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Antonio Ballesteros and Claude Duée (eds.) "Cuatro lecciones sobre el cómic"

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Links & Letters
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Disciplines
  • Law
  • Literature

Abstract

BOOK REVIEWS Reviews The book edited by Ballesteros and Duée is a contribution to the study of comics both from a theoretical and from a practical point of view. It is divided in four chapters, the first one in French and the other three in Spanish. Chapter one, by Pierre Janin, bears the title «La bande dessinée: est-elle un genre littéraire?» («Are comics a literary genre?»). Janin’s starting point is his observation that for a long time the genre was regarded as a minor liter- ary/artistic production by those who preferred other literary genres consid- ered «nobler and older» (15). Surpris- ingly enough, Janin goes on to contend, «the victims of this situation were nei- ther the comics themselves nor their readers, but those who tried to approach the phenomenon from an academic point of view» (15). The chapter is structured in clear-cut sections which make it easy to follow. First Janin tack- les the question of definition, then he moves on to trace the origins of comics and cites Töpffer and Outcault as two standard names in the history of the genre. He then analyses the special rela- tionship between image and text typical of comics and goes into detail about specific concepts such as «box», «comic strip» and «board», and their main fea- tures. Other elements such as «reading order» and «text» are also considered. Finally, Janin analyses the legal and eco- nomic context in which comics are pro- duced, paying special attention to the production in French. His conclusion is that the generic contours of comics are rather blurred and that it is difficult to anticipate the future of the genre, an issue which, according to him, concerns not only comics but all literary dis- courses. Viviane Alary is the author of Chap- ter two, which bears the title: «La his- torieta en España: del presente al pasa- do». Alary places the birth of comics in Spain back in the eighteeen seventies and mentions Spanish names such a Mecachis and Apeles Mestre but recalls that some scholars contend comic str

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