Images in Space: The Challenges of Architectural Spatiality in Comics

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A selection of hypercomics that extend the concept of the Infinite Canvas are examined to address the challenges of architectural spatiality. As comics gradually leave behind the trappings of the printed page, the language and tropes unique to print are slowly being modified and replaced by new structures native to the screen. Infinite Canvas comics have expanded and made explicit the spatial network at the heart of the medium. The hypercomic form has introduced new approaches to the creation of branching, multicursal narrative structures. Videogame tropes and game spaces have merged with the comics medium, creating distinct new hybrid forms. As the medium becomes increasingly distanced from its origins in print, it becomes essential to consider other forms comics could potentially adopt as a result of this shift in their underlying tropes and processes.

The chapter takes as its primary case study an architecturally mediated hypercomic created as a practice-lead inquiry into the workings of the form. Alongside comics theory, the paper draws on the study of narrative space within videogames and new media. It considers the use of tropes appropriated from digital comics and explores the tension between fixed sequence and freeform exploration inherent in architecturally mediated works. Ways in which the relative position in three dimensional space between reader and panel sequence can be used for narrative effect are explored. An analysis of how spatial depth impacts on the reader’s experience of panel sequences is included whilst considering the narrative and navigational roles played by perceptual tags. Lastly, the importance of site specificity in architecturally mediated works is examined.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFramescapes
Subtitle of host publicationGraphic Narrative Intertexts
EditorsMikhail Peppas, Sanabelle Ebrahim
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherInter-Disciplinary Press
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-84888-448-9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • hypercomic
  • digital comics


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