The animal as queer act in comics: queer iterations in On Loving Women and Nimona

Publication Type thesis
School or College College of Humanities
Department Languages and Literature
Author Barnewitz, Molly Clare
Title The animal as queer act in comics: queer iterations in On Loving Women and Nimona
Date 2016
Description This thesis examines comics' use of animal and otherwise non-normative bodies to portray queer identities and examine how the portrayal of the queer and monstrous can be seen as a reflection of the medium itself. Comics is a hybrid medium in which words and images coexist, favoring neither and flouting categorization in art or literature. Comics relishes the instability and subversive nature of its form, and has been a tool for challenging conventions of acceptable representation. Comics' refusal to accept a secure, unified definition is analogous to the object of queer theory, suggesting that comics are particularly well suited to depict queer narratives. Close readings of Diane Obomsawin's graphic narrative On Loving Women and Noelle Stevenson's webcomic Nimona serve as examples of the possibilities of reading comics through a queer lens. Both texts are examples of queer narratives that use animal, monster, and nonhuman bodies to articulate otherness. On Loving Women's anthropomorphic animals represent different lesbians as they recount short biographical sketches. This text layers narrative voice, giving the text a sense of polysemy and evoking the multiplicity of queer identity. Nimona follows the misadventures of a shapeshifting sidekick and her cyborg supervillain boss. Nimona depicts the threat posed by fluid and non-normative identities to heteronormative hegemonic institutions, ultimately demanding that the binary systems that persecute queerness be abolished. Both texts call into question the nature of identity in terms of sex, gender, and humanity. As examples of the possibilities of comics to attack exclusionary systems that place queerness as the ultimate other, these texts reveal the diverse ways in which representational space is queered. Comics repositions the body on the page, allowing for iterative acts of queering that cannot be limited to any singular form. The medium continues to develop new modes of representation that challenge and subvert normative systems.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Animal; Comics; Graphic Narrative; Hybrid; Queer
Dissertation Name Master of Arts
Language eng
Rights Management ©Molly Clare Barnewitz
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 442,380 bytes
Identifier etd3/id/4173
ARK ark:/87278/s6z3571g
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2016-10-10
Date Modified 2017-06-07
ID 197720
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=197720
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