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The System of Comics

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  101 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
This edition of Thierry Groensteen's "The System of Comics" makes available in English a groundbreaking work on comics by one of the medium's foremost scholars. In this book, originally published in France in 1999, Groensteen explains clearly the subtle, complex workings of the medium and its unique way of combining visual, verbal, spatial, and chronological expressions. T ...more
Published January 19th 2007 by University Press of Mississippi (first published 1999)
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Nov 05, 2015 Whitney rated it liked it
I don't know who to blame for the prose, Groensteen or the translators. But the insights into form are helpful even when the sentences are run-ons.
Guilherme Miorando
Quem estuda quadrinhos e, principalmente quem os estuda academicamente, deve ter O Sistema dos Quadrinhos como uma bibliografia indispensável. Nele, o autor Thierry Groensteen dá um enfoque novo para os quadrinhos: não como literatura, nem como arte, nem como mídia, mas como um sistema, como a linguagem. Para isso, ele divide o livros em três artrologias: a do quadro, a da sequência e da rede. Dessa forma, entendemos como a linguagem dos quadrinhos se articula. Se num primeiro instante a teoria ...more
Capili April
Mar 22, 2017 Capili April rated it liked it
This is the 3rd time I've finished reading this relatively slim volume. A hard read--perhaps because of the technical language, perhaps because he engages with other French-language comics theorists, or perhaps it's the English translation-- but rewarding if you persist. And yet in some ways, the things he says are basic: he provides a description of the components of the 9th art, the uses and functions of these elements, and in general argues for an understanding of comics as a language or syst ...more
Derek Royal
Jul 24, 2013 Derek Royal rated it really liked it
A meticulously laid out, and well thought out, study that brings much to comics studies. Groensteen has established a standard for the study of visual narrative, and one that is invaluable. For English readers, though, there may be the problem of reference. The vast majority of the comics that Groensteen cites are Franco-Belgian - which makes sense - and with whom (I would guess) most English-speaking readers are unfamiliar. Herge is probably the most recognizable artist that Groensteen cites, b ...more
Asher J. Klassen
Feb 09, 2015 Asher J. Klassen rated it really liked it
Not that it really needs to be said, but this text is a masterpiece of semiotic theory. It's been a cornerstone of (at least of the anglophone side) our field for nearly a decade, laying the groundwork for most formal and visual analysis undertaken by comics scholars. It's also phenomenally dense, unwieldy, and limited to a view of the comics form that relies on the implicitly linguistic terms on which semiotic theory operates. It is, in short, an imperfect text. It's been both a thrill and a ha ...more
Jan 15, 2016 Norman rated it really liked it
This is the hardest book for me to review. It's French in origin where thankfully comics are taken seriously. However the French also take things VERY seriously indeed. Think semiotics meets orthography with a splash of "spatio-topical" system. A really heavy book but really interesting. I wish I knew more about the subjects he uses to disprove current inadequate definitions of comics. Why is it called 'system' of comics - because no definition is adequate! A must for true scholars; others stick ...more
May 19, 2013 Jeffrey rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, non-fiction
I don't necessarily feel the need to weigh in on theories of comics - what they are, how they work - but it's still something I think about, especially when I'm teaching. Good food for thought in this book, even if it's not for the casual comics reader or maker. I liked this line quite a bit:
"Comics has the unique capacity to be able to illustrate with the same force of conviction the 'real,' the imagined, the thought, and the felt - and in the transition from one panel to the next it can glide
Mar 12, 2012 Bryan rated it it was ok
Good if you're a theorist or academic, but is otherwise pretty difficult to understand. The practicality of the book, at least for me, was minimal. I was looking to use it in a essay, but would struggle with it for hours on end and only extract a little information. What I would have liked is a reference manual on how to de-construct a comic book; what to look for. In short, this books actually makes me not want to read comic books, as it sort of takes the "fun" out of it.

Would not recommend it.
Jan 16, 2009 Jesse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The French take their comics (Bande dessinée) very seriously and this study, by one of the most prolific scholars on the subject, lays the foundation for a semiotic analysis of comics. Among the contributions of this book are the postulates that the basic interpretive unit of comics is the frame (not the line or the word) and that the medium is characterized, not by a blend of text and image, but by a struggle between figuration and narrativity.
the gift
this is an excellent theoretical exploration of the graphic mode of storytelling, perhaps too dependent on familiarity, close inspection, of Belgian and French work. this inspires another look at some, an engaging, philosphical investigation of this ninth art, how it differs from lit, from film, from non-narrative art...
Karna Mustaqim
May 19, 2008 Karna Mustaqim rated it it was amazing
Buku teori komik dari pendekatan semiologis. Sepertinya kita akan segera mendisiplinkan komik sbg ilmu tersendiri, tentu saja bukan setahun dua ini, mungkin setidaknya dalam 5-10 tahun mendatang studi komik akan mendapatkan kajian yang sangat menantang. =)
Tim Jones
Sep 28, 2014 Tim Jones rated it really liked it
This is about as good and concrete of a theory of how comics works as you're going to get, however, in the grand French theoretical tradition, it also coins about 8 new words per page and seems insistent on being difficult.
Apr 10, 2012 Stephen rated it it was amazing
A little dense with the grammar but once you read through it the text is very rewarding to understanding why comics are a diverse medium that deserve the respect from the art and literary communities.
Zoe Elizabeth
Sep 24, 2012 Zoe Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-school
This is a super fascinating book if you're interested in exploring comics on a deeper level. The intro was a little dense, and hard to read, but I enjoyed the rest of it.
Feb 16, 2016 Gabriel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: maitrise
Livre excellent sur le domaine de la bande dessinée qui regorge d'exemple pour démontrer ses propos adéquoitement.
David Press
Jan 23, 2014 David Press rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
Finally a book applying semiotics to comics and I'm really glad I read it.
Jul 12, 2011 Mary added it
Read intro and some sections from the middle; good but theoretically dense!
May 31, 2007 Tom rated it liked it
Interesting things to say, used it for my thesis. Sometimes, a little aloof / difficult to read, as with most works of criticism.
Guillaume rated it really liked it
Oct 27, 2015
Mathieu Lachance
Mathieu Lachance rated it really liked it
May 04, 2017
Christian rated it it was ok
Sep 10, 2007
Chelsea Harris
Chelsea Harris rated it really liked it
Jun 02, 2016
Sam Cason
Sam Cason rated it liked it
Apr 07, 2013
Bittencourt rated it it was amazing
Oct 24, 2015
Alyssa Krueger
Alyssa Krueger rated it liked it
Feb 12, 2014
Nathanael Quashie
Nathanael Quashie rated it it was amazing
Jul 16, 2016
De-ciphered rated it liked it
Nov 17, 2011
Lisa Detora
Lisa Detora rated it really liked it
Jun 05, 2012
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Christophe Dony rated it really liked it
Apr 22, 2012
Kat rated it really liked it
Mar 19, 2012
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