(Mis)Leading the Reader

Decolonising Adventure Comics in Baruti and Cassiau-Haurie's Le Singe jaune

in European Comic Art
Author:
Alicia Lambert PhD candidate, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium alicia.lambert@uclouvain.be

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Abstract

This article examines how Baruti and Cassiau-Haurie's Le Singe jaune (2018) subverts the literary adventure tropes that have been associated with the Congo. By examining its complex network of intertextual references, including the controversial Tintin au Congo, the analysis demonstrates that this graphic novel misleads readers into expecting a mere entertaining adventure quest, while leading them instead to learn about the social, economic, political, and historical consequences of a colonial system based on segregation and exploitation. Le Singe jaune, therefore, breathes new life into adventure comics while also subverting the unilateral (neo)colonial representations this tradition has reinforced. It enables readers to embrace alternative perspectives on the common history of the Congo and Belgium and urges them to answer the call for a new dialogue.

Contributor Notes

Alicia Lambert is a PhD candidate at the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium). Her PhD project (FRESH-FNRS), Panels in Tensions, Memories in Dialogues: Comics and the Belgian Colonial Imaginary (2000–2022), examines how medium-specific characteristics generate a critical and reflexive distance from propagandist one-sided (neo)colonial representations, promote alternative narratives, and bring memories into dialogue. This includes the works of artists such as Barly Baruti, Jean-Philippe Stassen, Nicolas Pitz, Nicolas Wouters, Olivier Schrauwen, and Thibau Vande Voorde, among others. She co-wrote the article ‘(Un)drawing Belgium's Colonial Monuments: Comics’ Engagement with Decolonial Debates’ with Véronique Bragard, which was published in Memory Studies (2021). E-mail: alicia.lambert@uclouvain.be

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