Media Theory Reading List -- Dan Clinton

This is not a disclaimer. This reading list is, for a Media Theory reading list anyway, particularly short on theoretical essays. Don't get me wrong, though, I like Deleuze as much as the next guy, unless the next guy happens to be an honest-to-god Deleuzer, but that sort of thing is covered on the other reading lists (or I assume it will be) and that sort of thing isn't primarily what interests me (yet it does interest me, but in an abstract way, which is to say that it lacks for me the sparkle of a second-to-second obsession). So what am I doing? This list is about the way that theory plays out as a genre and as a collection of ready-made motifs within the media theorized. Plato is key here, as his way of theorizing is always literary and always messily metatextual, despite all the talk of pure truths which takes place. By way of a transition, comic books corrupt our children, just like Socrates. The comics and graphic novels on this list, apart from being personal favorites, deconstruct the methods and mythologies of the medium (Miller, Moore), tauntingly place theoretical concerns at the fringes of carefully orchestrated narratives-in-miniature (Herriman, Ware), and employ the form as a refractory lens in which the world comes unhinged from any idea in particular (Morrison).

Cronenberg, David. eXistenZ.

Eastwood, Clint. High Plains Drifter.

Eisenstein, Sergei. "The Cinematic Principle and the Ideogram." Film Form. NY: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1977.

Herriman, George. Krazy & Ignatz: Love Letters in Ancient Brick. Seattle: Fantagraphics Books, 2002.

Hoban, Russell. The Medusa Frequency.

Hoban, Russell. Riddley Walker. NY: Washington Square Books, 1980.

Magnetic Fields, The. 69 Love Songs.

McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. NY: Harper Perennial, 1994.

McCloud, Scott. Reinventing Comics: How Imagination and Technology are Revolutionizing an Art Form. Canada: Harper Collins, 2001.

Miller, Frank and Geof Darrow. Hard Boiled. Oregon: Dark Horse Comics, 1992-3.

Moore, Alan and Dave Gibbons. The Watchmen. NY: DC Comics, 1986-7.

Morrison, Grant. The Invisibles. NY: DC Comics.

Plato. Phaedrus. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995.

Prantera, Amanda. Conversations with Lord Byron on Perversion, 163 Years after His Lordship's Death.

Ware, Chris. The Acme Novelty Library: Book of Jokes: Winter 2001-2. Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2002.

Warshow, Robert. "Woofed with Dreams." In The Immediate Experience. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001.

Zischler, Hanns. Kafka Goes to the Movies. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.