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Re-inventing the origins of the boy who wouldn’t grow up: Régis Loisel’s Peter Pan

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Régis Loisel’s Peter Pan (Vents d’Ouest, 1990–2004) is a striking re-formulation of the origins of this mythical character due to its stylistic, narrative and thematic darkness. This article uses Loisel’s bande dessinée to examine the potential of comics as an adaptive medium, and the reading process of the comic prequel, two aspects which are productively linked by the concept of the network. I draw on Sanders’ and Groensteen’s uses of the concept in adaptation studies and comics studies respectively, to reflect on both the way that Loisel’s bande dessinée is connected to the network of proliferating Peter Pan narratives, and the way in which the comic functions as a network itself, engaging the reader in a translinear and plurivectoral reading. This article first explores how core elements of the well-known Peter Pan narrative are adapted in Loisel’s comic, both echoing and contrasting with previous versions as Loisel’s bande dessinée engages with and re-formulates the character’s textual and visual multiplicities from the network of Peter Pan narratives. This article then draws on Paul Sutton’s theorization of the ‘dual temporality’ of the prequel to reflect on the reading process of Loisel’s Peter Pan as a comic prequel that productively uses the nature of a comic as a network, and its potential for translinear and plurivectoral reading. Loisel’s Peter Pan engages the reader in an active, retrospective, prospective and anticipatory reading process, in a dynamic of repetition and difference.
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Keywords: Peter Pan; Régis Loisel; adaptation; network; prequel; reading process

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Bangor University

Publication date: October 1, 2014

More about this publication?
  • Studies in Comics aims to describe the nature of comics, to identify the medium as a distinct art form, and to address the medium's formal properties. The emerging field of comics studies is a model for interdisciplinary research and in this spirit this journal welcomes all approaches. This journal is international in scope and provides an inclusive space in which researchers from all backgrounds can present new thinking on comics to a global audience. The journal will promote the close analysis of the comics page/text using a variety of methodologies. Its specific goal, however, is to expand the relationship between comics and theory and to articulate a "theory of comics". The journal also includes reviews of new comics, criticism, and exhibitions, and a dedicated online space for cutting-edge and emergent creative work.

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