Critical studies of the graphic novel have often employed methodologies taken from film theory and art criticism. Yet, as graphic novels from Maus to Watchmen haveentered the literary canon, perhaps the time has come to develop theories for interpreting and evaluating graphic novels that are drawn from classic models of literary theory and criticism.
Using the methodology of Georg Lukács and his detailed defense of literary realism as a socially embedded practice, Litcomix tackles difficult questions about reading graphic novels as literature. What critical standards should we use to measure the quality of a graphic novel? How does the genre contribute to our understanding of ourselves and the world? What qualities distinguish it from other forms of literature?
LitComix hones its theoretical approach through case studies taken from across the diverse world of comics, from Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s groundbreaking manga to the Hernandez Brothers’ influential alt-comix. Whether looking at graphic novel adaptations of Proust or considering how Jack Kirby’s use of intertextuality makes him the Balzac of comics, this study offers fresh perspectives on how we might appreciate graphic novels as literature.