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Ridiculous Empire

Satire and European Colonialism in the Comics of Olivier Schrauwen

Robert Aman

Abstract

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.