Narrative Structure in Comics: Making Sense of Fragments

by Barbara Postema
Price: $29.95


In Narrative Structure in Comics: Making Sense of Fragments, Barbara Postema seeks to explain how comics communicate and create meaning, with an emphasis on two aspects of comics. She first examines the pictorial quality of comics, which receives more emphasis than verbal/textual elements.  Her second focus is upon the storytelling and narrative qualities of comics, as well as the literary explorations they provide. The “narrative structure” refers to the potential of images, the story telling capacities of panels, and the sequence of panels, in addition to the more traditional narratological concepts. Overall, the author presents a credible rationale for the way in which comics structure their narratives. At every level of communication, comics rely on gaps or absences to create meaning and guide the reader to a meaningful experience.

RIT Press is pleased to announce Narrative Structure in Comics: Making Sense of Fragments as the first book published in its Comics Monograph Series. Take a detailed look at the narrative qualities of beloved comics in ways that will educate and excite the reader.

About the Author

Barbara Postema is a SSHRC-funded Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Modern Literature and Culture Research Centre at Ryerson University in Toronto, where she is working on a project about wordless comics. She also teaches in the English Department. She has published several articles in the International Journal of Comic Art.


Book details

Publisher: RIT Press (06/2013)
ISBN-13: 9781933360959
Binding: Softcover
Pages: 188
Illustrations: 40, some color
Size: 7 x 10 in.
Shipping Weight: 1

Table of contents


Introduction: Picture Stories: Comics Considered

1 Draw a Thousand Words: Signification Within Panels

2 Concerning The In-Between: Layout in Frames and Gutters

3 All in a Row: Creating Action Through Sequences

4 Combining Signs: Image-Text Relations

5 Show And Tell: The Process Of Narration


Appendix A: Comics Terminology

Appendix B: Comics History and Genre Overview




"Postema tackles sophisticated issues . . . presenting them with a clarity that is to be admired. . . . While Postema’s attention to detail, where she meticulously walks the reader through each example, and her balanced use of theory makes this an excellent book for young scholars of comics, her sophisticated analysis of the gap also makes it an important resource for established scholars."

Memorial University of Newfoundland
in European Comic Art Volume 7 Number 1, Spring 2014: 112–126