1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Gender and Sexuality in Comic Book Studies

Edited By Frederick Luis Aldama Copyright 2021
    594 Pages 217 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    594 Pages 217 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Routledge Companion to Gender and Sexuality in Comic Book Studies is a comprehensive, global, and interdisciplinary examination of the essential relationship between Gender, Sexuality, Comics, and Graphic Novels.

    A diverse range of international and interdisciplinary scholars take a closer look at how gender and sexuality have been essential in the evolution of comics, and how gender and sexuality in comics demand that we re-frame and re-view comics history. Chapters cover a wide array of intersectional topics including Queer Underground and Alternative comics, Feminist Autobiography, re-drawing disability, Latina testimony, and re-evaluating the critical whiteness and masculinity of superheroes in this first truly global reference text to gender and sexuality in comics.

    Comics have always been an important place for the radical exploration of feminist and non-binary sexualities and identities, and the growth of non-normative comic book traditions as a field of inquiry makes this an essential text for upper-level undergraduates, postgraduates, and researchers studying Comics Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Literary Studies, and Cultural Studies.


    List of Illustrations

    List of Contributors

    Gender and Sexuality in Comics: The Told, Untold Stories

    Frederick Luis Aldama

    Part I: Interrogating Restrictive Frames

    Chapter 1: Translating Masculinity: The Significance of the Frontier in American Superheroes

    Patrick L. Hamilton

    Chapter 2: Black Boys and Black Girls in Comics: An Affective and Historical Mapping of Intertwined Stereotypes

    Maaheen Ahmed

    Chapter 3: Pocket-Sized Pornography: Representations of Sexual Violence and Masculinity in Tijuana Bibles

    Erin Barry

    Chapter 4: The Comic-Strip in Advertising: Persuasion, Gender, Sexuality

    Constance de Silva

    Chapter 5: Real Men Choose Vasectomy: Questioning and Redefining Mexican National Masculinity in Los Supermachos, from Rius to Anonymous Authors

    Annick Pellegrin

    Chapter 6: Marriage, Domesticity and Superheroes (For Better or Worse)

    Jeffrey A. Brown

    Chapter 7: "Is that a monster between your legs or are ya just happy to see me?": Sex, Subjectivity, and the Superbody in the Marvel Swimsuit Special

    Anna F. Peppard

    Part II: Ethnoracial Queer and Feminist Space Clearing Gestures

    Chapter 8: Life Out Loud in the Closet: The Grotesque as Latinx Imagination in Cristy C. Road’s Spit and Passion

    Jennifer Caroccio Maldonado

    Chapter 9: Graphic (Narrative) Presentations of Violence Against Indigenous Women: Responses to the MMIW Crisis in North America

    James J. Donahue

    Chapter 10: From "Accidental" Autobiography to Comics Activism: Tracing the Development of an Andalusian-Chinese Feminism in the Work of Comics Artist Quan Zhou

    Jennifer Nagtegaal

    Chapter 11: Plea Deal Compounds: Black Women’s Anger in "the System" of Bitch Planet

    Katlin Marisol Sweeney

    Part III: Back to the Future

    Chapter 12: Panels of Innocence and Experience: Reading Sexual Subjectivity Through Horror Comics

    Sara Austin

    Chapter 13: Teenage Biology 101: Serializing a Queer Girlhood in Ariel Schrag's Potential

    Rachel R. Miller

    Chapter 14: Genre, Gender, Sexual, Textual and Visual, and Real Representations in Bande Dessinée

    C(h)ris Reyns-Chikuma

    Chapter 15: A Comics Écriture Féminine: Anke Feuchtenberger’s Feminist Graphic Expression

    Elizabeth "Biz" Nijdam

    Chapter 16: "I’m Trapped In Here!" Gender Performativity and Affect in Emma Ríos's I.D.

    Mikel Bermello Isusi

    Chapter 17: Empirical Looking: Situating the Multiple Elements of Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout as Vehicles for Articulating a Place for Women in Science

    Lisa DeTora

    Part IV: Counterpublics

    Chapter 18: From Anodyne Animals to Filthy Beasts: Defying and Defiling Safety, Sanctity, and Sexual Suppression in Underground Animal Comics

    Daniel F. Yezbick

    Chapter 19: Wonder Woman’s Complicated Relationship with Feminism

    George Thomas

    Chapter 20: "Part of Something Bigger": Ms./Captain Marvel

    Carolyn Cocca

    Chapter 21: Higher, Further, Faster Baby! The Feminist Evolution of Carol Danvers from Comics to Film

