Comics, Form, and Anarchy

Køhlert, Frederik Byrn ORCID: (2017) Comics, Form, and Anarchy. SubStance, 46 (2). pp. 11-32. ISSN 0049-2426

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This article suggests a deep relationship between comics and anarchism. The examination of this fundamental relationship serves to illustrate how similar organizational and communicational principles are embedded within these two apparently disparate forms of human expression, and therefore also makes an argument for why an understanding of the history and form of comics is incomplete without a consideration of anarchism, and vice versa. In order to provide an example of how the two traditions have fruitfully cross-pollinated each other, I end by offering an examination of several anarchism-inflected underground comix from the American counterculture years and beyond, including a reading of perhaps the most explicit attempt to bear out this relationship in practice, namely the four-issue series Anarchy Comics (1978-1987). In my reading of Anarchy Comics, additionally, I expand my analysis beyond narrow structural concerns and discuss various other anarchism-inflected strategies of visual narrative available to comics makers, including such punk-inspired techniques as collage and the satirical redeployment of corporate comics and cartoon characters for subversive purposes. While my focus in what follows is thus largely on formal features, my argument ultimately aims to illuminate the relationship between comics and anarchism at the levels of both form and content.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > American Studies
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 12 May 2017 05:05
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2023 00:50
DOI: 10.3368/ss.46.2.11


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