Wednesday, January 22, 2014

VLOC released in the US!

I'm excited to say that it looks like my new book, The Visual Language of Comics, is now available in America!

The official release date for the book is still set for next week (January 30th), but it appears that you are now able to order (and hopefully receive!) copies ordered online.

So, if you've been patiently waiting... the wait is over!

Since my post related to the book's release in Europe discussed its contents, maybe here I'll mention a bit about its intent.

This book is essentially an overview of the ideas I've been developing over the past 15 years, and is an invitation to both engage with the ideas and (where appropriate) participate in the discussion and/or research.

Most of the chapters here are simplified or summarized versions of material that appears throughout my research papers. Others provide new theories that I have kicked around for several years but never articulated in a broader discussion. The chapter on "morphology" in the "visual language lexicon" is one of these, and was one of my favorite chapters to write (and draw!).

In all cases though, this work remains an introduction. Ten years ago in 2003, when I self-published my first book on this topic, an advisor of mine remarked that he found it amusing that I titled the book *Early* writings on visual language, because it forecasted that there would be subsequent writings that would supersede its ideas (which was true, even at the time of printing the book).

That same sentiment holds true for this book. In the title, it says "Introduction" for a reason. This is the first presentation to a broad audience of a research program that I intend to develop further over the rest of my career (and hopefully other people's careers too). In none of the chapters do I spell out the entire theory of that topic—I could expand all of them to triple the length. (Note that my constraint didn't stop at individual chapters. Due to a word limit on the book I also scrapped several other whole potential chapters)

I also do not consider these statements to be the final word—no scientific writing ever should. Rather, this book aligns the questions in the ways I think they should be asked, and provides a preliminary analysis of these structures, often just to illustrate how such analyses should be undertaken. Asking these questions allows us to recognize that there are many more questions than we have answers for at present.

This book is truly is an introduction meant to inspire and invite. I hope you take up the chance to join in—now we can really get things started.

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