What exactly are comics? Can they be art, literature, or even pornography? How should we understand the characters, stories, and genres that shape them? Thinking about comics raises a bewildering range of questions about representation, narrative, and value. Philosophy of Comics is an introduction to these philosophical questions. In exploring the history and variety of the comics medium, Sam Cowling and Wesley D. Cray chart a path through the emerging field of the philosophy of comics. Drawing from a diverse range of forms and genres and informed by case studies of classic comics such as Watchmen, Tales from the Crypt, and Fun Home, Cowling and Cray explore ethical, aesthetic, and ontological puzzles, including: - What does it take to create-or destroy-a fictional character like Superman? - Can all comics be adapted into films, or are some comics impossible to adapt? - Is there really a genre of "superhero comics"? - When are comics obscene, pornographic, and why does it matter? At a time of rapidly growing interest in graphic storytelling, this is an ideal introduction to the philosophy of comics and some of its most central and puzzling questions.Cowling and Cray's volume is a thorough and engaging study in the philosophy of comics-certainly the most significant work yet produced on the subject. Cowling and Cray bring what feels like the full spectrum of Western analytic philosophy to bear on the subject of comics, a subject for which they offer an equally broad scope. For someone familiar with philosophy, but not comics-or comics but not philosophy-this book will be incredibly informative. For someone familiar with both, it promises to be delightfully provocative. I predict an avalanche of commentary to follow it. Personally, I expect to spend a long time untangling my own responses to this book.
Sam Cowling is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Denison University, USA.
Wesley D. Cray is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Texas Christian University, USA.