Contemporary Comics Storytelling


Contemporary Comics Storytelling

Karin Kukkonen

Frontiers of Narrative Series

248 pages
13 drawings


October 2013


$55.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

February 2020


$55.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

October 2013


$55.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

What if fairy-tale characters lived in New York City? What if a superhero knew he was a fictional character? What if you could dispense your own justice with one hundred untraceable bullets? These are the questions asked and answered in the course of the challenging storytelling in Fables, Tom Strong, and 100 Bullets, the three twenty-first-century comics series that Karin Kukkonen considers in depth in her exploration of how and why the storytelling in comics is more than merely entertaining.

Applying a cognitive approach to reading comics in all their narrative richness and intricacy, Contemporary Comics Storytelling opens an intriguing perspective on how these works engage the legacy of postmodernism—its subversion, self-reflexivity, and moral contingency. Its three case studies trace how contemporary comics tie into deep traditions of visual and verbal storytelling, how they reevaluate their own status as fiction, and how the fictional minds of their characters generate complex ethical thought experiments. At a time when the medium is taken more and more seriously as intricate and compelling literary art, this book lays the groundwork for an analysis of the ways in which comics challenge and engage readers’ minds. It brings together comics studies with narratology and literary criticism and, in so doing, provides a new set of tools for evaluating the graphic novel as an emergent literary form.

Author Bio

Karin Kukkonen, Balzan Postdoctoral Research Fellow at St. John’s College, University of Oxford, is the author of Studying Comics and Graphic Novels and coeditor of Metalepsis in Popular Culture.


"If you love comics, you will want to read this [book] as it will provide you with a new lens from which to read them."—Christopher Lewis, Dad of Divas

"This book is valuable for expanding the horizons of both comics studies and cognitive studies."—A. M. Laflen, CHOICE

"Contemporary Comics Storytelling is a welcome addition to comics scholarship and a useful study for anyone interested in the ways we engage with visual narrative."—Derek Royal,

Table of Contents

 List of Illustrations
1. How to Analyze Comics Cognitively
2. Textual Traditions in Comics: Fables, Genre, and Intertextuality
3. Fictionality in Comics: Tom Strong, Storyworlds, and the Imagination
4. Fictional Minds in Comics: 100 Bullets, Characterization, and Ethics

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