Representing Processes in Graphic Narrative

  • Paul Fisher Davies
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Comics and Graphic Novels book series (PSCGN)


This chapter discusses Halliday’s ideational metafunction, considering the work of representation, the experiential function of comics, as a set of writerly choices—options a creator may choose, offering affordances that enable a reader to make meaning from the text. It focuses on the process: the other ideational elements operate in relation to this, at the centre of the ‘constellation’, and it is central to building narrative. It outlines four possible approaches to representing the process in comics, each of which have been the focus of prior studies in comics theory. The chapter presents a framework for describing how processes may be represented in graphic narrative, taking the semantic framework proposed by Halliday of six process types and mapping them against four resources for rendering or implying those types with the visual means available to comics. The framework helps lay out some essential groundwork for the book, identifying engagement of the reader in constructing implicature of action through difference, and employing the means of abstraction in order to both structure and pass judgement on the text, as well as to inscribe types of processes that occur in comics discourse. A map of approaches to realising processes in comics helps locate existing comics theories, and genres of comics production, according to the kind of communicative system on which they focus.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Fisher Davies
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SussexBrightonUK

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