Lines, Erasure, Affect: Reading Dominique Goblet — Comics Forum, Leeds, 7-8 Nov 2019

Here is the abstract of the presentation I am going to give at the Comics and Art and Design conference of the Comics Forum in Leeds, 7-8 November 2019. Cannot wait! This conference is always so inspiring.

The starting point of my investigation is that comics is a drawn medium, and that this fact has intriguing consequences on how comics narratives work, how they are made, and how they are interpreted. Though there is a growing number of studies of drawing coming from comics scholarship (e.g. Gardner, Baetens, Grennan), in my presentation I apply theories of drawing coming from art history to the study of comics. Obviously, there is no direct correspondence, but I believe questions asked by art historians facilitate creative and fruitful rethinkings of the significance of drawing in comics. Focusing on drawing directs attention to comics as a process and not as a product, as well as to the transmissive nature[1] of reading comics and engagement with them.

I will primarily rely on Norman Bryson’s “A Walk for a Walk’s Sake” (2003) and Karen Kurczynski’s “Drawing is the New Painting” (2014), and I will provide readings Dominique Goblet’s Pretending is Lying (2007) inspired by Bryson’s and Kurczynski’s insight. I will examine associations of rawness and immediacy in Goblet’s comics, and I will contrast these to the drawn photographs she also includes in her narrative. Techniques of erasure are present in both Goblet’s “raw” and “photographic” images, while erasure is a central topic of the graphic memoir itself. I will also argue that Pretending is Lying can be seen as a work in the state of becoming, one that is understood not simply by our cognitive capacities, but by the special ways our bodies understand lines.


[1] Jill Bennett described art as transmissive in Empathic Vision (2005).

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