I reviewed Dale Jacobs’ book Graphic Encounters: Comics and the Sponsorship of Multimodal Literacy for The Comics Grid last month. The review is Open Access, is available in both PDF and full-text form, and includes a far greater works cited list than a book review really should.
The cover of the book is amusing to me, as it calls to mind both Clark Kent’s quick-change transformation to Superman, and, perhaps unintentionally, a trenchcoat ‘flasher’ — a very ‘graphic’ encounter indeed!
Early on in the book, Jacobs plays with the notion that comics are, as Wertham long-ago suggested, a ‘seductive’ medium, and that audiences are changed irrevocably by these ‘graphic encounters’ — but it’s not just comics that are seductive in this way, but literacy in general. Just riffing off of the cover of the book, I think applying the trenchcoat flasher metaphor to the idea of literacy sponsorship is … intriguing, if more than a little disturbing! Jacobs book doesn’t proceed in that direction, though.
I was very familiar with the idea of multimodality before picking up Graphic Encounters, but knew very little about Literacy Sponsorship. Fortunatly, it’s the second aspect which Jacobs explores the most in depth, so I got a lot out of this volume.
This was the second academic book review I’ve done, although it is the first to be published. It was also my first experience with Open Access Publication. I’m becoming more and more of a supporter of Open Access scholarship, but that’s probably the topic for another blog post. The bottom line is that only a small group of academics will have access to that other book review when it is published, but I was able to share my review of Graphic Encounters over social media with friends, family, colleagues, and anyone who is interested. So if you are interested — go check it out!