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Pencil Panel Page


Welcome to the third post in the Pencil Panel Page roundtable on George Herriman’s Krazy Kat. We are glad to have found a new home here at Hooded Utilitarian, and as Adrielle said in her inaugural post, you should dive into our archives here.

Since there has been some concern expressed on the Hooded Utilitarian site about the state of linguistic analysis, I wish to start my post on Krazy Kat with a note about the linguistic analysis of comics in general. As a linguist, I am most interested in the way that linguistic codes function in comics. I concentrate on the analysis of dialogue using methods borrowed from conversation analysis, primarily but not exclusively to highlight the interrelationship of language and identity. You might take a look at my essay on verbal camp in the Rawhide Kid as an example. But in addition to discourse analysis, and especially for my posts on Pencil Panel Page, I draw broadly on morphology, lexical semantics, dialect and register, as well as principles of bilingual code-switching, among others. Some commenters on Hooded Utilitarian have cited Hannah Miodrag’s book, Comics and Language (2013); Adrielle’s post two weeks ago mentions it. I would also like to note that I edited a collection of essays called Linguistics and the Study of Comics, published by Palgrave in 2012. You can read the table of contents and the introductory chapter here. My understanding is that Neil Cohn has a new book in the works, as well, about visual language. This is a very exciting time to be a linguist and to have interest in comics! And for those of you who are concerned about the dearth of linguistic analysis in comics, never fear! Much more is coming.