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date: 13 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Dramatic recent growth in comics research suggests that comics studies has matured as a field, perhaps even constituting an emergent discipline. Yet important questions about the nature of this field and how it relates to established academic disciplines remain unresolved. This introductory chapter examines the genealogy of comics studies and explores the relationship between theory and method as a proxy for the field’s “paradigmatic” status. Four theories of page layout are analyzed as examples of theorization in comics studies. Drawing on Robert T. Craig’s “constitutive metamodel” of communications theory, the chapter ultimately rejects both attempts to retread the path of established humanities disciplines such as English literature and film studies and arguments against disciplinarity as such, calling instead for a dialogic conception of academic disciplines that continually reflects on the differences through which they are constituted.

Keywords: comics studies, disciplinarity, genealogy, page layout, theorization

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