The Power of Comics

The Power of Comics : History, Form and Culture

3.93 (80 ratings by Goodreads)
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"The Power of Comics" is the first textbook to introduce undergraduate students to a broader understanding of the medium and its communication potential. Similar to film appreciation courses of the past, this text is intended for a comic appreciation course offered at most undergraduate courses. It was through the survey or appreciation course that film became established as a legitimate field of study in American higher education. Yet, comics courses seldom take a general appreciation approach because there is no such existing textbook. Courses that do attempt a broad approach to the comics medium have to draw material from so many different books, articles and comics that they are cost prohibitive. This text would fill that obvious gap in the market for instructors interested in a text that presents a more comprehensive view of the medium than anything currently on the market. "The Power of Comics" deals only with comic books and graphic novels. One reason for this focus is that no one text can hope to do justice to both strips and books: there is simply too much to cover. Preference is given to comic books because in their longer form, the graphic novel, they have the greatest potential for depth and complexity of more

Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.14 x 25.4mm | 408.23g
  • Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 75 bw illustrations
  • 082642936X
  • 9780826429360
  • 262,796

Review quote

"When invited by various departments at my university to give a lecture on comics, I refer to a standard set of references that includes Will Eisner's Comics and Sequential Art and Graphic Storytelling, Scott McCloud's, Understanding Comics The Invisible Art, Robert C. Harvey's The Art of the Comic Book, Roger Sabin's Adult Comics: An Introduction, David Kunzle's The History of the Comic Strip (both volumes), and more recently Charles Hatfield's Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature, Paul Gravett's Graphic Novels: Everything You Need to Know, Ann Miller's Reading Bande Dessinee, and Thierry Groensteen's System of Comics. During these lectures, I am often asked about an introductory textbook on comics that pulls together many of the ideas from these valuable resources. Up to this point in time I did not have a single recommendation, but now I can direct them to this new volume by Duncan and Smith, who are right-up-front about the objective of their book in the first line of their Preface "This is a textbook about comics." The layout of this book is well-matched to today's visually astute student. It provides a good balance of text and image and is divided into 13 chapters, including topics such as "Comic Book Creators," and "The Comic Book Industry."What is immediately evident from the layout is the explicit educational focus on the material. Each chapter opens with a thought provoking or, in some instances, amusing excerpt from a group of esoteric authorities including literary critics, historians, poets, and theorists, followed by a short anecdote related to the topic. Chapter objectives are stated plainly with an assertive heading that reads, "In this chapter, you will learn." For example, in the chapter, "Comic Books and Ideology," two of the four objectives include "the concept of ideology and the reason for exploring its function in society"; and "some ways in which comics creators have taken up social causes in opposition to prevailing ideologies." Thereshow more

About Randy Duncan

Dr. Randy Duncan is a co-founder of the Comic Arts Conference, the nation's first annual academic conference devoted solely to the study of comics. He also contributed to the St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Dr. Smith has taught comic-focused courses and has commented on the subject in the more

Rating details

80 ratings
3.93 out of 5 stars
5 26% (21)
4 49% (39)
3 19% (15)
2 5% (4)
1 1% (1)
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