In the second decade of the 21st century, academic comics studies is well established as a serious intellectual subject, but for many non-specialists, including university administrators, a sense of frivolity still attaches to comics. This brief essay braids together personal history and intellectual analysis: 1) it compares the cultural position of comics today to the position of novels in the 19th century; 2) it analyzes the complementary nature of the verbal and visual channels; 3) it argues that neither words nor pictures should be considered primary in a narratology of comics; and 4) that comics are eminently well suited to be studied as a branch of literature (though fine arts departments can also stake a claim).
Braithwaite, Jean (2017) "Words + Pictures: A Manifesto," Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature: Vol. 42: Iss. 1, Article 4. https://doi.org/10.4148/2334-4415.1957
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Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature