Webcomics as mediation | Intellect Skip to content
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Comics Strike Back! Digital Forms, Digital Practices, Digital Audiences
  • ISSN: 2040-3232
  • E-ISSN: 2040-3240

Abstract

This article focuses on Nadja Hermann’s uniquely inspiring webcomic (sometimes translated into English as ‘Emoticomix’), approaching it from a theory of mediation. In recent years, this perspective has been developed into a fine-grained model for the analytical application in comic studies. Applied alongside or complementary to narrative-focused as well as art-focused perspectives, a view on comics as mediation puts into focus the interrelations of communicative-semiotic, material-technological and conventional-institutional aspects of a comic’s production, distribution and reception. makes an excellent, intriguingly complicated test case, as it is at the same time incredibly influential in German-speaking countries while still being mostly neglected by research. ‘Mediation’ focuses on the distribution of agency between all the actors involved with (digital artefacts perceived as) comics: in a semiotic-communicative respect this refers to comic-specific ‘narrative instances’ (like narrators, perceived as distinct from authors or artists) as well as to affordances and limitations of genre traditions; in a material-technological respect it addresses the possibilities and constraints of platforms and material formats, while cultural-institutional perspectives take agency and conflicts distributed between countless personal, institutional or corporate actors into account. My article then discusses how the entangled agentic structures surrounding Hermann’s minimalistic graphics and ‘emoji’-pictures constantly bridge, undermine and negotiate distinctions between comics, cartoons, memes and actual social media commentary.

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2024-05-10
2024-05-26
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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): comic studies; emoji; filter bubbles; mediality; memes; platforms; social media
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