'Ragged Time' in Intra-panel Comics Rhythms


Shores C. M.

COMICS GRID-JOURNAL OF COMICS SCHOLARSHIP, vol.6, 2016 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 6
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.16995/cg.79
  • Title of Journal : COMICS GRID-JOURNAL OF COMICS SCHOLARSHIP
  • Keywords: Gilles Deleuze, jazz, phenomenology, ragtime, visual rhythm

Abstract

A phenomenological method of comics analysis can be useful when we need to uncover the structural features of the comics experience itself. One fruitful application would be in the study of irregular intra-panel rhythms, where the temporalized divisions are not visibly indicated but rather are only experienced. By means of Gilles Deleuze's notion of rhythmic repetition and his elaboration of it through Olivier Messiaen's theory of 'kinetic' rhythm, we will formulate a conception of visual rhythm as being based on metrical irregularity. We further explicate this concept of irregular rhythm by drawing upon the notion of 'ragged time' in the early jazz musical form, ragtime. We finally test its usefulness by examining how the 'jazzy' rhythms of Cubist-styled panels by Art Spiegelman and Mary Fleener - generate an experience of ragged time.