In this Independent Study, I call for stronger narrative theory for the graphic novel. More specifically, I aim to show how the absence of metafictional theory for the graphic novel highlights a problematic understanding of the medium that, at times, fails to fully understand the capacities of the format; metafictional graphic novels – or, metagraphic, as I call it – highlight the unique characteristics of the medium, and offer a nuanced mode of interpreting the texts. Using three graphic novels written and drawn by Daniel Clowes – David Boring (2001), Ice Haven (2005), and Patience (2016) – as emblematic for many metagraphic novels, I investigate how Clowes deconstructs the medium to its barest essence: the synthesis of text and image. I engage with classic narrative theory scholars such as Patricia Waugh and Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan, while also engaging with current graphic scholars such as Scott McCloud and Ken Parille. By the end of this Independent Study, I hope to have effectively shown why stronger metagraphic theory is essential for the medium’s scholastic relevance.


Shostak, Debra




Literature in English, North America | Visual Studies


Graphic Novel, Metafiction, Psychoanalysis, Comics, Daniel Clowes

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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