The Poetry of Snails

The Shown, the Intervened and the Signified in Duelo de caracoles (2010) by Sonia Pulido and Pere Joan

in European Comic Art
Benjamin FraserUniversity of Arizona, USA

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The graphic novel Duelo de caracoles [Duel of snails] (2010) by Sonia Pulido (images) and Pere Joan (script) recounts a meal of snails shared by friends, a simple premise upon which Pulido overlays complex layouts that elevate the snail to the conceptual level of metaphor, symbol and allegory. A brief analysis of Estudios psicológicos [Psychological studies], a single-page comic featuring snails by Apel·les Mestres i Oñós, outlines basic principles of layout and the representation of subjectivity/interiority that inform subsequent discussion. Pulido and Pere Joan's comic privileges Thierry Groensteen's categories of the shown, the intervened and the signified. Pulido's poetic mode of composition captures the polyphony of group dynamics, occasioning multiple interpretations of the page within and beyond the inter-iconic space.

Contributor Notes

Benjamin Fraser is Professor of Iberian and Latin American Cultural Studies in the College of Humanities at the University of Arizona. He is the author of ninety-five articles and eleven monographs, including Barcelona, City of Comics (SUNY Press, 2022), Visible Cities, Global Comics (University Press of Mississippi, 2019), and the Eisner-nominated The Art of Pere Joan (University of Texas Press, 2019). His articles on comics and graphic novels have been published in European Comic Art, International Journal of Comic Art, Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Studies in Comics, Revista Iberoamericana and Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies. E-mail: ORCID: 0000-0003-1341-4758

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