Liminality, Hybridity, and American Women's Literature
Author's Final Manuscript
In Lucky, The Voyeurs, and Truth is Fragmentary, cartoonist Gabrielle Bell adopts comics panels of approximately the same size as a passport photo. The comics draw a kind of auto-fiction that marries the fantastical and the autobiographical, frequently eliding musings on her status as a woman writer, a comics writer, and a traveler. These are all categories that share the distinction of being “threshold” or liminal categories. This chapter takes Bell’s presentation of identity as an object of formal and phenomenological inquiry. It considers how the hand-drawn rendering of the autobiographical self ironically draws attention to the irregularity of identity and to the writer’s unmistakable signature that extends to both verbal and visual style. Taking representative scenes from these three graphic short-story collections, the author argues the stories demonstrate a writing practice that claims the liminal as an authoritative expression of individual identity for the twenty-first century.
Kwa, Shiamin. 2018, "Still Moving: Gabrielle Bell’s Graphic Auto-Fiction." In K. Jacobson, K. Allukian, R.A. Legleitner, L. Allison (eds.), Liminality, Hybridity, and American Women's Literature, Palgrave Macmillan: 247-263.