Since the introduction and subsequent growth of the tablet market the comic book industry has seen a renewed focus on experimental digital comic formats. Through this exploration of infinite comics, motion comics, guided-view comics and motion books the very core ideas of ‘what a comic is and does’ are being challenged, discussed and solidified. The focus of this presentation is how those creators involved with the new experimental digital comic formats, such as Marvel’s Infinite Comics, Madefire’s Motion Books and DC’s DC Squared, talk about the projects and formats they are working on. Through discourse analysis we are able to look at how creators are constructing both their own identity as well as the identity of the comic book industry and medium during this time of change. In particular, this presentation applies Sherry Ortner’s reactive discourse, a defensive discourse targeted at establishing what digital comics are not, and introduces what I call the relational discourse of digital comics, a more positive discourse focused on relating the new digital comic format to certain core comic book ideals. Utilising the reactive and relational discourse to analyse the talk of comic book creators places the practitioner back at the centre of comic book studies and allows us to examine what comics are for creators and how creators are responding to the ongoing digitisation of the comic book industry.
Troy Mayes is a PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide in the Media Department. He holds a Bachelor of Media (Hons.) from the University of Adelaide. His thesis is on comic book workers and the digitisation of the comic book industry.