On Comics and Legal Aesthetics: Multimodality and the Haunted Mask of Knowing, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

On Comics and Legal Aesthetics

Multimodality and the Haunted Mask of Knowing, 1st Edition

By Thomas Giddens


230 pages

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What are the implications of comics for law? Tackling this question, On Comics and Legal Aesthetics explores the epistemological dimensions of comics and the way this once-maligned medium can help think about – and reshape – the form of law. Traversing comics, critical, and cultural legal studies, it seeks to enrich the theorisation of comics with a critical aesthetics that expands its value and significance for law, as well as knowledge more generally. It argues that comics’ multimodality – its hybrid structure, which represents a meeting point of text, image, reason, and aesthetics – opens understanding of the limits of law’s rational texts by shifting between multiple frames and modes of presentation. Comics thereby exposes the way all forms of knowledge are shaped out of an unstructured universe, becoming a mask over this chaotic ‘beyond’. This mask of knowing remains haunted – by that which it can never fully capture or represent. Comics thus models knowledge as an infinity of nested frames haunted by the chaos without structure. In such a model, the multiple aspects of law become one region of a vast and bottomless cascade of perspectives – an infinite multiframe that extends far beyond the traditional confines of the comics page, rendering law boundless.

Table of Contents

1 On Comics and Other Ways of Knowing

Drawing the Frame

Komos and Nomos

2 A Ghostless Machine

Cyborg Aesthetics

Disciplinary Aesthetics

3 The Irrational Threat

Madness and Aesthetics

Headless Lawyers

4 Horrific Jurisprudence

Call of the Cultural-Legal

Judging in the Abyss

5 On Haunted Masks

Masca Lex

Invisible Images

6 Redrawing the Law

Drawing the World

The Haunted Multiframe

About the Author

Thomas Giddens is senior lecturer in law at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. He researches critical, comics, and cultural legal studies. He founded the Graphic Justice Research Alliance in 2013 and edited the collection Graphic Justice: Intersections of Comics and Law (Routledge 2015). He also edits the on-going ‘Graphic Justice’ special collection at The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship and is a founding Co-Director of St Mary’s Centre for Law and Culture.

About the Series

Discourses of Law

This successful and exciting series seeks to publish the most innovative scholarship at the intersection of law, philosophy and social theory. The books published in the series are distinctive by virtue of exploring the boundaries of legal thought. The work that this series seeks to promote is marked most strongly by the drive to open up new perspectives on the relation between law and other disciplines. The series has also been unique in its commitment to international and comparative perspectives upon an increasingly global legal order. Of particular interest in a contemporary context, the series has concentrated upon the introduction and translation of continental traditions of theory and law.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / Popular Culture
LAW / General
LAW / Jurisprudence
LAW / Legal Writing
LITERARY CRITICISM / Science Fiction & Fantasy