Assembling comics : the house style and legacy of RAW books and graphics
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The purpose of this study is to construct a narrative history of the founding and development of RAW Books and Graphics while providing a critical evaluation of the revolutionary and catalytic house style created by Francoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman through their unique handling of creative assemblage. Despite the strong informal canonization of RAW magazine which has occurred within the field of comics studies and the world of comics fandom, the publication, the publishing house which produced it, and the individuals involved in the production have largely gone unexamined. This project has worked to fill in this critical gap by placed the figures of Mouly and Spiegelman at the forefront, arguing for their position as editors-as-artists, while contextualizing the comics of RAW Books and Graphics within the historical and artistic milieu of the 1980s. This study contributes to a variety of artistic fields, and while it has developed within the specific purview of comics studies, it is in conversation with ideas from auteur-theory, art history, literary criticism, and historiography. Specifically, this project performs three critical interventions: 1) the creation of an original narrative history of one of the most significant and influential comics publishers of the contemporary period, 2) an argument for the artistic role that editors and publishers play in the creation of comics which does not privilege the conventional artist-as-auteur approach, and 3) a critical examination of the aesthetics and significance of the house style of RAW Books and Graphics.
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