Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Last Post of the Semester

One thing that I learned from Graphic Novels that will remain with me for the remainder of my life is the wordless graphic novel. When we first received The Arrival by Shaun Tan, I was hooked. The beautiful illustrations and poignant storyline made a deep first impression on me. In many ways reading wordless graphic novels is not only more challenging but also more enjoyable than traditional comics. Without words, only the right-brain, your artistic and emotional side is engaged, and as a result the grinding burden of rational thought is lifted from your shoulders and the reading experience is one of floating gently through the sublime stream of characters intertwining and interacting, weaving the tapestry of canon in a very different way from traditional prose. That's not to imply that wordless graphic novels are easier to read than normal graphic novels or books though. The fact that they have no words doubles the importance of paying attention to the small details in not only the illustration of the panel itself, but also the arrangement of the panels, the panel in context of its surroundings, transitions and closure between panels, and all the elements which validate the colloquialism "a picture is worth a thousand words."

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