Metafiction in American Comic Strips

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“Living in the Funnies: Metafiction in American Comic Strips”, to be published in the Journal of Popular Culture, 2014. gonzalezja@unican.es

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Metafiction in American Comic Strips

  1. 2. <ul><li>Metafiction vs. post-modernism </li></ul><ul><li>“ Self-conscious” or “narcissistic” mode: Don Quixote, Tristam Shandy, Las Meninas </li></ul><ul><li>Double reference to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reality outside the text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The text itself as an artifact </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In comic strips: very early examples </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  2. 3. Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  3. 4. Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  4. 5. Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  5. 6. Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  6. 7. Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  7. 8. Metafiction: Definition and types <ul><li>Robert Alter: “a novel that systematically flaunts its own condition of artifice and that by so doing probes into the problematic relationship between real-seeming artifice and reality” </li></ul><ul><li>David Lodge: “Metafiction is fiction about fiction: novels and stories that call attention to their fictional status and their own compositional procedures” </li></ul><ul><li>Double referentiality: to reality and the text </li></ul><ul><li>Degrees, rather than types </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  8. 9. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>“ Mosaic of citations” that constitute a text </li></ul><ul><li>Horizontal references: Intercomics </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  9. 10. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>“ Mosaic of citations” that constitute a text </li></ul><ul><li>Horizontal references: Intercomics </li></ul><ul><li>Vertical, intermedial references: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Painting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Literature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Film </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Music </li></ul></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  10. 11. Hopper’s Nighthawks Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  11. 12. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>“ Mosaic of citations” that constitute a text </li></ul><ul><li>Horizontal references: Intercomics </li></ul><ul><li>Vertical, intermedial references: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Painting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Literature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Film </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Music </li></ul></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  12. 13. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>“ Mosaic of citations” that constitute a text </li></ul><ul><li>Horizontal references: Intercomics </li></ul><ul><li>Vertical, intermedial references: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Painting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Literature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Film </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Music </li></ul></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  13. 14. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>“ Mosaic of citations” that constitute a text </li></ul><ul><li>Horizontal references: Intercomics </li></ul><ul><li>Vertical, intermedial references: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Painting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Literature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Film </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Music </li></ul></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  14. 15. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>“ Mosaic of citations” that constitute a text </li></ul><ul><li>Horizontal references: Intercomics </li></ul><ul><li>Vertical, intermedial references: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Painting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Literature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Film </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Music </li></ul></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  15. 16. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Genette’s Transtextuality : “all that which puts one text in relation, whether manifest of secret, with other texts”. 5 types: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Intertextuality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Paratextuality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Metatextuality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hypertextuality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Architextuality </li></ul></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  16. 17. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Intertextuality : “the effective co-presence of two texts ” in the form of quotation (explicit), plagiarism or allusion (implicit). </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  17. 18. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Intertextuality : “the effective co-presence of two texts ” in the form of quotation (explicit), plagiarism or allusion (implicit). </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  18. 19. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Paratextuality : the relation between the text and its “paratext ” (titles, prefaces, dedications…). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Book editions </li></ul></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  19. 20. Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  20. 21. Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  21. 22. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Metatextuality : when a text “makes comments” about another one ( Metatextuality for direct, explicit “ comments ” </li></ul><ul><li>and hypertextuality for indirect references) </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  22. 23. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Metatextuality </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  23. 24. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Metatextuality </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  24. 25. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Hypertextuality : the relationship between one text (the hypertext) to an anterior text (hypotext), which the former transforms or modifies. </li></ul><ul><li>In hypertextuality , the reference as opposed to intertextuality , </li></ul><ul><li>to the hypotext is worked into where the two works simply </li></ul><ul><li>the plot (or the gag) of co-exist </li></ul><ul><li>the hypertext, </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  25. 26. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Hypertextuality . References to </li></ul><ul><li>Literature </li></ul><ul><li>Painting </li></ul><ul><li>Music </li></ul><ul><li>Film </li></ul><ul><li>Comics </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  26. 27. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Hypertextuality . References to </li></ul><ul><li>Literature </li></ul><ul><li>Painting </li></ul><ul><li>Music </li></ul><ul><li>Film </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  27. 28. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Hypertextuality . References to </li></ul><ul><li>Literature </li></ul><ul><li>Painting </li></ul><ul><li>Music </li></ul><ul><li>Film </li></ul><ul><li>Comics </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  28. 29. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Hypertextuality . References to </li></ul><ul><li>Literature </li></ul><ul><li>Painting </li></ul><ul><li>Music </li></ul><ul><li>Film </li></ul><ul><li>Comics </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  29. 30. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Hypertextuality . References to </li></ul><ul><li>Literature </li></ul><ul><li>Painting </li></ul><ul><li>Music </li></ul><ul><li>Film </li></ul><ul><li>Comics </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  30. 31. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Hypertextuality . References to </li></ul><ul><li>Literature </li></ul><ul><li>Painting </li></ul><ul><li>Music </li></ul><ul><li>Film </li></ul><ul><li>Comics </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  31. 32. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Hypertextuality . References to </li></ul><ul><li>Literature </li></ul><ul><li>Painting </li></ul><ul><li>Music </li></ul><ul><li>Film </li></ul><ul><li>Comics </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  32. 33. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Hypertextuality . References to </li></ul><ul><li>Literature </li></ul><ul><li>Painting </li></ul><ul><li>Music </li></ul><ul><li>Film </li></ul><ul><li>Comics </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  33. 34. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Architextuality : this refers to the generic taxonomies suggested or evoked by a text. We can use this category for “cross-overs” (comic characters appearing in other strips), which make an obvious reference to the fact that they all belong to the same genre and are published together </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  34. 35. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Architextuality : “cross-overs” </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  35. 36. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Architextuality : “cross-overs” </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  36. 37. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Architextuality : April Fools’ Day </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  37. 38. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Architextuality : Peanuts Envy </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  38. 39. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Architextuality : Peanuts… Envy? </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  39. 40. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Architextuality : Peanuts </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  40. 41. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Architextuality Breaking Discourse Levels </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  41. 42. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Architextuality Breaking Discourse Levels </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  42. 43. First Degree: Intertextuality/Transtextuality <ul><li>Architextuality : Breaking Discourse Levels </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  43. 44. Second degree: Metacomics <ul><li>A second, deeper degree of metafiction are self-conscious comics which somehow break the “realistic contract” established between the author and the reader and call explicitly the reader’s attention to the artificiality of the text: metacomics. 2 types (Linda Hutcheon) : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ diegetic narcissism”: comics whose metafictional references remain in the realm of the diegesis , the story being told by the author. Narrative metacomics . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ linguistic narcissism”:the “metafictional break” (or short-circuit) happens in the realm of the discourse , the way the story is told. These fictions “demonstrate primarily an awareness of their linguistic constitution” and show the “building blocks—the very language whose referents serve to construct that imaginary world”. Linguistic metacomics . </li></ul></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  44. 45. Narrative Metacomics <ul><li>Comics which tell the </li></ul><ul><li>story of comic artists </li></ul><ul><li>and their creations: very </li></ul><ul><li>frequent in graphic </li></ul><ul><li>novels. </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  45. 46. Narrative Metacomics <ul><li>Comic artists in comic </li></ul><ul><li>strips </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  46. 47. Narrative Metacomics <ul><li>Comic artists in comic </li></ul><ul><li>strips </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  47. 48. Narrative Metacomics <ul><li>Comic artists in comic strips </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  48. 49. Narrative Metacomics <ul><li>Characters as comic readers </li></ul><ul><li>As newspaper editors </li></ul><ul><li>Or even as comic strip “owners” </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  49. 50. Narrative Metacomics <ul><li>Comics-within-the-comics: Mise-en-abyme </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Graphic novels: Tales of the Black Freighter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comics-inside-novels:“The Escapist” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>in Michael Chabon’s novel The Amazing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adventures of Kavalier and Klay </li></ul></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  50. 51. Narrative metacomics <ul><li>Comic strip-within-the-comic strip: Fearless Fosdick within Li’l Abner </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  51. 52. Narrative metacomics <ul><li>Comic strip-within-the-comic strip: </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  52. 53. Linguistic Metacomics: Breaking Discourse Levels (Genette’s Metalepsis ) <ul><li>Characters conscious of their fictional nature </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  53. 54. Linguistic Metacomics: Breaking Discourse Levels <ul><li>Characters conscious of their fictional nature </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  54. 55. Linguistic Metacomics: Breaking Discourse Levels <ul><li>Characters conscious of their fictional nature </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  55. 