Figural Solidarity: Grappling with Meaning in Comics

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Thierry Groensteen 's concept of iconic solidarity (IS) is one of the most familiar terms in comics studies. This article introduces a new term and new theoretical concept, figural solidarity .(FS), as a critical adaptation of Groensteen's notion (1999; 2011); FS provides additional explanatory power especially in the central cases of narrative comics. FS is based on the co-referentiality of sequential figures, which ensures the cohesion of the visual narrative and provides its driving force. The introductory section compares empirical eye-tracking data with the hypothetical top-down strategies of FS-influenced readers as they focus on recurring characters to understand the narrative. The following sections trace the theoretical roots of FS in Groensteen, Mikkonen, and other scholars, define the concept of figure in the FS context, and provide intuitive motivation for its use. We then approach, without entirely resolving it, the question of whether and how linguistic theories of meaning can be applied to comics (with particular reference to Cohn's theory of visual language). We hope to promote a broader research program on how images in comics, at the level of their recurring visual content, create meaning and allow the reader to follow and understand the story.


Creative Commons - Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International - CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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Comicalités. Études de culture graphique