DEC Scan Journal : November 2011
Scan Vol 30 No 4 November 2011 9 Greenberg’s Hamlet elicits an intellec- tual and emotional response, as might a staged production of Shakespeare’s text. A graphic novel requires active reading, including processing images and written text simultaneously, closing moments between panels in order to construct a continuity of the actions occurring in and between the panels, making inferences and making judgements. Knowledge of Shakespeare’s Hamlet can inform Greenberg’s version and vice versa. It offers a fascinating alternative for students to use in the process of refining their own understanding and interpretations of the prescribed text and critically consider(ing) these in the light of the perspectives of others (English Stage 6 Syllabus – Advanced, p.52). Greenberg retains Shakespeare’s language, which would be subject to particular nuances and innuendoes in a theatrical performance, and she explores these shades of meaning through her visual construction and representation. Her approach involves the use and subversion of the comic format. Her panels are determined by colour but do not use traditional solid line borders. Speech balloons and images seep beyond the frames and into the broad black gutters of a metaphysical realm. Inner conscious- ness is unbounded by frames and soliloquies float in bubbles or unframed against a dense black backdrop. Transitions are mainly moment-to-moment or scene-to-scene and the characters are phantasmagori- cal abstractions. These personae are clearly constructs. They are fluid and seem to display emotions through bizarre physical mutations. Mask-like faces are moveable and fragmenting. Symbolic motifs such as pens, paintbrushes, cogs, plants, weeds, and feathers permeate the visual text reinforcing both the themes and constructedness of the drama. Using these devices Greenberg creates a rich, personal impression of the play that can be unpacked to provide a richer understanding of the text in a new context. Figure 2 shows an example of such an analysis. Table 1 Fundamental elements of sequential art literature genre graphic novel gutters intertextual links a category of artistic composition with similar characteristics, subject matter, form or style. Typical comic genres include: horror, adventure, fantasy, crime, science fiction, superheros, and war. a term applied by creators or publishers to longer, self-contained sequential art narratives in an attempt to distinguish them from the briefer, serialised versions of comics. the blank spaces between the panels. A reader mentally fills in the action in the gutters. use of images from other known literature, visual arts, or media arts and the incorporation of these within a new composition. Connections are made by readers who are familiar with the earlier works. splash page symbolia symbols transition a page with one whole illustration, usually used for a title page, but sometimes used within a sequential narrative for effect, detail, significance of a moment, and/or slowing the reading process. composers of graphic literature use a great variety of pictorial and verbal symbols that have become part of the vocabulary of comic book format. A series of z z z z s emanating from a person indicates sleeping and perhaps snoring. Musical notes suggest music playing, or someone singing or whistling. #@%! in a speech bubble indicates swearing. Context is important to give specific meaning to symbolia. images or words that are used to present notions and ideas that go beyond a literal understanding of the images or words themselves. the change that takes place from one panel to the next. It may involve change in time, place, character, point-of-view, or perspective. Term Description Term Description Speech balloons and images seep beyond the frames and into the broad black gutters of a metaphysical realm. Inner consciousness is unbounded by frames and soliloquies float in bubbles or unframed against a dense black backdrop.