Friday, February 22, 2013

Seeing Comics

Starry Eyed
© Shenn

What do we see when we look at comics? 

  • Do we see the face of the artist, speaking through the colorful composition of this comic? 
  • Do we see the art or the artistry speaking directly to us? 
  • Do we see our own adopted social identity - contemplative, playful, pensive - reflected back to us? 
  • Do we see a mere affirmation that we're looking at what is - and, by association, that which we ourselves are - popular, hip, funky, cool, badass, obscure, or refined? 
  • Or do we see nothing at all? Maybe we only look to comics in an attempt to close ourselves off from a world that we find threatening, strange, annoying, exhausting, or simply dull. 

Clearly, at different times, we see all of these things when we look at comics. When we place ourselves into the comic world, we isolate ourselves; and yet, we isolate ourselves within a world of culture, expression, and individual and social meanings. And, when we attempt to encounter the other through comics, we can't help but see our own identity reflected back: I am the kind of person who likes Dilbert or Snoopy or Shenn's Contemplative Comics. When we look at comics, we see (and find) private meanings. 

Perhaps what is of greater philosophical significance here is the fact that when we look at comics, we see so much more than just comics. We see the world - and ourselves - in a whole new way!

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