Representing Multiculturalism in Comics and Graphic Novels

Co-edited with Carolene Ayaka

Multiculturalism, and its representation, has long presented challenges for the medium of comics. This book presents a wide ranging survey of the ways in which comics have dealt with the diversity of creators and characters and the (lack of) visibility for characters who don’t conform to particular cultural stereotypes. Contributors engage with ethnicity and other cultural forms from Israel, Romania, North America, South Africa, Germany, Spain, U.S. Latino and Canada and consider the ways in which comics are able to represent multiculturalism through a focus on the formal elements of the medium. Discussion themes include education, countercultures, monstrosity, the quotidian, the notion of the ‘other," anthropomorphism, and colonialism. Taking a truly international perspective, the book brings into dialogue a broad range of comics traditions.


Introduction (Carolene Ayaka & Ian Hague)

Part I: Histories and Contexts

1. Corey K. Creekmur: Multiculturalism Meets the Counterculture: Racial Difference in Underground Comix

2. Ana Merino: The Impact of the Latino Identities on the Alternative Landscape of Comics: Thirty Years of Love and Rockets

3. Andy Mason: The Presidential Penis: A South African satirical scandal

Part II: Depicting Difference

4. Simon Grennan: Empowerment requires power: absence, equilibrium and the capacity to influence in comics representations of cultural difference

5. Mel Gibson: ‘We don’t need no steenkin’ badgers!’ Talbot’s Grandville, anthropomorphism and multiculturalism

6. Mihaela Precup: The Image of the Foreigner in Historical Romanian Comics under Ceauşescu’s Dictatorship

Part III: Monstrosity and Otherness

7. Sarah D. Harris: The Monster Within and Without: Spanish Comics, Monstrosity, Religion, and Alterity

8. Ian Horton: Colonialist Heroes and Monstrous Others: Stereotype and Narrative Form in British Adventure Comic Books

9. Jacob Birken: Set Pieces. Is eclectic imagery in Manga “Othering” or practised Polyculturalism?

Part IV: Challenging Assumptions

10. Maria-Sabina Draga Alexandru: Narrative Exploration against Mentality Issues: Indirect Education for Multiculturalism in Tintin

11. Lily Glasner: Embracing Childish Perspective: Rutu Modan's A Royal Banquet With the Queen

Part V: Case Studies

12. Brenna Clarke Gray & Peter Wilkins: An Innocent at Home: Scott Pilgrim and its Canadian Multicultural Context

13. Dana Mihăilescu: The Lower East Side as a Site of Jewish American Women’s Changing Images in Leela Corman’s Unterzakhn

14. Emma Oki: Representations of Japanese Americans in Adrian Tomine's Shortcomingsand Scenes from an Impending Marriage

15. Alex Link: Tulips and Roses in the Global Garden: Contesting Cultural Identity inPersepolis and Tekkonkinkreet


Routledge webpage for Representing Multiculturalism in Comics and Graphic Novels.


Review by Dominic Davies at ImageText.

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