Transgressive Bodies in the work of Julie Doucet, Fabrice Neaud and Jean-Christophe Menu: Towards a theory of the 'autobioBD'

The University of Dalhousie
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Belphegor: Popular Literature and Media Culture, 2004, 4 (1), pp. 1 - 18
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As the comic book, and more precisely its exceptionally francophone doppelganger, la bande dessinée, begins to fulfil its potential as 'the Ninth Art', the range of styles, reading contexts, and genres which constitute the form as a signifying practice has consequently expanded. Consideration of 'what a comic is', such as is found in the works of Thierry Groensteen and Benoît Peeters1 needs therefore to be complemented by a range of subsidiary questions addressing not only 'what kinds of comics there are', but, as an integral part of those inquiries, how different comic genres signify, and how the enunciative and representational functions deployed by each might be conceptualised. This paper considers the work of three Francophone comic artists, Fabrice Neaud and Jean-Christophe Menu, both French, and the Québecoise Julie Doucet, all of whom could be considered as proponents of the genre of BD we will call 'autobiocomics'. It will be argued that Neaud and Doucet, through their exploration of ontologies of presence and self-representation, work against the visual order of the phallocentric and heteronormative, an order which Menu appears to replicate but ultimately calls into question.
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