Journal Article

Architecture and the Graphic Novel

Journal of Illustration
Volume 6 Number 2

pages. 341–364

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Richard McGuire’s Here (2014) and Chris Ware’s Lost Buildings (Glass et al. 2004) are discussed as examples of graphic novels that demonstrate a synergistic relationship with architecture. The synergistic relationship is examined through its use of decorative forms and the use of architectural reference as a narrative device and a signifier of space and time. The article goes on to explore the potential for archi- tectural structures to function as graphic novels. The late medieval frescos attributed to the architect and painter Giotto, that decorate the chapels at Assisi and Padua, are used as examples of illustrations that rely on their architectural context. Giotto’s work is explored as a model to inform the development of the graphic novel into an architectural form. Laura Jacobus’ (1999) and Jenetta Rebold Benton’s (1989) anal- yses of Giotto’s works at Padua and Assisi provide us with an understanding of Giotto’s work and the importance of decorative features in relation to the audience’s perception of real and pictorial space, experienced time and narrative time. Jacobus’ and Rebold Benton’s analysis is then applied to two of London’s Art on the Underground projects by Wallinger and Trabizian and also The Factory, Hong Kong. At these contemporary architectural sites, images have been installed to rehabilitate mundane structures and enrich the users experience. The installed imagery allows users to become immersed in narratives by eroding barriers between real and pictorial space, experienced time and narrative time. These contemporary examples describe the graphic novel’s potential to be authored and read as an architectural form.

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