“Pictorial runes in Tintin and the Picaros.” Journal of Pragmatics 43: 875-890. DOI: 10.1016/j.pragma.2010.07.014.
Abstract: Speed-lines, movement-lines and emotion-enhancing flourishes (“pictorial runes”) may contribute, marginally or substantially, to the potential meanings to be inferred from a comic’s panel. It seems plausible that pictorial runes convey their meanings in patterned ways, but hitherto little systematic research appears to have been done to investigate them. The primary aim of this paper is to present the first version of a model to research pictorial runes by inventorying and categorizing all specimens occurring in a single Tintin album and to generalize tentatively about their meaning. In this manner, the model can be further tested, refined, elaborated, or refuted, in further research. Such research will aid both comics scholarship and cognition studies based on visual stimuli. Keywords: pictorial runes, comics, visual language, conceptual metaphor theory.