Just thought I’d collect links to a number of writings on comics I’ve done over the years on comics history and aesthetics, as well as some of the great or otherwise significant works that have shaped it, here and elsewhere. Hopefully it will be interesting or useful to anybody interested in the subject, not the least students that I’ve bored with it in the seminar room. Anyway, here’s an overview:


  • Tempus Fugit (Degas, Comics)
    Essay on Edgar Degas, comics and representations of movement in nineteenth-century visual culture.
  • One Flew Out of the Cuckoo’s Nest: Comics Between Old and New
    On the history of comics as popular culture.
  • The Graphic Novel Tradition?
    Toward a canon of the graphic novel. More here.

  • Aesthetics

  • Flipping the Script: Comics and Classical Art
    The ideal and the grotesque: two sides of a coin.
  • Critiquing a Lively Art
    On how a low culture art form might be seen as important in the high-culture canon.
  • Hergé and the Order of Things
    Hergé, Tintin, and the importance of deep form in comics.
  • What’s the Story?
    Essay on how comics operate on levels beyond the strictly narrative and the significance of word and image for comics as art.

  • The Canon

  • Comic Tranformations: Töpffer and the Reinvention of Comics in the Nineteenth Century
    In-depth examination of the comics of Rodolphe Töpffer and the comics tradition they energized.
  • Word Made Inky Flesh
    Robert Crumb’s Genesis and incarnation in comics.
  • The Dreams of Children
    Introducing Quino’s comic strip classic Mafalda.
  • The Constant Garage
    On Moebius’ stream-of-consciousness masterpiece, Major Fatal.
  • Ishoku
    Introduction to the great Japanese auteur Yoshiharu Tsuge.
  • New Yorker Cartoons: A Legacy of Mediocrity
    A critique of the Mothership of American (gag) cartooning and its discontents.
  • Jimmy Corrigan’s Spectacular Reality
    On Chris Ware’s groundbreaking graphic novel and its visual language.
  • Kramers Ergot 4
    A critical dissection of the most significant anthology of the naughts.
  • Gary Panter’s Jimbo in Purgatory
    An examination of Panter’s delirious revisioning of Dante and Boccaccio, et. al.
  • Chester Brown’s Louis Riel
    On the representation of modernity and visual exegesis in Brown’s historical masterpiece.
  • Images Have Power
    A critique of the infamous Danish Muhammad Cartoons.
  • Sacred and Profane Love
    On Chester Brown’s autobiographical book on prostitution Paying for It and his sacred imagery.
  • True Lies
    Dominique Goblet’s Faire semblant c’est mentir and the representation of lived reality in comics
  • Respect the Architect
    The hole at the center of David Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp.

  • Images from Gustave Doré, Hergé and studio, Cliff Sterret, Chris Ware, and Moebius.