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Richard McGuire’s Here and the Spatial Ontology of Comics

June 19, 2016



Where? Reflections on Richard McGuire’s Here and the Spatial Ontology of Comics

Soon after entering the window of the textual house Richard McGuire builds for us in Here, we may recognize just how profoundly the architecture of place pervades our reading and seeing. In many ways, Here offers an alternative to the autographies studied throughout Reading Lessons in Seeing. McGuire’s premise enables a departure from the tyranny of the human altogether, presenting instead a series of images representing various moments of time. The year each image is taken from is dutifully reported in accompanying captions. The year comes to figure as a reading anchor, stabilizing our navigation through vastly disconnected images. Most grounding of all is the image of a corner within a house, the very spot from which all the scenes of the graphic novel are taken. That corner undergoes momentous change over the decades, witnessing history remixed, as visual mélange. By reducing humanity as well as history to so many discreet units of possibility, Here presents captivating alternatives not only to comics narrative but also to the presumed subjects of autography. In its pages, place seems able to possess a life worth recounting, but not always according to the same standards of human reason or emotion common to autobiography.

…For more, see the rest of the talk I delivered to the International Comics Art Forum in lovely Columbia, South Carolina on April 14, 2016.

And see the book from which this talk emerges–Reading Lessons in Seeing coming soon from University Press of  Mississippi in 2017.


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