1. I adhere to the conventional distinction between “postmodernism” and “postmodernity”: “postmodernity” refers to the social, economic, and political conditions in late capitalist societies beginning with the postwar period, whereas “postmodernism” refers to developments in the cultures and arts within those conditions. As my discussion concentrates on cultural and, more specifically, literary developments, I mainly use the term “postmodernism.”
2. These features are collated from the discussions in New 1999 and in Widdowson 1999.
3. In her recent article “Narrative, Language, and Comics-as-Literature” (2011), Hannah Miodrag proposes to base the “literary” aspect of comics on their use of literary language only. “In seeking proper accreditation of comics’ literariness, critics must acknowledge that it is the formal properties of writing and not the diverse practice of narrating a story that accords specifically literary value,” she writes (2011, 277). Using formally complex language is certainly one of the possible (formal) markers of literariness in comics. However, I propose a much broader, story-based definition of literature, because this takes the social and imaginative dimensions of the phenomenon into account. Unlike Miodrag, I would not hesitate to consider film, opera, and other multimodal media to be literature.
4. In 2010 alone, two new comics journals were launched: Studies in Comics (Intellect) and Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics (Routledge). Various other journals specializing in comics, such as European Comic Art and ImageText, have been published for several years now. Both the University of Mississippi Press and Ohio State University Press have book series devoted to the graphic novel.
5. For example, the special issue on “Graphic Narratives and Narrative Theory” in SubStance (40, no. 1; 2011), the special issue on “Graphia” in English Language Notes (46, no. 2; 2009), or the special issue on “Graphic Narratives” in Modern Fiction Studies (52, no. 4; 2006).