“Logocentrism” was coined by the German philosopher Ludwig Klages in the 1920s and refers to the tradition that regards words and language as a fundamentally important record of our reality. Words enable us to describe our inner world and our perception of the outer world. Depending on the words available, the expression of our sense of lived experience is modified. According to logocentrism, the logos is the ideal representation of the Platonic Ideal Form.
Non physical but substantial forms (ideas) represent the most accurate reality.
Heavy stuff. What then is the reality we live in, the physical one? A place where we tell lies, where we hide, where we hold up masks. Mirrors. Where we construct narratives. Where we try to make sense of immaterial Forms.
Autofictographics allows a number of tools with which to explore Forms (ideas) and the material world simultaneously. Captions with text (logos) give us a view into the mind of creator and characters. Images can depict all manner of reality.
Is there a system that can enable us to understand its all the elements of comics’ independent and interdependent machinations? Are there rules of thumb that can work across all its possible permutations?
Consider for a moment colour theory. The study of colour has been ongoing for centuries, and yet even these theories continue to evolve. Not only this, but there also exists an inbuilt perceptual and interpretive flexibility, in the form of subjectivity.
Subjectivities are shaped and influenced by demographic; age, race, culture, religion, sex, and gender of identification, and lived experience.
Everybody brings with them a unique interpretation; a reading containing influences of intertextuality, metonym, metaphor within the sign and signifier. The study of semiotics enables us to understand how individual readings of the same logos and expressed Forms vary as a result, and is a useful lens through which to ‘read’ comics.
Is it possible that a single tool could possibly enable a complete and accurate reading of all forms of comics?
Australian cartoonist and author of Blue Pat Grant states that “scholars often approach this complex visual and material language [comics] as though it were nothing more than a semiotic code, and that the grand task of research is to develop a universal Rosetta Stone for the form” (2014, 34-35). Given all this as well as the inherent elasticity of sequential art, how much of comics can we reduce to generalisations? In his thesis, Grant goes on to “destabilise … logocentric readings” (35) by looking at a “phenomenology of making” of the material itself (35).
Examining the material process of cartooning and the bodies that orchestrate it, as opposed to only analysing the finished output, Grant’s exegesis lends a new lens to analysis of comics. A new tool to ‘read’ comics. But not at all the only one necessary.