Tue 22 November 2005 at 5.00 pm

Manuscript in Print: the Ink and Paper of Alternative Comics

Emma Tinker (University College London)

Taking Place: Room 115 in the Richard Hamilton Building in --

When Scott McCloud argued that the future of comics lay in electronic media and the internet, almost everyone disagreed with him. Far from seeking to revolutionize the form, writers of alternative comics are conspicuously nostalgic for ink on paper. Emma Tinker will talk about comics’ writers and artists’ fondness for the ateriality of graphic texts, and explore some of the reasons behind it. Although comics are produced for print, the form retains many of the characteristics of manuscript. Most quality comics still use hand lettering because the trace of the artist’s hand is essential to the unity of word and image. The publishing tradition reinforces the situation: since the 1960s, many alternative comics writers have begun by producing self-published fanzines, in which the handmade feel of the text is part of the reading experience. Some writers and artists, like Craig Thompson and Chris Ware, explicitly acknowledge the importance of the handmade nature of their work, while for others the evidence is to be found in the design and stylistic qualities of their texts.

Emma Tinker is a second year PhD student in the English department at University College London, writing on representations of subjectivity in alternative comics. Her research focuses on the ways in which writers and artists use the comic book form to discuss ideas about identity and perception.