Comics and Novelization
A Literary History of Bandes Dessinées
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This book opens a novel perspective on comics and literature interactions. It claims that the two artistic media have always maintained a mutual emulation, for as long as they have coexisted in media culture. To demonstrate this, the present research does not focus on literary adaptations in comics form, but rather on a literary corpus that remains virtually unexplored: comics-related novels. The purpose of this volume is to inventory French comics-related novels and to study them. Within the limits of the French-speaking world, this book pieces together a literary history of bande dessinée through its novels, from the 19th to 21th centuries. Whereas the comic strip – including the aptly named "graphic novel" – has sometimes been regarded as the disciple of an unsurpassable literary model, do these under-studied adaptations in novel form not rather indicate a mutual relationship, or even an emulation, between the two media?
Table of Contents
Introduction. Comics-related novels
Comics and literature
A novel perspective on comics and adaptations
Comics novelization and the visual turn of literary writing
Two adaptation processes generating comics-related novels
Towards a literary history of bande dessinée
Chapter 1. Textual margins of early comics
How to verbalize a picture story?
Close reading: Voyages and Adventures of Dr Festus
Captions rewritten as a bridge over redrawn illustrations
Big Little Books and the French book market: a missed rendezvous
From captioned picture stories to serials-under-images
Mickey et Minnie, a precursor to the modern French junior novelization
Chapter 2. Enunciative issues of comics verbalizations
The literary adventures of Tintin
An issue of enunciative responsibility
Literary initiations to a visual universe
Close reading: The Adventures of Tintin
When comics fans write literary panels
From ekphrasis to fanfiction
Chapter 3. Why self-novelize a comic strip?
The illusion of a deeper reading experience
Comics artists and literary illustration
A logic of supplement
Close reading: Acknowledgment of Murders, Ric Hochet’s First Case
From graphic to literary novels
A logic of substitution
Chapter 4. The comics heroes’ childhood told to children
How to relate the past of comics heroes
The literary prequels of French comics characters
Multiple childhoods of a Belgian-Japanese comics heroine
Close reading: The Froth of Dawn, the First Adventure of Yoko Tsuno
Comics-related French junior novelizations
When a comics character writes his own autobiography
Conclusion. Reading novels as comics novelizations
Comics on the threshold of literary texts
Comics as a frame for multimodal storytelling
Comics in the factory of literary writing
Reading novels as comics scripts
Other primary sources
Benoît Glaude is a researcher at UGent and a visiting lecturer at UCLouvain, Belgium. He has published several books about French-speaking comics, including his PhD on comics dialogues (La Bande dialoguée, Presses universitaires François-Rabelais, 2019), as well as a volume on novelization in children’s literature (Les Novellisations pour la jeunesse, coedited with Laurent Déom, Academia, 2020).
"The relationship between comics and literature is not a one-way traffic: literature is not only adapted in graphic novel format, it also owns a lot to the world of comics, appropriating its forms and themes in many ways. Relying on an strong theoretical framework and robust case studies, Benoît Glaude’s trail-blazing study discloses this less known but vital dimension of intermedial connections in modern transmedia culture."
-Jan Baetens, KULeuven, Belgium.
"The meticulous research and clever thinking shown in this new work represents some of the most influential scholarship in the last decade. Benoît Glaude is a scholar of the highest order and his nuanced treatment is rigorous and powerful."
-Hugo Frey, University of Chichester, UK.
"Up until now, novelizations had attracted little academic interest. Benoît Glaude’s compelling study shows the interest of looking into this little-known corpus of texts adapting comics into literature. Nourished by fascinating case studies, his book considerably renews our approach to transmedia cultures and opens up a field of primary importance in our understanding of the history of the ninth art."
-Sylvain Lesage, Université de Lille, France.
"This remarkable work of scholarship brings a new perspective and sharp analytical insights to the study of transmedia adaptation, while providing a master class in the close reading of some famous comics alongside the fascinating and little-known novels that they have engendered."
-Ann Miller, University of Leicester, UK.