French comics theoretician Thierry Groensteen highlights on comics’ “sonorous” quality: “the ‘text’ of comics obeys a rhythm that is imposed on it by the succession of frames—a basic heartbeat that, as is seen in music, can be developed, nuanced, and recovered by more elaborate rhythmic effects stressed by other ‘instruments’ (parameters).” As a visual medium, one of comics’ most distinctive characteristics lies in the “synaesthetic transfer,” a manifest potentiality of transmigration of senses (through onomatopoeia, void-crossing, affective graphic patterning and inter-panel rhythms…etc.). The assemblage of image-clusters eventually draws variations and mutations that constantly undergo deterritorialization and reterritorialization. Tracing the trans-sensual movement and affective turn in Takemiya Keiko’s Variations and Ninomiya Tomoko’s Nodame Cantabile, this paper seeks to explore Deleuze’s notions of refrain and trans-coding in relation to the problematic of femininity in music-themed comics. In addition, it will probe how this “silent” and motionless medium deploys rhizomatic codes to sonorize “delusional/Deleusian” phantasm and translates woman-as-milieu into a peculiar desiring-machine.
International Journal of Comic Art 13(2), pp.75-86