Comics and the Body: Drawing, Reading, and Vulnerability

The monograph approaches drawing and making comics in the same framework and argues that performances of the body shape both drawing and reading comics. The central role of the body means that the articulation and experience of vulnerability is part of our engagement with comics.

The case studies in this book are on 21st century non-fiction book format comics and my goal to rethink the relationship between comics and the body.

To be published in November 2020, by the Ohio State University Press.

About Comics and the Body

“The exuberance of the prose and lovely phrasing beautifully offset the topic, which is exceptionally well-researched as well as being very clearly elaborated. The book was a pleasure to read and has the potential to reshape scholarly engagements with the material and affective dimensions of comics reading processes.”

—Kate Polak, author of Ethics in the Gutter: Empathy and Historical Fiction in Comics (OSU Press, 2017)

“Eszter Szép’s book provides an analysis of the body that is currently undiscussed in the field, not only filling a gap in existing scholarship but also developing a new lens for analysis that highlights the potential for further research and study.”

—Harriet Earle, comics scholar and lecturer

Eszter Szép’s Comics and the Body is the first book to examine the roles of the body in both drawing and reading comics within a single framework. With an explicit emphasis on the ethical dimensions of bodily vulnerability, Szép takes her place at the forefront of scholars examining comics as embodied experiences, pushing this line of inquiry into bold new territory. Focusing on graphic autobiography and reportage, she argues that the bodily performances of creators and readers produce a dialogue that requires both parties to experience and engage with vulnerability, thus presenting a crucial opportunity for ethical encounters between artist and reader. Szép considers visceral representations of bulimia, pregnancy, the effects of STIs, the catastrophic injuries of war, and more in the works of Lynda Barry, Ken Dahl, Katie Green, Miriam Katin, and Joe Sacco. She thus extends comics theory into ethical and psychological territory that finds powerful intersections and resonances with the studies of affect, trauma, gender, and reader response.

Kép-regény-történet: A kilencedik művészet ikonjai Magyarországon

I was the editor if this bilingual catalog accompanying a major exhibition on the history of Hungarian comics at the National Széchényi Library in 2018 that I was co-curator of.
Publisher: National Széchényi Library, Budapest, 2018.

You can order this catalog here.
The catalog was reviewed by Bence Kránicz for Magyar Narancs.

Turning the Page: Gendered Identities in Contemporary Literary and Visual Cultures

Edited by Kata Gyuris, Eszter Szép and Dóra Vecsernyés. L’Harmattan, Budapest, 2018.

You can download Turning the Page here.