Scott McCloud In his Understanding Comics, McCloud notes that comic books have the singular ability to act as “a form of amplification through simplification” (30). In other words, it can be asserted that they have a built in use for tasks often performed by the simplest metaphors, analogies, or any form of figurative language.
Rhetorical Tropes and the Man of Steel Morrison and Quitelys All-Star Superman Question Can recognizing comic book superheroes as forms of visual style, figures and tropes add a greater rhetorical understanding of their potential to persuade an audience? Scott McCloud In his Understanding Comics, McCloud notes that comic books have the singular ability to act as a form of amplification through simplification (30). In other words, it can be asserted that they have a built in use for tasks often performed by the simplest metaphors, analogies, or any form of figurative language. Classical Style The grand style, as defined by Rhetorica Ad Herennium For it is the Grand style that one applies an idea with the most ornate words that can be found for it, whether literal or figurative; if impressive thoughts are chose, suchare used in [the use of figures, such as] Amplification (248). Rhetorical Figures Rhetorical figures, such as amplification, aim to help impress upon an audience the message of the speaker via language or some form of communication. Visual Turn Longinus, in his work On The Sublime, noted that something that lends itself well to notions and production of grandeur, magnificence and urgencyis visualization (phantasia)what some people call image- production (356). Longinus was not specifically referencing the Grand style of rhetoric or the use of images as per say comic books, but the notions he was expressing here do reflect well on the depiction or production of images as beneficial to one wishing to convey elements that would be found in a grand rhetorical style. Larger than Life Douglas Wolk. In his book, Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean, he relates, referring to the genre, that: Superhero comics are, by their nature, larger than life, and whats useful and interesting about their characters is that they provide bold metaphors for discussing ideas and reifying abstractions into narrative fiction (92). The Power of Comics Page 96 of Vol. 2 of All-Star Superman Economy of Space Synecdoche one is presented with two vertical sequential panels on the right-hand side of the page that illustrate the notion of synecdoche One does not have to see the rest of her to infer the notion that she is in pain and distress, at the end of her rope and quite ready to take her own life for some unknown reason... The S is partially obscured by the young girls head, but it is recognizable and along with his hand, placed upon her shoulder, as well as his calming words, one can immediately distinguish a change in the young girls entire mood and posture Metonymy The second trope discussed by Duncan and Smith is metonymy Returning to the page from All-Star Superman, there are two close-ups and one full away examination of emotions Referencing McClouds charts of facial expressions, from his Making Comics, the image of the young girls face falls most closely to pain empathy made up of disgust and sadness (Making Comics 85) Changes in expression Supermans face Symbols and Sequence Metaphors The third trope discussed is that of the sequence metaphor, along with symbols and this is perhaps the most crucial combination of this particular page from All-Star Supermans ability to help generate a deeper sense of meaning beyond what is simply depicted. Symbols and Sequence metaphors The first comes by looking at this page in reference to the entire work of All-Star Superman and noting that of all the acts of heroism portrayed within, this particular and rather simple page is perhaps the most revealing. The revealing quality comes from the two panels found in the right hand side of the page, again. Focusing on specifically two juxtaposed images brings about an examination of impact Superman has as a symbol. From his absence in the first panel to his then appearance in the second, it is incredibly powerful to witness what Superman, as a symbol, has the ability to do in helping this young girl Where nextPresence? The New Rhetoric, it states Because an illustration seeks to increase presence by making an abstract rule [selfless hero] concrete by means of a particular case [Superman], there is a tendency to see an illustration as a vivid picture of an abstract matter. (360). Superman is a powerful image, a vivid image, brought to life on the pages of the medium of comic books. He is a metaphor. Comic books are themselves keen upon the use of metaphors in the visual sense. Moving Forward Supermans presence, as Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca defined it, in All-Star Superman comes from choices made by Grant Morrison, because it is the very fact of selecting certain elements and presenting them to the audience, their importance and pertinence to the discussionimplied [, and that such a] choice endows these elements with presence (The New Rhetoric 116). TO LEAP TALL BUILDING IN A SINGLE PAGE?