    Sam Langsdale

    Chapter 22: Female Fans, Female Creators, and Female Superheroes: The Semiotics of Changing Gender Dynamics

    Angela Ndalianis

    Chapter 23: Public-Facing Feminisms: Subverting the Lettercol in Bitch Planet

    Brenna Clarke Gray

    Chapter 24: "I’d Like Everything That’s Bad For Me!": Tank Girl’s Cracks in Patriarchal Pop Culture

    Susan Kerns

    Chapter 25: Falling In or Stepping Out: Little Red Formation as Agentic Gender Construction in Lumberjanes

    Karly Marie Grice

    Part V: Worldly Interventions

    Chapter 26: "A Revelation Not of the Flesh, but of the Mind": Performing Queer Textuality in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home

    Maite Urcaregui

    Chapter 27: BLOOD, or: Gender and Nation in the Contemporary Polish Comic

    Kalina Kupczynska

    Chapter 28: My Grandmother Collects Memories: Gender and Remembrance in Hispanic Graphic Narratives

    Radmila (Lale) Stefkova

    Chapter 29: Feminist Riots and Gay Giants: The Mayo Feminista and Cultural Context of Contemporary Queer Chilean Comics

    Sam Cannon

    Chapter 30: Questioning Obscenity: The Place of "Pussy" in Manga and the World

    Lindsey Stirek

    Chapter 31: See Him, See Her, See Xir: LGBTQ Visibility in Shōnen Manga at the Turn of the Century

    Zachary Michael Lewis Dean

    Chapter 32: An Age of Sparkle and Drama: Exploring Gender Identities and Cultural Narratives in 1970s Shōjo Manga

    Lorna Piatti-Farnell


    Part VI: Queer and Feminist Intermedial Textures

    Chapter 33: Representing the Extreme End-point of Sexual Violence: ethical strategies in Phoebe Gloeckner’s La Tristeza

    Rebecca Scherr

    Chapter 34: The People Upstairs: Space, Memory, and the Queered Family in My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris

    Shiamin Kwa

    Chapter 35: Fat Bats, Postpunks, and Ice Witches: Afrogoth and the Undead Music of Militia Vox and the Comix of Calyn Pickens Rich

    Deborah Elizabeth Whaley

    Chapter 36: Catherine Meurisse and the Gender of Art

    Margaret C. Flinn

    Chapter 37: My Life With Toys: An Academic Esai into the Queer Multipurposing of Toys as Interrupted by the Author’s Life

    Jonathan Alexandratos

    Chapter 38: "Bobby…You’re Gay": Marvel’s Iceman, Performativity, Continuity, and Queer Visibility

    Bryan Bove


    Frederick Luis Aldama is Distinguished University Professor at the Ohio State University. He is the award-winning author, co-author, and editor of over 40 books, including the Eisner Award-winning Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics. He is the editor of nine book series, including Latinographix, a trade-press series that publishes Latinx graphic fiction and nonfiction. He is creator of the first documentary on the history of Latinx superheroes in comics (Amazon Prime) and co-founder and director of SÕL-CON: Brown & Black Comix Expo. He is the founder and director of the Obama White House award-winning LASER: Latinx Space for Enrichment & Research as well as the founder and co-director of the Humanities & Cognitive Sciences High School Summer Institute. He holds joint appointments in English, Spanish, and Portuguese and is faculty affiliate in Film Studies and the Center for Cognitive and Brain Sciences. In 2020, he debuted his first children’s book, The Adventures of Chupacabra Charlie.

    "Yet another milestone in Aldama’s overturning of long held misconceptions that the world of comics and graphic novels lacks space for marginalized voices and diverse perspectives, this collection is essential reading for anyone studying and, more importantly, making comics. While taking a comprehensive look back at gender and sexuality in cartooning of the past, the carefully curated essays suggest a future for comics where previously underrepresented voices will all have equal opportunity to take center stage"

    Matt Silady, Eisner-nominated comics creator and Chair of the MFA in Comics program, California College of the Arts

    "A veritable cornucopia of sophisticated, intersectional analysis that digs deep into the history of the comics industry and the sequential art medium to examine how gender and sexuality have shaped our understanding of storytelling, our worldview, and ourselves. This is a necessary compendium that will continue to push comics forward."

    Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief

    "With its overarching intersectional framework used to investigate a medium uniquely suited for both personal exploration and collective expression, this volume goes way beyond a clichéd understanding of comics as a playground for pulp anxieties. A remarkably comprehensive tome on an elusive subject!"

    Katie Skelly, award-winning comics creator and author of Maids with Fantagraphics