Scott McCloud famously posited (among other things) in Understanding Comics that it was the sequential nature of the medium — the fact that images were placed one next to the other — that gave them their uniqueness and strength. As a reader, one couldn’t help but create a connection or story of some sort between two images placed together, even if none existed. Comics, in other words, is an inherently narrative medium.
Or is it? That’s the question — one among several — that Abstract Comics, a new anthology edited by Andrei Molotiu, asks. If you’re the sort of person, like me, who gets off on these sort of labyrinthine, subjective, academic questions, then you’re sure to like this book (in fact, chances are you’ve already bought a copy). But even if the very mention of the word “abstract” makes you poke your fingers in your ears and go “La la la la”, I’d strongly recommend the book, as it contains a number of strikingly beautiful images and sequences.