56. Linguistic Metacomics: Breaking Discourse Levels <ul><li>Author’s intrusions </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  56. 57. Linguistic Metacomics: Breaking Discourse Levels <ul><li>Characters complain </li></ul><ul><li>to the author </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  57. 58. Linguistic Metacomics: Breaking Discourse Levels <ul><li>Characters complain to the author </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  58. 59. Linguistic Metacomics: Breaking Discourse Levels <ul><li>Character in search of his author </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  59. 60. Linguistic Metacomics: Breaking Discourse Levels <ul><li>Characters address the reader </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  60. 61. Linguistic Metacomics: Breaking Discourse Levels <ul><li>Characters become authors and alter their fictional world with authorial tools </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  61. 62. Linguistic Metacomics: Breaking Discourse Levels <ul><li>Characters become authors and alter their fictional world with authorial tools </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  62. 63. Linguistic Metacomics: Breaking Discourse Levels <ul><li>Characters become authors </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  63. 64. Linguistic Metacomics: Breaking Discourse Levels <ul><li>Readers become authors </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  64. 65. Linguistic Metacomics: Breaking Discourse Levels <ul><li>Combination of several devices (“Metafictional overkill”, Patricia Waugh): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Character addresses the reader </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The character acknowledges his fictional status </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Characters become authors </li></ul></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  65. 66. Linguistic Metacomics: Breaking Discourse Levels <ul><li>Combination of several devices (“Metafictional overkill”, Patricia Waugh): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Character addresses the reader </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Character becomes author </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reader becomes character </li></ul></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  66. 67. Linguistic Metacomics: Showing the “building blocks” <ul><li>Panels and panel borders </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  67. 68. Linguistic Metacomics: Showing the “building blocks” <ul><li>Panels and panel borders </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  68. 69. Linguistic Metacomics: Showing the “building blocks” <ul><li>Panels and panel borders </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  69. 70. Linguistic Metacomics: Showing the “building blocks” <ul><li>Balloons </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  70. 71. Linguistic Metacomics: Showing the “building blocks” <ul><li>Balloons </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  71. 72. Linguistic Metacomics: Showing the “building blocks” <ul><li>Reading order (right to left) </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  72. 73. Linguistic Metacomics: Showing the “building blocks” <ul><li>Onomatopeias: </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  73. 74. Linguistic Metacomics: Showing the “building blocks” <ul><li>Icons: </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  74. 75. Linguistic Metacomics: Showing the “building blocks” <ul><li>Pacing </li></ul><ul><li>Straight Lines </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  75. 76. Linguistic Metacomics: Showing the “building blocks” <ul><li>Use of close-ups and </li></ul><ul><li>other soap opera </li></ul><ul><li>conventions </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  76. 77. Linguistic Metacomics: Showing the “building blocks” <ul><li>“ Living in a newspaper”: Dates </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  77. 78. Linguistic Metacomics: Showing the “building blocks” <ul><li>“ Living in a newspaper”: Post-production </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  78. 79. Linguistic Metacomics: Showing the “building blocks” <ul><li>“ Man, I hate living in the funnies”: Post-production </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  79. 80. Linguistic Metacomics: Showing the “building blocks” <ul><li>Post-production </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  80. 81. Linguistic Metacomics: Showing the “building blocks” <ul><li>Combination of character and balloons: “Silent Garfield” </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  81. 82. Readers become authors: Webcomics <ul><li>Garfield minus Garfield: </li></ul><ul><li>Pearls minus Pig: </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  82. 83. Readers become authors: Webcomics <ul><li>The Garfield Randomizer </li></ul><ul><li>The Digital Calvin and Hobbes </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  83. 84. Linguistic Metacomics: Showing the “building blocks” Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  84. 85. Linguistic Metacomics: Showing the “building blocks” <ul><li>“ Metafictional Overkill” </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  85. 86. Linguistic Metacomics: Showing the “building blocks” <ul><li>“ Metafictional Overkill” </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  86. 87. Linguistic Metacomics: Showing the “building blocks” <ul><li>“ Metafictional Overkill” </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  87. 88. Linguistic Metacomics: Showing the “building blocks” <ul><li>“ Metafictional Overkill” </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  88. 89. Functions <ul><li>Reflection </li></ul><ul><li>Self-Parody </li></ul><ul><li>Experimentation </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  89. 90. Functions <ul><li>Reflection </li></ul><ul><li>Self-Parody </li></ul><ul><li>Experimentation </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  90. 91. Functions <ul><li>Reflection </li></ul><ul><li>Self-Parody </li></ul><ul><li>Experimentation </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  91. 92. Functions <ul><li>Metafictional realism? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Metafiction sometimes creates an intimate connection between the reader and the real author, who breaks the conventions and barriers to “whisper” to the reader and offer his true self </li></ul></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  92. 93. Functions <ul><li>Extroverted metafiction , when metafictional devices not only show the artificiality of fiction, but they also make comments about the artificiality of life: “Maybe in real life we are all comic strip characters” </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González
  93. 94. <ul><li>Thank you! </li></ul>Metafiction in American Comic Strips, Jesús A. González

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