In recent history comic art has crossed boundaries to enter other mediums. We can watch comic book adaptations in movies and on TV, read about comic books in popular novels, and see comic art on the walls of our local museums. Katherine Roeder examines why art historians are not paying more attention.
Studying comic art through the lens of art history has unique challenges. The medium is visual but the text is just as important. This leads experts to compartmentalize comics into either literature or art. The University of Florida offers a Comics and Visual Rhetoric track through its PhD in English Literature program. The National Associate of Comic Art Educators offers syllabi with titles including “Reading Comics as Literature.” Then on the other hand, books such as Robert C. Harvey’s The Art of the Funnies take a close look at aesthetics but neglect the literary side. (Will Eisner’s Comics and Sequential Art and Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics are two important works that reject this dichotomy.) read more