1st Edition

On Comics and Legal Aesthetics Multimodality and the Haunted Mask of Knowing

By Thomas Giddens Copyright 2018
    246 Pages
    by Routledge

    246 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.

    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


    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.