps and create the narrative. The combination of pictures and gaps and often words creates an intertextuality that makes the reader a part of the creative process. There are numerous illustrations in both color and black & white, while other examples are merely described and the student will have to look them up for themselves. The fragments on the cover are from Shutterbug Follies by Jason Little, which is also discussed in some detail (including spoilers!) in the text. By a happy coincidence, this work is being reprinted on GoComics for free. http://www.gocomics.com/shutterbug-fo... There’s a considerable bibliography of both scholarly works and fine comics, and a helpful index. This is, as stated before, a scholarly work that would most likely be used in college courses dealing with comics. Bright high school students with an interest in the deeper aspects of comics should be able to handle it. Id’d also recommend it to comics fans who enjoy examining formal narrative structure.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Janina Wildfeuer

    Very general description of comics and their narrative structure with a lot of examples that are shortly discussed. Also, detailed description of basic analytical terms and categories (such as panel, page layout, etc.). The semiotic perspective on comics is a traditional one based on Saussure, Barthes and Eco; only few references to more text-based approaches such as Iser or Eco. Unfortunately, no mention of more contemporary approaches to image-analysis, such as multimodality, etc. that would h Very general description of comics and their narrative structure with a lot of examples that are shortly discussed. Also, detailed description of basic analytical terms and categories (such as panel, page layout, etc.). The semiotic perspective on comics is a traditional one based on Saussure, Barthes and Eco; only few references to more text-based approaches such as Iser or Eco. Unfortunately, no mention of more contemporary approaches to image-analysis, such as multimodality, etc. that would help to make the assumptions about narrative processes more stable. Nice: comics terminology and historical overview in the appendix.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Whitney

    A lot of this is a repetition of Groensteen, but she adds some interesting insight on this idea of braiding, identifying a reading practice she calls "weaving." I was also really impressed with her choice of examples - clear and simple!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Suellen Cordovil da Silva

  10. 5 out of 5

    Maki

  11. 4 out of 5

    Krystal Howard

  12. 5 out of 5

    Krista Turner

  13. 4 out of 5

    Raisu

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gaby Machado

  15. 4 out of 5

    Devon

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Lange

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kat Dou

  18. 5 out of 5

    Colette

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nicole K

  20. 4 out of 5

    Atenas

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jonathon Place

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alysa

  23. 5 out of 5

    Madelon Wentink

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tom Shapira

  25. 4 out of 5

    clumped

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alan

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

  28. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

  29. 4 out of 5

    Erica

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brad

  31. 4 out of 5

    Carissa Krisara

  32. 5 out of 5

    Laureen (Ms. Bibliophile)

  33. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Ryan

  34. 4 out of 5

    Jessy

  35. 5 out of 5

    Pam

  36. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  37. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Herston

  38. 5 out of 5

    Brian

  39. 5 out of 5

    Rand

  40. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Gates

  41. 4 out of 5

    Natalya

  42. 4 out of 5

    Kim Coomey

  43. 5 out of 5

    Erin Tuzuner

  44. 4 out of 5

    Ken Pringle

  45. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Kunka

  46. 5 out of 5

    Rosanna

  47. 4 out of 5

    Christine

  48. 5 out of 5

    Emilie Titchen

  49. 4 out of 5

    Sylvie

  50. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  51. 4 out of 5

    Larry

  52. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Lavender

  53. 4 out of 5

    Peter

  54. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

  55. 5 out of 5

    Sasha

  56. 4 out of 5

    Donna Parker

  57. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

  58. 4 out of 5

    Rosendo

  59. 5 out of 5

    Woody

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