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Metaphoricity of Conventionalized Diegetic Images in Comics

A Study in Multimodal Cognitive Linguistics


Michał Szawerna

This book offers a cognitive-semiotic approach to metaphoricity of visual representations in static visual narratives referred to as comics. It implements this approach in an exploration of conventionalized visual signs depicting diegetic situations, motion events, sound events, and diverse psychological experiences in such narratives. With his focus on the intersection of comics studies, conceptual metaphor theory, and Charles Sanders Peirce’s theory of signs, the author analyzes a broad array of attested data retrieved from comics exemplifying various publication formats, generic conventions, and cultural traditions. His exploration situates the metaphoricity of the analyzed visual signs against the backdrop of their overall semiotic makeup and in relation to the metaphoricity of their linguistic counterparts.

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Chapter 4. Metaphoricity of conventional representations of diegetic sound in comics


4.0. Introduction

In this, the third analytical chapter of my study of the metaphorical underpinnings of major visual conventions belonging to the narrative medium of comics, I will examine the general semiotic makeup and then further explore the metaphoricity of primary conventional representations of diegetic sound events, that is, sound events occurring in diegetic worlds represented in comics exemplifying various publication formats, generic conventions, and cultural traditions. Specifically, the representational conventions subsumed into the analytical scope of this chapter include (1) complex static planar objects referred to metaphorically as balloons, which typically consist of three components: a discrete pictorial container, a linear projection connecting this container to a pictorial image representing the source of the sound visualized in balloonic form, and the contents encapsulated by the balloonic container, which may in turn take the form of quasi-pictorial images (specifically, pictograms), non-pictorial images (specifically, writing or stand-alone punctuation marks), or a combination of these, and (2) stand-alone written text. In the narrative medium of comics, these representational conventions are deployed on a regular basis as visual signs of the audible form of speech events, non-speech vocalizations produced with the use of the speech apparatus, and various environmental sounds.

I have established the status of these representational conventions as primary means of visualizing diegetic sound in the narrative medium of comics on the basis of two facts. Firstly, it is these conventions in particular that are discussed in considerable detail by the major representatives of the...

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