Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Graphic Layout as Social Vision in the Disney Comics of Carl Barks

Prof. Donald Ault.

Vector analysis of the visual layout of spatial configurations, cultural representations, and the phenomenological interaction of character gestures and gazes in the pages Carl Barks comics reveals how the comic book page itself has the potential to override both sequentiality and simultaneity and become a scene where the implicit perceptual actions of readers are invited to participate in a complex, potentially utopian social vision. This presentation (involving video projections of vector-analyzed comic page layouts) extends ideas I developed in two of my recent essays, “Visionary Synchronicities in Carl Barks Comics” (Comic Art #4) and “’Cutting Up’ Again, Part II: Lacan on Barks on Lacan” Comics and Culture: Analytical and Theoretical Approaches to Comics. As John Van Hook points out in the companion presentation to mine, versions of traditional Marxist and psychoanalytic theory evade the issue of how the formal features of Barks’s work embody an immanent view of the future possibilities for human global interaction.


Prof. Donald Ault  (United States)
Professor of English
Department of English College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
University of Florida

Donald Ault. PhD University of Chicago. Author of Visionary Physics: Blake’s Response to Newton, Narrative Unbound: Re-Visioning William Blake’s The Four Zoas, editor of Carl Barks: Conversations. Currently Prof. of English, Univ. of Florida. Previously taught at Univ. of Calif., Berkeley, and Vanderbilt University. Editor of the web journal ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies.

  • Visual Analysis
  • Marxist Theory
  • Comics
  • Phenomenology
  • Psychoanalysis
Person as Subject
  • Carl Barks Jacques Lacan Jacques Derrida

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)