Thursday, December 1, 2011

Project Proposal

For my final project, I would like to continue with the revision I have been working with all along. Each time I’ve revised, I feel like I have a lot of good ideas but the focus is kind of lacking so I want to take the opportunity to really focus those ideas and apply them to both Vertigo and Jimmy Corrigan for the final project.

My main argument for the previous revisions have been that Vertigo is a comic that must be read in a unique way due to its unique style of telling a story. It requires the reader to take into account even the tiny details of the drawings before each new one in order for the story to make sense. Since it is lacking words, the “correct” interpretation can be difficult to arrive at. I mentioned the psychological idea of “top down processing” as a way to explain how the reader must work with the details.

What will be new to my final project/revision is that I would like to add in examples of this intense reading of comics from Jimmy Corrigan. The importance of paying attention to details between this book and Vertigo is very similar. I’m also going to compare the uniqueness of the two books in relation to typical comics. While Jimmy Corrigan looks like a normal comic at first glance, the images and layouts are very different from what we’re used to. I’m also going to discuss how words are so important for Jimmy Corrigan and so unimportant (since they don’t even exist) in Vertigo as a compare/contrast section. For this reason, I think that it will be fitting to link the two books together even though Jimmy Corrigan does have words and the passage of time is shown very differently. My main goal is for the argument that I’m trying to make to be very clear. In my previous revisions, I think I really tried to do that, but it ended up being a lengthy, cluttered mess of half ideas.

Also, last time I focused solely on top-down processing but I have come to realize that there is a lot of bottom-up processing involved as well. So, I’ve found some sources to add that and in doing so, I’ve come across some ideas about visual processing that I would like to talk about to explain how it’s possible that we come up with enough ideas to create a story from a bunch of what would otherwise be random pictures.


My main sources will be the articles used in previous revisions, Vertigo, Jimmy Corrigan, and McCloud.

“Reading Comics” by Douglas Wolk (book)

This article on words in comics :



  1. This is definitely a good idea, and I think bringing Jimmy Corrigan in is a really good way to show how comics can be unconventional. Rather than focusing on the differences between the two works, though, I would put the emphasis on their similarities. Most people would look at Jimmy Corrigan and assume it's a comic, despite its unique qualities that separate it from a traditional comic. I think your goal should be to show how Vertigo also can be looked at in a similar light. You can still talk about the importance of words in Jimmy Corrigan, but I think it would support your argument more to compare it to traditional comics. Jimmy Corrigan went to one extreme in terms of word use while Vertigo went to the other, so if one is still a comic, so is the other. Another good comparison you might want to consider is the statements being made about America in both and how they are told through the details of the illustrations.

  2. Obviously, I see a lot to like in your ongoing revisions, and I'm fine with you revisiting it again. But I also see you setting yourself up for more of the same in some ways. Adding bottom-down processing to top-down processing is good, incorporating a detailed reading of Jimmy Corrigan is good- but I'm a little fuzzy on what your argument will be. Honestly, I think you're a little fuzzy too. For all of your strengths, you seem to struggle with clarifying the animating idea behind a whole essay.

    What do we gain, as readers of challenging and difficult comics, by understanding both types of processing? How do they relate to (almost) pur e wordlessness, vs. extensive incorporation of words? What do you intend to do about the pure simplicity of Vertigo's panels (one per page...) vs. the convolutions of Corrigan's?

    I'm confident that you can pull off something interesting. But if you want it to be outstanding, you'd benefit tremendously from working on the clarity of the argument as a whole - and if it's unclear what the argument as a whole is *to you*, that's the place to start.