Ridiculous Empire

Satire and European Colonialism in the Comics of Olivier Schrauwen

in European Comic Art
Robert Aman Linköping University, Sweden robert.aman@liu.se

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This article analyses the works of Olivier Schrauwen with a particular focus on his comic Arsène Schrauwen, which plays out in the colonial context of the Congo. It argues that Schrauwen's comics exploit the formal qualities of the colonial adventure genre that is frequent in traditional European comics as a way of subverting and satirising them. It further argues that through a constant reliance on meta-references to other works and tropes recognisable from adventure tales, in combination with the adoption of a strict colonialist world view, Schrauwen humorously ridicules the asymmetrical binaries between coloniser and colonised.

Contributor Notes

Robert Aman is Associate Professor in Education at Linköping University, Sweden. He primarily conducts research into ideology, legacies of colonialism and the politics of representation in comics. He has published a number of articles in journals including Third Text, Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics and Inks. His most recent book, The Phantom Comics and the New Left (Palgrave Macmillan), was published in 2020. E-mail: robert.aman@liu.se. ORCID: 0000-0002-2387-1883

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