Paco Roca’s Graphic Novel La Casa (2015) as Architectural Elegy

in European Comic Art
Benjamin Fraser East Carolina University

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This article explores Paco Roca’s graphic novel La Casa (2015) with attention to the structuring role of architecture at two interrelated levels of analysis. At the level of theme and represented content, the comic employs architecture as a mediator of emotional connections and familial grief. At the level of comics form and visual narrative structure, artistic choices underscore the architectural properties of La Casa’s own construction. Repurposing the notion of ‘iconostasis’ from Andrei Molotiu provides a way of bringing together the reader’s self-directed perusal of the comic’s page and the characters’ self-directed navigation of their grief. The characters’ collaborative construction of a pergola as an architectural addition to their father’s house holds two meanings. It provides a degree of emotional closure, further contributing to the architectural theme of the comic, and it pulls the architectural structure of the work towards a cathartic narrative resolution.

Contributor Notes

Benjamin Fraser is a professor of Hispanic studies in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at East Carolina University. He is the author of Toward an Urban Cultural Studies: Henri Lefebvre and the Humanities (Palgrave, 2015) and Disability Studies and Spanish Culture: Films, Novels, the Comic, and the Public Exhibition (Liverpool University Press, 2013). He is the executive editor of the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, a senior editor of the Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, editor-in-chief of Hispania and co-editor of the Hispanic Urban Studies book series. Email:

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