To create a comic is not to illustrate words, but to create narrative diagrams and transform strokes into imaging words. The infinite array of possibilities that the merging of text and pictures provides is a garden of forking paths that critics have just started to explore. This is an art that operates as the crossroads of various disciplines, but whose specifications require a thorough understanding of its unique mechanisms. The explosion of experimental works and the incorporation of previously marginal (or nonexistent) genres and themes in comics have enriched an already fruitful art in ways that continue to surprise both readers and critics. This collection of essays offers a space of reflection on the cultural, social, historical, and ideological dimensions of comics. With this in the background, the book focuses on three main areas: the origins and definitions of comics; the formal tools of the medium; and authors and their works. The historical and formal approach to comics, as shown here, is still essential and the debate about the origins and definition is still present, but two thirds of this collection formulate other treatments that scholars had not started to tackle until recently. Does this mean that the study of comics has finally reached the necessary confidence to abandon the artistic legitimization of the medium? Or are they just new self defense mechanisms through alliances with other fields of academic interest? This book will add to the debate on comics, as did the international conference that led to it. It provides a channel of communication with an art, a two-headed medium that, like the god Janus, operates as a hinge, as a meeting point, as a bridge between pictorial and literary expression.