Christian W. Schneider

Framing Fear

The Gothic Mode in Graphic Literature

In recent years, the medium of comics has finally attained enough cultural recognition to be discussed as a valid form of artistic expression by critics and readers alike. However, acknowledging merely respectable ‘graphic novels’ fails to grasp the formal and emotional possibilities shaping comics as a form of graphic literature. These possibilities are also visible in its less respectable recesses, particularly the mode of lurid horror and decay: the Gothic. Surfacing in various media, the Gothic is another critical concept increasingly gaining attention and respect. Yet, there has not been a systematic analysis of the conceptual overlap of Gothic and comics so far. This is what this study tries to remedy. Based on a cognitively-oriented model of both the Gothic’s specific affective pull and the complex formal arrangement of words and images in comics, it analyses several graphic texts from different genres and their diverse Gothic aspects. Within these multi-faceted contexts, it explores how the Gothic mode may be manifested in graphic literature, which affective and cognitive effects it has on its readers and how it expresses a very specific world-view that goes far beyond cheap thrills and lurid spectacle.

ISBN 978-3-86821-511-3, 300 S., 10 Abb., kt., € 35,00 (2014)

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