About Girard and Comics

Why Girard and Comics? Simply put: they’re the perfect mix…

René Girard is a French literary theorist whose extra-curricular explorations into anthropology, the social sciences, and political history have generated fascinating and provocative readings of not only literature, but history, film, and yes, even comics..

Girard is best known for his theories of mimetic desire and the scapegoat mechanism, key insights from which he develops sophisticated accounts of various aspects of human culture. While some accuse of him of creating a theory of everything, I find his thought highly useful in exploring the deep structures of our social and political world, which tend to remain hidden or go unnoticed.

Comics are, in my opinion, the most mimetic form to date, the product of an incredibly fertile union between the written word and a unique and highly dynamic visual medium. Comics are responsible for a growing and influential sub-culture, not to be discounted as just another pop-culture phenomenon. Comics enjoy a rich history comprised of a multitude of interweaving story-lines, some titles spanning decades, a familiar cadre of heroes and villains, and multiple authors and illustrators, many of them cult figures of the craft. Millions of adult readers have engaged with and been impacted by comics since childhood, for whom comics have been a lifelong formative experience. It is difficult to identify a medium with comparable influence.

Like the novel and other literary forms Girard has engaged with, comics have, over the course of their history, acquired a mature and sophisticated critical faculty, delving not only into social critique, but into an internal self-reflection made possible by the rich mimetic tools unique to comics.

Girard and Comics is dedicated first to illustrating René Girard’s mimetic theory through examples found in comics and second to using mimetic theory to further explore comics’ critical potential as a commentary on American culture.


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