A brief comic considering the rendering of the Auster character in the graphic narrative “City of Glass” as a caricature of the Auster author. Touches on how the transition from a medium relying almost entirely on words to one that synthesizes words and images affects the reader’s interpretation and the artist’s original intent.
This Comic looks at Paul Auster’s City of Glass, and the books capability to simultaneously acknowledge deconstruction yet also turn it on its head.
For reference :”Deconstruction is A philosophical movement and theory of literary criticism that questions traditional assumptions about certainty, identity, and truth; asserts that words can only refer to other words; and attempts to demonstrate how statements about any text subvert their own meanings: “In deconstruction, the critic claims there is no meaning to be found in the actual text, but only in the various, often mutually irreconcilable, ‘virtual texts’ constructed by readers in their search for meaning” (Rebecca Goldstein)”
I chose this comic out of the others in the Best American Comics of 2008 anthology to respond to because it was so much different from the others. As my comic explains, the entire “comic” has no dialog and is simply a narration, just as if it were a book. While McCloud defines comics as “juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer,” (p. 9) I would argue that simply pictures with captions are not necessarily comics. There is no real sense of action in any of the illustrations either. They jump around and seem to serve only to follow the events in the story, as told by the narration.
Paul Auster comments frequently on the use of words and their ‘power’ or ‘meanings’ during his novel. In the graphic adaptation, this is further exemplified through the different uses of fonts and the sometimes symbolic imagery of his speaking characters. He presents 3 main views on the topic of words. The first is expressed through Peter Stillman Jr. and mainly consists of words are nothing more than broken fragments of our reality that we have dreamed up in order to convey ideas in a collaborative way. The second is presented by Peter Stillman Sr. and the work of John Milton. This is mainly the contention that words had power up until the fall of man, and then they lost their meaning, so we must regain the innocence of words to re-attain the paradise that God created for us. Finally, the author Paul Auster expresses his own view through the experience of Peter Stillman Jr., the character of Devin Quinn, and the narrator at the end of the novel. I believe he means to say that the true place of words in our world falls somewhere in between these two extremes. Words have power, but not in the idea that hey are an object’s essence, but rather that we can shape ideas and use them to do so many varied tasks. Without them, we would end up like Peter Stillman Jr. and Quinn at the end of the novel; alone, partially insane, and lost to the world, and ourselves.
In this response , I explored the alternate reality of Daniel Quinn being a more forceful detective. Rather than trying to slowly gain Stillman’s trust and stealthily uncover his plan, I think it would be more effective (and action-packed) to just grab him when he least expects it and haul him off. This way, there is complete certainty that the target would have been captured too early rather than too late, as he jumps off a bridge and kills himself before Quinn can uncover the whole mystery.
This is how I picture the conversation going between Will and Abe when trying to describe Dickinson College.