Early comics scholars, themselves often practitioners, as well as theorists, of their art form, were intent on establishing the legitimacy of the field and the particular characteristics that distinguished the comics medium from its more conventional literary and visual brethren. Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, published in 1993, and Will Eisner’s Comics and Sequential Art, published in 1985 and revised in 1990, for instance, both endeavored to spell out exactly what comics were and how they might be studied and taught. Recent offerings in the discipline, however, have departed from defining and defending comics to focus on the ethics of the medium and the specific ways in which it can enrich our understanding of various modes of otherness.

A new crop of scholarly books has taken aim at precisely how the comics medium dramatizes and calls into question issues of representation...

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