Towards An Understanding of the Form

For a little over a year now, Jon, Clare and myself have been working on this blog, what we've come to call The Long and Shortbox Of It. For me, the site was born out of a crappy summer and the need to do something with myself, to think and to write.

That summer is long past, and the ennui and sorrow that made it so miserable have passed with it, but the need, and the blog, remains. I'm proud of what we three have built here, and I'm glad to say that now, a year and some change in, we have a small but growing dedicated readership, and a place within the online comics community. We have forged something great.

But for most of the past few months, I have been absent. I've been gone for a whole myriad of reasons, none of them particularly interesting or important, but now, I think, I'm ready to return to regular updates. With me, I bring not only a new energy, a new fire to think about comics, but also a manifesto- I am looking towards an understanding of comics as a form.

Those of you who have had the misfortune of sitting through one of my talks at comics studies conferences are well aware that, intellectually, I've become obsessed with form, with style and function. This has mostly manifested itself so far as an interest in how collecting comics changes them, and I think I may have finally hit on something interesting and important, something that says something about the way we understand comic books. It will have to wait until my next presentation or paper but, suffice it to say, I think it will be big.

With that in mind, though, if we zoom out of my own personal interests for a moment, we can see that, in the bigger picture, the form is standing at a crossroads. What it is, precisely, that we want out of the way our comics are presented is a much more important question now than it ever has been before, with the proliferation of digital comics in particular. From here on out, then, most of my work here is going to focus on the questions that such changes raise. Look for posts on reading comics on the iPad. Look for a series about the difference between the original run of Casanova and its rerelease. Most importantly, though, look for these posts to exist as part of a conversation with the form, with the content, with the quality of the work. These issues don't exist in a vacuum, they exist as a larger series of questions, questions that I want to use this space to explore.

I hope you guys don't mind if I take you along for the ride.


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