“Comic” Theory 101: Seeing Rhymes

At long last, I finally have a new “Comic” Theory 101 article up at Comixpedia. This one delves into the possibilities of “visual rhyming” and how we can play with it in practice, particularly in visual poetry.

For those who are curious, the first two examples come from a piece I did waaaaay back in 1998 called “Life is where Love is” that has yet to be posted online (though its in the Meditations book already). The large pages, of course, are from my La Belle Dame Sans Merci adaptations, the second version of which is being serialized twice a week. The final poem is brand new for the article.


  • Hi, Neil. Great site — love what you’re doing. I’m going to link to you on my Literacy Loop blog.

    I read the article, and I think what you’ve said is very interesting. I’m definitely with you on the whole visual language thing (putting sequences of images together is a visual language). But the poetry and “rhyme”? I’m not sure. While we all recognize that your last “visual poem” (can you call it that?) is a limerick, we only know this because we already know the pattern of a limerick from our knowledge of verbal or written poetry. I wonder, for example, if you were to show a child who hasn’t yet learned a limerick structure, if they would be able to reconize the patterns.

    And can we call it poetry if it’s visual? I’m still struggling with that one. To me, poetry is words. Capturing the same feelings/message/structure/theme/whatever using images — I call that art. 🙂

  • Hi Adrienne, thanks for the link and the comments. I can understand if the idea of visual “rhyme” is a bit hard to get at, and the limerick idea was just a fun way to play with theory in practice.

    I think that if you can accept that sequences in image are a language, then recognizing the poetic value of them is natural to follow. For me the recognition of poetry preceded the theory of visual language (as is shown in my Meditations comics).

    While the limerick was a fun way to translate verbal patterns into visual form, what real visual poetry needs is to play with the properties of its own form. My next column is going to do just that, and I hope you’ll stick around to check it out.

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