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Blanc-Hoàng, Henri-Simon: "Colonialism, postcolonialism and science fiction comics in the Southern Cone." In: Studies in Comics 8.1 (2017), S. 29–49.
|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: 2017j
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Keywords: "Bárbara", "El Incal", "O Viajante", Argentinien, Barreiro. Ricardo, Brasilien, Chile, Couto. Mozart, Ethnizität, Jodorowsky. Alexandro, Kolonialismus, Lateinamerika, Postkolonialismus, Science Fiction
Collection: Studies in Comics
This article analyses the science fiction universes imagined by three major Latin American comic books writers: the Argentine Ricardo Barreiro (Bárbara, 1979–83), the Chilean Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Incal, 1983–2010) and the Brazilian Mozart Couto (O Viajante, 1989). I demonstrate that the race relations (between humans and non-humans) depicted in the selected graphic novels correspond to three different time frames of the colonization process: the Conquest, the colonial period, and contemporary times. In his Bárbara series, Ricardo Barreiro describes a future alien occupation of planet Earth, whose process finds its inspiration in the extremely violent Conquest of the Americas. Like the Spanish invasion of the New World, the violence imagined in Barreiro’s world occurs both at the physical and psychological levels. At the physical level, the natives must cope with the destruction of their environment, and being hunted by aliens. At the psychological level, the invaders impose a new language and a new religion on humans. In El Incal series, Alejandro Jodorowsky explores the humanity of aliens, robots, holograms and mutants, which parallels how the whiteness of mestizos and mulattos was questioned in the Iberian continent during the Colonial period. The way in which Jodorowsky uses specific ‘science fiction icons’ – as defined by Gary K. Wolfe in The Known and the Unknown: The Iconography of Science Fiction (Wolfe, 1979) – exposes the pigmentocratic system that has survived up to the twenty-first century. Such an approach helps us deconstruct the myth that defines Latin America as a ‘racial democracy’. Finally, in Mozart Couto’s O Viajante an apparently progressive, New-Age inspired message of wisdom, betrays a new kind of cultural plundering of the Americas. By relying on the contemporary myth of the Ancient Astronauts (i.e.: giving an outer-space origin to the pre-Colombian Civilizations) for the plot of his graphic novel, Macedo denies the native inhabitants of the Iberian continent any continuity with the cultural and architectural accomplishments of their forefathers.
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