Tag Archives: Rock ‘n’ Roll

Comic Books and Rock ‘n’ Roll by LJ Maher

There were a number of paths that lead me away from the law and toward a study of comics, not least of which was that comic books are far more interesting to read than judgements and legislation. However, somewhere along the path I came to see exciting possibilities for comics studies under the umbrella of transmedial storytelling. Where transmedial studies generally focus on cinematic and televisual storyworlds (with some gaming and books thrown in for good measure), I focussed on those storyworlds crafted across music and comic books. Identifying this affinity is hardly ground-breaking; storytelling and music are intimately linked, and comic book bands such as The Archies and Josie and the Pussycats ‘performed’ in the 1960s, while other live-action bands, such as The Monkeys, The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch were also successful musical and narrative performers. Meanwhile, pop-bands such as The Beatles and The Jackson 5ive performed through animations. However, these earlier instances of transmediality are predominantly more reminiscent of transmedial franchising rather than transmedial storytelling. The transmedial elements were marketing strategies, not storyworld telling. Therefore, while music might be an element of these storyworlds, it is as an event that occurs within the story. The music is made accessible to readers as an experience within that world; such music does not contribute the process of telling or expanding the storyworld. More recently, the animated band The Gorillaz also achieved popular acclaim as a band at the centre of a deftly constructed transmedial storyworld and Neil Young also developed the less commercially successful, but equally elegant Greendale narrative.

My particular focus is on transmedial storyworlds where:

1) music and comics are part of the discursive form; and

2) there is an element of autobiographical “frottage”.

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Posted by on 2012/04/27 in Guest Writers


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