Comics and the Senses
A Multisensory Approach to Comics and Graphic Novels
By Ian Hague
Routledge – 2014 – 200 pages
Attempts to define what comics are and explain how they work have not always been successful because they are premised upon the idea that comic strips, comic books and graphic novels are inherently and almost exclusively visual. This book challenges that premise, and asserts that comics is not just a visual medium. The book outlines the multisensory aspects of comics: the visual, audible, tactile, olfactory and gustatory elements of the medium. It rejects a synaesthetic approach (by which all the senses are engaged through visual stimuli) and instead argues for a truly multisensory model by which the direct stimulation of the reader’s physical senses can be understood. A wide range of examples demonstrates how multisensory communication systems work in both commercial and more experimental contexts. The book concludes with a case study that looks at the works of Alan Moore and indicates areas of interest that multisensory analysis can draw out, but which are overlooked by more conventional approaches.
Introduction 1. Eye Like Comics, or, Ocularcentrism in Comics Scholarship 2. Sight, or, the Ideal Perspective and the Physicality of Seeing 3. Hearing, or, Visible Sounds and Seeing With the Ears 4. Touch, or, the Taboo/Fetish Character of Comics and Tactile Performance 5. Smell and Taste, or, the Scent of Nostalgia and the Flavour of Advertising 6. Multisensory Aspects of the Comics of Alan Moore Conclusion
Ian Hague is Associate Lecturer in the History Department at the University of Chichester, UK.