Bodily Experience and Visual Metaphor in Two Swedish Trans Graphic Narratives

in European Comic Art
Nina Ernst Linnaeus University, Sweden

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This article examines how transgender themes are conveyed in two Swedish graphic narratives. Olivia Skoglund's debut graphic memoir, Nästan i mål! En komisk transition [Almost there: A comical transition] (2020) follows Olivia who navigates as a trans woman through a clueless cis society, while Elias Ericson's graphic novel Diana & Charlie (2021) depicts the relationship between two transgender friends and their struggle to find emotional stability in a heteronormative society. Drawing on Elisabeth El Rafaie's visual metaphor theory of pictorial, spatial and stylistic metaphors, it is argued that both Skoglund and Ericson place bodily experience, appearance, and perception at the centre of their concerns of being transgender, conveying the struggle for gender recognition as well as showing the misgendering of trans people by society.

Contributor Notes

Nina Ernst is a comics scholar and a senior lecturer in Comparative Literature at Linnaeus University, Sweden. She holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Lund University. Her doctoral thesis, ‘Att teckna sitt jag: Grafiska självbiografier i Sverige’ [Drawing one's self: Graphic memoirs in Sweden] (2017), deals primarily with contemporary autobiographical Swedish comics, with a comparative perspective taking in European and North American examples. Her main areas of research include comics and graphic novels/memoirs, visual literacy, and narrative medicine in connection to the comic's medium. ORCID: 0000-0003-2591-7985.

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