Serial Selves: Identity and Representation in Autobiographical Comics

Serial Selves: Identity and Representation in Autobiographical Comics

by Frederik Byrn Kohlert


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Autobiography is one of the most dynamic and quickly-growing genres in contemporary comics and graphic narratives. In Serial Selves, Frederik Byrn Køhlert examines the genre’s potential for representing lives and perspectives that have been socially marginalized or excluded. With a focus on the comics form’s ability to produce alternative and challenging autobiographical narratives, thematic chapters investigate the work of artists writing from perspectives of marginality including gender, sexuality, disability, and race, as well as trauma. Interdisciplinary in scope and attuned to theories and methods from both literary and visual studies, the book provides detailed formal analysis to show that the highly personal and hand-drawn aesthetics of comics can help artists push against established narrative and visual conventions, and in the process invent new ways of seeing and being seen.

As the first comparative study of how comics artists from a wide range of backgrounds use the form to write and draw themselves into cultural visibility, Serial Selves will be of interest to anyone interested in the current boom in autobiographical comics, as well as issues of representation in comics and visual culture more broadly.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813592251
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication date: 03/15/2019
Edition description: None
Pages: 242
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 16 - 18 Years

About the Author

FREDERIK BYRN KØHLERT is a lecturer in the School of Art, Media, and American Studies at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom. He is the author of The Chicago Literary Experience: Writing the City, 1893-1953.

Table of Contents

Introduction Serial Selves 1

1 Female Grotesques: The Unruly Comics of Julie Doucet 23

2 Working It Through: Trauma and Visuality in the Comics of Phoebe Gloeckner 54

3 Queer as Style: Ariel Schrag's High School Comic Chronicles 84

4 Staring at Comics: Disability and the Body in Al Davison's The Spiral Cage 123

5 Stereotyping the Self: Toufic El Rassi's Arab in America 157

Conclusion: Making an Issue of Representation 188

Acknowledgments 197

Notes 201

Bibliography 211

Index 223

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