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date: 18 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines phenomenological aspects of the cartoon in the context of comics reading. A simplified or iconic rendering of a figure, the cartoon has a prominent place in popular culture and in comics history; a large percentage influential and widely read comics have been drawn in iconic fashion. Scholarly definitions of comics as such routinely omit this fact; it is considered a matter of content, not form. Yet the relationship of comics to cartoons works differently from and implicitly challenges conventional understandings of the form/content relation. Several facets of the cartoon’s phenomenological relation to the reader are examined in order to disclose the powerfully self-referential aura of this kind of drawing, key to its effect in the context of comics. This aura may be among the reasons comics have been considered inferior to fine-arts production; it might also contribute to the medium’s often delinquent status in culture at large.

Keywords: cartoon, comics, drawing, phenomenology, form, popular culture, fine arts

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