Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
School of Arts & Humanities
Associate Professor Stuart Medley
Dr Christopher Kueh
Beholding a comic is ideally, a pleasure. The work informs, entertains and stimulates the mind in some way. There is no gainsaying which works will affect which beholders howsoever it does, yet the expectation of pleasure from a work of comics makes beholders seek it. Making the comic is also a pleasure, even if the process can be long-winded, winding and difficult. The maker wants to give others the same pleasure they drew from beholding comics, but in their way, making their vision of Batman, Lieutenant Blueberry or, their own story worlds. What this research seeks to explain are many of the considerations and constraints that makers have when producing a work of comics, which can often shape the finished artefact in ways that are not obvious by looking at it. In specific, it seeks to answer a narrower question: can exploring the way tacit knowledge accumulates and is applied, offer a ‘thick’ understanding of comics?
Michael Polanyi argues that tacit knowledge is knowing more than you can say, which in comics is the knowledge makers possess about tools, surfaces, materials, storytelling, pacing, mise en panel and logistics among others. This knowledge is rarely codified. In the comic as commodity, it is hidden from view so that beholders may immerse themselves in the work. Unknown is the iterative process that went into making a work: the moment of inspiration; grappling with the ideas via voluminous preparatory works; handling of materials and tools; working out the logistic dimension and constraints that will determine the type of encounter with the work beholders will have. I propose a Cycle of Erotics as a means to codify this knowledge and give critical commentators another lens for their use in analysing comics; a way of looking through and not just at comics.
Some images and graphic novels are not available in this version of the thesis.
Mutard, B. R. (2021). Bully Me: A graphic novel; The Return: A graphic novel; Comakademix: A comics anthology; Leadbetter: A comic; Laundry: A minicomic -and- The Erotics of Comics: An exegesis. https://ro.ecu.edu.au/theses/2489