Monsters and Spectacles

A Lesson to Learn and Remember

in European Comic Art
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  • 1 Florida Atlantic University ccalarge@fau.edu

This essay analyzes a three-volume graphic novel series titled Kia Ora that was published by Vents d'Ouest between 2007 and 2009. The essay is divided in two parts. In the first part, I show how the series' authors retrace the episode of human zoos in the West through a rigorous historical documentation that allows them to examine the mechanisms of 'monstrification' of the colonized subject. The graphic novel series shows how the shaping of a collective and national identity takes place through the exposition/exhibition of the 'abnormality' or (so-called) monstrosity of the Colonized. The second part of the article discusses the series as a contemporary French popular cultural product. It examines questions such as the extent to which Kia Ora explores the (problematic) colonial past of France, how it represents it, and whether it avoids delving in uncomfortable (forgotten) zones.

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