Timeframing: The Art of Comics on Screens

Goodbrey’s Seven Characteristics of Comics

Comics studies, of course, has seen its share of definition battles, with researchers and practitioners alike debating a variety of approaches to analyzing of the medium. This talk will build upon Daniel Merlin Goodbrey’s “seven key characteristics” of comics, identified in his thesis “The Impact of Digital Mediation and Hybridisation on the Form of Comics,” published in 2017. Goodbrey presents these seven characteristics not as an exhaustive or exclusionary definition, but as a collection of phenomena exhibited in various degrees. In other words, the things we call “comics” tend to embrace most of these practices.

The seven characteristics are as follows: 
  1. Space as time (the essential move of comics to use physical space on the page to represent temporality), 
  2. Simultaneous juxtaposition of images, 
  3. Closure between images (Scott McCloud’s term for the phenomenon in which readers fill in gaps of meaning across panels), 
  4. Spatial networks (the way in which the layout of the page is a complex and non-linear system), 
  5. Reader control of pacing,
  6. Tablodic images (which is a term of Goodbrey’s derived from the concept of the tableau in theatre or photography, which he defines as “deliberately composed, framed and illustrated to represent key moments of narrative meaning”), and finally,
  7. Word/image blending.

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