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December 09, 2010


Sarah Stone

Thanks for this beautiful, multifaceted exploration of graphic novels, Carolyn. I love "The constraint of the frame ... becomes part of the power of the story." It seems true for other kinds of fiction as well, and perhaps one reason that it's such a pleasure to read novels with complicated or fragmented structures, or other novels and stories.

Another wonderful graphic work is David Small's Stitches, a memoir in which the behavior of the family is so surreally awful -- and the consequences to the author so great -- that it would have been hard to handle in words alone. In the graphic novel, we are watching and listening. Perhaps that sense of distance you describe allows for an unconscious sense of the narrative's credibility. How could we believe such things if they were just described? But we "see" them, and see visual equivalents for emotions. Of course, you could do it through imagery, if confining yourself to the written word, but it has a different flavor.

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