University of the Arts London
Oleszczuk_Queer.mp4 (114.22 MB)

Anna Oleszczuk - Of Pride and Spaceships: Queer Identities in Speculative Comics

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posted on 2020-06-29, 15:54 authored by Anna Oleszczuk

Despite the fact that various theoretical frameworks have been applied to comics and there is a significant volume of critical conversation about diverse aspects and readings of comics, queer theory has not been used much to analyse comics at large, with the exception of extensive coverage of Alison Bechdel’s work, and almost not at all to analyse speculative comics. This paper addresses this research gap.

It starts by establishing the key theoretical concepts related to the umbrella category of speculative fiction and the medium of comics as well as queerness and queer identities. Then, it uses examples from comics history to illustrate and contextualize diverse visions of queerness in speculative comics focusing especially on these which challenge the patterns of male domination and go beyond the traditional view of gender roles. This allows for the development of features that can be considered as distinctive of queerness and thus, enabling to trace the borders of the non(hetero)normative discourse. The final section examines the performance of queerness and (de)constructions of queer identity in texts by H-P Lehkonen and Ari North, taking into consideration the storyline, world-building, and formal aspects of the style.



Anna Oleszczuk is a doctoral candidate at Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin, Poland. Her research seeks to examine how the potential of speculative comics to conceptualize and introduce the quality of being different from the heteronormative cultural standard has been realized in modern texts and how it can be utilized to explore queer gender and sexualities. She has presented her work at numerous conferences and published articles on both comics and speculative fiction. She wrote a chapter on “Comics and Gender” for The Handbook of Comics and Graphic Narratives to be published by De Gruyter in 2020 and is working on a chapter on “Taking a Walk on The Queer Side: Speculative Comics (De)Constructing Queer Identity” for The Routledge Companion to Sexuality and Culture to be published by Routledge in late 2020. She plans to explore her research interests further by writing a dissertation on queer gender and sexuality in speculative comics.

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