Drawn Out: Identity Politics and the Queer Comics of Leanne Franson and Ariel Schrag


In the heteronormative world of comics the existence of queer autobiographical and semi-autobiographical comics such as those by Leanne Franson and Ariel Schrag constitute acts of resistance.  Both artists explore issues of sexual identity and self-representation.  Both artists are also interested in the divisive nature of sexual identity politics in relation to issues such as homophobia and internalized homophobia.  Because they are richly visual texts comics provide an ideal medium to reveal the possibilities of changing looks and performing identities and the role of these performances in creating or maintaining community.  Schrag focuses on the exhaustive adolescent roller coaster of making meaning and forging identity from experience in high school, while Franson, through her more mature character, invites us to see the potential for seeing difference as spectrum rather than hierarchy.  Both Schrag and Franson, by writing and drawing their own lesbian or bisexual bodies, challenge both the dominant heteronormativity and the norms within their own subcultures.

This article “Drawn Out: Identity Politics and the Queer Comics of Leanne Franson and Ariel Schrag” originally appeared in Queerly Canadian. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 205 (Summer 2010): 53-68.

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