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Mickwitz, Nina: "A profusion of signs. Jacques Rancière’s politics of aesthetics and the implications of reading American Splendor through the lens of documentary." In: Studies in Comics 3.2 (2012), S. 293–312.
|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Mickwitz2012b
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Keywords: "American Splendor", Autobiographie, Dokumentarcomic, Pekar. Harvey, Politik, Rancière. Jacques, USA
Collection: Studies in Comics
Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor belongs to a diverse body of comics that take as their subject real persons and actual historical events. This article proposes that the twin aspects of narrative and visual representation present a vital intersection between such comics and documentary. Yet, thinking about comics as documentary presents certain obstacles. Despite extensive and critical reflection on the relationship between image and referent, a broadly accepted assumption of documentary as tied to ‘the paradigm of recording’ has remained persistent among academics and the broader public alike. However, Jacques Rancière’s insistent emphasis on the intersection of aesthetics and politics; the capacity to make visible, speak about and thus reconfigure the world inherent to both, might instead be used to frame this enquiry. The article draws on Rancière’s conceptual frameworks to examine the construction and articulation of the real offered in American Splendor, proposing that American Splendor presents a radically graphic dislocation between representation and referent, consequently defamiliarizing the conventional conflation of documentary with camera-derived imagery. This intervention raises new sets of questions relating to the core concern of documentary; the real and its visual representation.
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