Where Comics + Children’s Books Collide

I recently visited Portland State’s campus to pick up a copy of some books that I helped design this past year, and discovered that my master’s thesis has been downloaded by a bunch of folks since it was uploaded to PDX Scholar at the end of August. Apparently people want to read about the intersection between comics and children’s books! Maybe you would like to read it?

Here’s the abstract to whet your interest:

When did speech bubbles first appear in children’s picture books? In what ways have speech bubbles been co-opted from comic books to serve picture book narratives? What does this example suggest about the future of children’s books co-opting the visual language of comic books? The visual language of comics has slowly permeated American popular culture since the first regular newspaper strip, Richard Felton Outcault’s The Yellow Kid, back in 1895. From the onomatopoetic visuals in the campy ‘60s Batman television series and pop art paintings of Roy Lichtenstein, to the never-ending string of superhero-based blockbuster movies today, comics have been co-opted and adapted to almost every medium imaginable. One area slow to embrace the visual language of comics is perhaps the most similar in form in terms of its relationship between words and images: the children’s picture book. A closer look at the historically poor reception of comics by the gatekeepers of children’s literature will illuminate the tension between comics and picture books, and underscore the innovation of fusion texts that meld elements from comics with picture books.

If you’d like to download the paper and read it (it’s got lots of pictures, as I am a visual person at heart), you can find it on PDX Scholar here: linky link.

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