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Views of the city in French sci-fi comics and graphic novels

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This article looks at important French comics and graphic novels from the small but highly influential tradition of French science fiction in order to assess their distinctive formal and narrative contributions to the genre. Taking cues from theoretical definitions of bandes dessinées formulated by Thierry Groenstein and Thierry Smolderen, it identifies specific ways two major works, Futuropolis and L’Incal, reshaped the narrative range and scope of French sci-fi comics and graphic novels and recast their artistic possibilities. We also draw comparisons to Valérian et Laureline. The ways in which cityscapes are depicted in each serve as the privileged focus for measuring the similarities and differences among these works, both ideologically and formalistically.
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Keywords: bandes dessinées; city representations; comics; critique; graphic novels; sci-fi; space opera

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: 0000000122963025United States Naval Academy 2: 0000000121555249United States Navy

Publication date: March 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • Cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social-science disciplines, but there has been relatively little dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. Journals in social-science fields that use urban-studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close readings of the representation of cities in individual cultural products. As a platform for interdisciplinary scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies prioritizes the urban phenomenon in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities.
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