Geraint D’Arcy Interview

Dr. D’Arcy covers inspirations from the worlds of theatre, film, and comics, the materiality of puppets and comics, and the mystery of what’s inside Snoopy’s dog house.

Listen to more

The interview audio is available here at the New Books Network podcast.

What we talked about

What the mise en scène is as it appears in comics studies.

When to use the mise en scène as a tool to understand comics texts, what understanding we gain access to when we use it.

He quotes Pavis that “mise en scène can be used to resist the pull of cultural relativism, subjectivity and ‘nebulous post-modernity’ through the aforementioned ‘precise and exhaustive semiotic description,’” and we explore how his thoughts changed or evolved.

He writes that that in comics “paper actors can be understood through acting methodologies and a remapping of space through mise en scène means a remapping of space in comics.” (P 9) and also that “In comics, the characters are made of the same material as the decor” (P 53) and elaborates on how the staged are also the staging and why this is special in comics. 

D’Arcy talks about how the materiality of comics affect the staging of the narrative. He writes: “We ignore the peripheral topographical narrative because we are distracted by the hypotactic nestling of images within the frames, comfortably unfolding a realist plot, frame by comfortable frame, or maybe through a jazz like asynchopation (Shores 2009), until we are forced by intertextual necessity to look at what we are holding in our hands fully.” (P 97)

As an interdisciplinary scholar, he talks about other fields do he hopes would read the book or use the concepts.

And D’Arcy also shares insight into his personal comics art and upcoming projects. 

About the scholar

Dr. Geraint D’Arcy is a lecturer in Media Practice, at the School of Art, Media and American Studies at the University of East Anglia in the UK and a member of the Comics Studies Research Group. he also wrote Critical Approaches to TV and Film Set Design in 2018, published with Taylor and Francis. He currently works across several courses at the University of South Wales. 

About the book

D’Arcy, Geraint. Mise en Scène, Acting, and Space in Comics. Germany: Springer International Publishing, 2020.

This book explores some of the less frequently questioned ideas which underpin comics creation and criticism. “Mise en scène” is a term which refers to the way in which visual elements work together to create meaning in comics. It is a term that comics have borrowed from cinema, which borrowed it in turn from theatre. But comics are not film and they are not cinema, so how can this term be of any use? If we consider comics to have mise en scène, should not we also ask if the characters in comics act like the characters on film and stage? In its exploration of these ideas, this book also asks what film and theatre can learn from comics.