'Reading' Pictures in Comics
Translation: Peter Waterhouse
'Picture' and 'writing' interfere with one another in various ways in comics. Not only are words placed within pictures, but pictures are bound to point in the same direction as words: panels in comics are 'read' from left to right in compliance with western literary tradition, and from the top of the page downwards.
Shifting 'pictures' into the sphere of writing, crowding them into chronological order, leads to conflict, an element that, fortunately, has been put to narrative and aesthetic use by a number of artists. I want to concentrate on this aspect, which is exemplary of a kind of complexity that can only be found in comics - subtle forms of presentation behind the facade of action and brutality. In the process, I hope to highlight the individuality of the medium as compared to its' relatives, literature and film. The phenomena I want to talk about do not exist in the global structure, in the overall story as told by the pictures; they become visible on a local, microstructural level, in small print so to speak.