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GUPSA Cross Fertilisation Symposium

At the beginning of July I was lucky enough to be invited to take part in the GUPSA (Griffith University Postgraduate Student’s Association) where I presented a 20 minute talk on some of my findings so far. The twenty minutes flew by, I entered some kind of twilight zone out there; the entire talk was delivered by a parallel universe version of myself while I spent the time astral traveling, occasionally checking in with myself to make sure I was still breathing. A great experience a good opportunity to practice my public speaking.  Here is a link to information on the event and a video of me saying stuff. I have decided to only include the dot-point overview of my talk as the paper is currently under review, with a possibility of being published in the future. Fingers crossed! If it happens I’ll be sure to post a link.   DEFINITIONthe arrangement of images and words to narrate a story or dramatize an idea” ABOUT ME PRESENTATION AIM

  • communication of themes
  • different representations of identity
  • resonating
  • mimetic (show) and diegetic (tell)

How can we tell our stories in a way that connects with the reader? the term “graphic novel” – Richard Kyle in 1964- distinguish European works from juvenile subject

  • A Contract with God by Will Eisner was the first to use the term
  • The 1980s saw further serious work in the graphic novel format, aimed at adults and dealing with mature themes- which lead to a change in public perceptions and the types of stories commonly being produced
  • Which leads us to today…

INTRODUCE TEXTS The reason for choosing these texts

  • a wide range of style and storytelling approaches
  • Resonate with me,
  • I can identify with.
  • I want to understand how this resonance takes place.

HOW IT’S DONE first 100 pages ­Alec MORE THAN double the dialogue/MORE THAN six times the amount of narration Blankets mid-range count of dialogue, narration and sound effects Goodbye Chunky Rice

  • second highest amount of dialogue
  • Highest sound effects
  • Lowest amount of narration

I Never Liked You

  • Low counts of dialogue, narration and panels

a broad and distinct spectrum of storytelling styles. MOST NOTABLE FROM THIS, 2 MODES OF STORYTELLING So to explain Narration is a diegetic form of storytelling- Ancient Greeks HOW ITS CONSTRUCTED schools of thought self-distance -schism explain examples Eddie Campbell’s Alec creates distance by

  • long shots
  • infrequent closeups
  •  by placing a static camera outside of the  group
  • Naming his character Alec.


  • The real life I (the author)
  • The narrating I (the narrator)
  • The experiencing I (the protagonist)


  • The omniscient author as narrator
  • used to bring events into cohesion
  • creates a complete seperation between author/narrator and narrated
  • the narrator identifying himself
  • author acknowledges themselves but not themselves as narrated
  • (less distance)
  • The narrator identifying as the protagonist
  • no schism
  • the narrator, author, protagonist are all the same person

ALTERNATIVE NARRATION Narration performed by the characters instead of the author Commenting on an important/life shaping event No author, no one standing between us and the story creates closeness to the narrative where we need to engage with it A technique for avoiding narration is to use a sequential image strip This gives an insight into a character’s thoughts in a mimetic way MIMETIC DEFINITION separation of the diegetic and mimetic modes within SANs diegetic narration pulls the reader out of the story, or at least creates a sense of distance explain graph Here the two modes are kept mostly separate cross over are for deliberate storytelling purposes The author giving consideration MIMESIS AS DIAGESIS mimetic expression serves a diegetic role author speaks directly to the reader as the narrated I no longer the unknowing actor in their own drama it reduces the schism between narrator and narrated, they become the same identity . SFX sound effects in Goodbye Chunky Rice.

  • told in metaphor using anthropomorphic characters and a cartoon style
  • onomapoeic depiction of sound sits well with the visual and narrative style.

The absence of sound effects… important in maintaining a realistic reading Blankets … realistic themes… stylised visual approach… use of sound effects is moderate indicates a correlation between the individual elements available to SANs, a balancing act of sorts DIAGETIC SFX Sound effects in I Never Liked You Where included they are for means of direct relevance to the narrative. To indicate internal sensations…

  • lets us feel the protagonist’s nervousness without conveying it through narration
  • without visual… techniques such as sweat, shaking hands or voice etc.

To emphasise a sense of drama

  • his mother storming towards him
  • stays with Chester Brown for life

MIMETIC SFX the type of world and therefore identity the author is creating Imagery, symbol and icon can be used to represent the world of sound and synesthetics intertextual imagery can convey ideas such as morality, goodness and evil Appeals  to subconscious and gives more impact emotionally, direct impact SHOWS US HOW THE AUTHOR SEES THE WORLD SHOWING IDENTITY I Never Liked You crippled by an inability to express feelings he doesn’t like doing things he’s never done before absence of a clear diegetic explanation draw their own conclusions based on the characterization he has formed in the rest of the book. SHOWING IDENTITY In Goodbye Chunky Rice introduced to Charles,

  • sinister
  • overtly masculine pose
  • eyebrow cocked, unwelcoming
  • juxtaposition of panels

Chunky looking small, leaning out of the panel This gives an impression of the opposing types of character- predator and prey. The scene with Dandel is split

  • a romantic view of the world
  • All she sees is the ocean
  • not the wire, rubbish or factory setting around her

CONCLUSION Sequential art narratives provide many ways for an author to connect with a reader, whether by constructing a separate narrator/narrated relationship as in Alec, by providing clear distinctions in storytelling modes and creating mimetic representations of the world of emotions and sound like in Blankets, by telling a story through metaphor and relying wholly on mimesis to engage the reader within a storybook tale, or by establishing a single person narrator/narrated relationship in order to build empathy with the character. What have I learned? According to Charles Hatfield in Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature Sequential art provides “on the one hand, the nigh-on irresistable urge to codify the workings of the form; on the other, a continual delight in the form’s ability to frustrate any airtight analytical scheme” Where to find more info I haven’t included the slides because I need to look into the legality and political correctness of posting copyrighted images. I’d hate to offend these creators that I have so much respect for.