Date of Submission

Spring 2017

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Literature

Project Advisor 1

Maria Sachiko Cecire

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Art Spiegelman's “Maus,” Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' “Watchmen,” and Frank Miller's “The Dark Knight Returns,” created waves in both the literary and comics communities upon their subsequent release in the year 1986. My project seeks to unpack the ways in which the “1986 Big Three” forge identities for themselves both within and without the designations of literature and comics, and ultimately to define the unique literary identity of each work. I examine the ways in which each of these works makes use of the history and traditions of the medium from which they emerge, including use of recognizable tropes like the superhero and “funny animals,” as well as the ways in which each work significantly deviates from the these traditions. I also look at the ways in which each work explores and makes use of the fundamental formal aspect of its medium, the combination of word and image, in order to critically reexamine the place they hold in a traditionally text-based medium. Ultimately I seek, in some small way, to call into question the designation of “literary” and to examine the ways in which this definition must shift, or at least examine its parameters, in the face of the constant introduction of new forms of media.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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