The Visual Narrative Reader! What makes this one so fun is that I didn't write the whole thing—it features chapters from many luminaries of studying visual narratives. Here's how it came about...
Shortly after the release of my last book, The Visual Language of Comics, I was biking home from work and started reflecting on the important papers that had influenced me along my journey of doing this research.
I thought about David Wilkin's great paper on Australian sand narratives that fully challenged my conceptions of drawings, which I read from a third generation photocopy right after college. I thought about Charles Forceville's great work on visual metaphor in comics, and Jun Nakazawa's psychology experiments looking at how kids (and adults) in Japan comprehend comics. Or, Brent Wilson's 40 years of research looking at how kids across the world draw visual narratives. Or, maybe there were the interesting dissertations that looked at the relations between McCloud's panel transitions and linguistic discourse theories.
All of this work greatly influenced my theories. And yet, much of the people in Comics Studies or other fields looking at visual narratives had no idea that most of this work existed. In many cases, these papers were incredibly hard to find! (One of the dissertations I had to print off of microfiche, another paper was unable to be found by interlibrary loan)
So, I decided that someone aught to compile this work together so that it would be readable by a larger audience, and I decided that that "someone" should be me! The result is the new book that just became available.
I feel very proud to have been able to combine these great works into one volume that can hopefully enrich people's knowledge of visual narratives and the various research that has gone into its cross-disciplinary study over the years.
You can find more information about the book on my website here, along with praise from scholars and creators of comics alike. I hope you like it as much as I do!
Here's the table of contents:
1. Interdisciplinary approaches to visual narrative, Neil Cohn
Section 1: Theoretical approaches to sequential images
2. Linguistically-oriented comics research in Germany, John Bateman and Janina Wildfeuer
3. No content without form: Graphic style as the primary entrance to a story, Pascal Lefèvre
4. Conceptual Metaphor Theory, Blending Theory, and other Cognitivist perspectives on comics, Charles Forceville
5. Relatedness: Aspects of textual connectivity in comics, Mario Saraceni
6. A little cohesion between friends; Or, we're just exploring our textuality, Eric Stainbrook
Section 2: Psychology and development of visual narrative
7. Manga literacy and manga comprehension in Japanese Children, Jun Nakazawa
8. What happened and what happened next: Kids’ visual narratives across cultures, Brent Wilson
Section 3: Visual narratives across cultures
9. The Walbiri sand story, Nancy Munn
10. Alternative representations of space: Arrernte Narratives in Sand, David Wilkins
11. Sequential text-image pairing among the Classic Maya, Søren Wichmann and Jesper Nielsen
12. Linguistic relativity and conceptual permeability in visual narratives: New distinctions in the relationship between language(s) and thought, Neil Cohn