1st Edition

Immigrants and Comics Graphic Spaces of Remembrance, Transaction, and Mimesis

Edited By Nhora Lucía Serrano Copyright 2021
    268 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    268 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Immigrants and Comics is an interdisciplinary, themed anthology that focuses on how comics have played a crucial role in representing, constructing, and reifying the immigrant subject and the immigrant experience in popular global culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

    Nhora Lucía Serrano and a diverse group of contributors examine immigrant experience as they navigate new socio-political milieux in cartoons, comics, and graphic novels across cultures and time periods. They interrogate how immigration is portrayed in comics and how the ‘immigrant’ was an indispensable and vital trope to the development of the comics medium in the twentieth century. At the heart of the book‘s interdisciplinary nexus is a critical framework steeped in the ideas of remembrance and commemoration, what Pierre Nora calls lieux de mémoire.

    This book will be of interest to students and scholars in Visual Studies, Comparative Literature, English, Ethnic Studies, Francophone Studies, American Studies, Hispanic Studies, art history, and museum studies.

    Comics as Movement; Comics as Planetary Healing
    Frederick Luis Aldama


    In the Shadow of Liberty: Immigration and the Graphic Space
    Nhora Lucía Serrano

    Part I: Shaping Comic Traditions, Portraying Immigrants

    1. Of Birds and Men: Metonymic and Symbolic Representations of Immigration in Shaun Tan’s The Arrival
    Fabrice Leroy

    2. "How Quickly We Forget": Immigration and Family Narrative in James Sturm's The Golem's Mighty Swing and Unstable Molecules
    Brian Cremins

    3. Postcards from the Past: The 1893 Chicago World Fair and Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth
    Nhora Lucía Serrano

    4. From Immigrants to Filibusters: The Curious Case of R. F. Outcault's Yellow Kid
    David M. Ball

    5. Naming the Place and Telling the Story in Demain, demain: Nanterre, bidonville de la Folie, 1962—1966 by Laurent Maffre
    Mark McKinney

    6. More than a Cockroach: Dreaming and Surviving in Will Eisner's A Life Force
    Susan Kirtley

    7. Stranded by Empire: The Forced Migrants in Shirato Sanpei's Kieyuku sho-jo
    Nicholas Theisen

    Part II: Border Crossings, Immigrant Identity

    8. Once Upon a Time on the Border: Immigration and Mexican Comic Book Westerns
    Christopher Conway

    9. Picturing the (Silent) History of Immigration in France and in French Bandes Dessinées
    Michelle Bumatay

    10. Brodeck’s Report (Manu Larcenet): A Study in Intermediality
    Jan Baetens and Hugo Frey

    11. Migra Mouse: Satire and Hybridity as Latino/a Decolonial Acts
    Mauricio Espinoza

    12. Tracing Trauma: Questioning Understanding of Clandestine Migration in Amazigh: itinéraire d’hommes libres
    Catriona MacLeod

    13. Immigration, Photography, and the Color Line in Lila Quintero Weaver’s Darkroom: A Memoir in Black & White
    Candida Rifkind

    14. African Diaspora and Black Bodies: X-Men’s Storm
    Johnathan Flowers


    Nhora Lucía Serrano is the Associate Director for Digital Learning & Research at Hamilton College, New York. Originally from Colombia, and previously a Visiting Scholar of Comparative Literature at Harvard University, Dr. Serrano is a trained Medieval and Early Modern Visual Studies scholar, who was the recipient of a 2018 Mellon Press Diversity Fellowship at the MIT Press, a 2017 NEH Summer Institute fellowship at the Newberry Library, and a 2014 Smithsonian National Postal Museum fellowship. Dr. Serrano is a founding member and currently the Treasurer of the Comics Studies Society, and from 2014–2018, she served on the MLA Executive Forum on Comics and Graphic Narratives. Presently, Dr. Serrano is an MLA Delegate Assembly Member and she serves on the MLA Executive Discussion Group on Book History, Print Cultures, Lexicography.

    "A vital collection for comics readers and scholars seeking sharp critical perspectives on an art form shaped and energised by migrants. A distinguished line-up of contributors shed light on the capacities of a spatial medium to explore displacement, layer memories and reframe experiences that are invisible within majority cultures."

    -- Ann Miller, University of Leicester, UK

    "I have been waiting for a book like this. Immigrants and Comics addresses one of the most salient, central issues of our times—immigration—with range, imagination, and necessary historical depth. The wide scope of comics it covers, along with distinct global locations, make this book dynamic and significant. It’s an ambitious—and indubitably important—addition to contemporary comics scholarship."

    -- Hillary L. Chute, Northeastern University

    "Serrano’s work is a valuable asset to comics studies as well as immigration studies. She has put together a fine collection of essays that analyze comics and immigration issues utilizing multidisciplinary theories while integrating examples from across the globe. Her treatment of comics incorporates a multifaceted approach in examining various aspects of the comics culture, including close readings of specific works, the artist/creator as immigrant and the impact some comics have had on immigration policy."

    -- Jeff Williams, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina

    "This timely collection shows how, from the very beginnings of newspaper comics in the U.S., the history of comics and immigration have been intertwined. From Richard Outcault’s "Yellow Kid" to post-colonial French autobiographies, readers are offered a masterful tour of how the verbal-visual power of the medium has been adapted to represent the immigrant experience from a variety of national perspectives. Engaging written by an international array of well-respected scholars in the field, this collection’s focus on immigration specifically will prove an invaluable addition to comics scholarship."

    -- Martha Kuhlman, Bryant University, USA

    "This collection makes a convincing case for the significant connection between comics and immigration. Topics range from the depiction of immigrants in American comics that are practically canonical (like Outcault’s "Yellow Kid" and Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan) to the essential ways in which comics have depicted migrant and immigrant experiences across decades, continents, and genres. This book explores comics telling private and public stories, from the past and the present, often showing how the personal is political. The contributors use a range of theoretical frameworks but the collection retains a beautiful coherence through the sustained attention to visual meaning making across the chapters, to reveal the complexities of issues of immigration as captured in comics."

    -- Barbara Postema, Massey University, Aotearoa New Zealand