Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences

Document Type



In 2016, the authors proposed the Contextual Framework and Structural Framework for understanding pictorial metaphors. These two dichotomous frameworks are especially useful for assessing the apprehension by viewers of pictorial devices that can be used either literally or metaphorically. One such pictorial device is exaggerated size—that is, depicting objects as being overly large. This pictorial device can be used metaphorically (e.g., to indicate importance) or literally (e.g., to depict a giant). We analyze three comic book covers from the Silver Age of American comic books using both frameworks to illustrate how observers distinguish metaphoric pictorial devices from literal ones.