Cognitive Pathfinders: Highlighting Cross-Modal Interaction and the Orchestration of Memory in Comics

in Multimodality


What does it mean to navigate a graphic narrative? Is it just an elaborate analogy for reading or does it typify the level of multimodal negotiation elicited by the graphic novel’s orchestration of its image-text domain? This chapter will attempt to address such enquiry and subsequently aim it towards the furtherance of multimodality as a new discipline by utilizing three of the medium’s more complex graphic novels: David Mazzuchelli’s Asterios Polyp, Chris Ware’s Building Stories, and Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s From Hell. The concept of navigation-asreading will be promoted by addressing the level of plurivectoral scansion and tactile manipulation that each novel mandates. The aim is to demonstrate how the integration of image and text, and the orchestration of visual layout, facilitates a level of cross-modal realization that grants the reader more than one way to navigate the momentary frailty of human relations in Asterios Polyp, account for the fragmented persistence of memory in Building Stories, or identify the diffracted resonance of a protagonist’s stream of consciousness in From Hell.

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