Gothic in Comics and Graphic Novels

A Critical Approach


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About the Book

This book explores the connections between comics and Gothic from four different angles: historical, formal, cultural and textual. It identifies structures, styles and themes drawn from literary gothic traditions and discusses their presence in British and American comics today, with particular attention to the DC Vertigo imprint.
Part One offers an historical approach to British and American comics and Gothic, summarizing the development of both their creative content and critical models, and discussing censorship, allusion and self-awareness. Part Two brings together some of the gothic narrative strategies of comics and reinterprets critical approaches to the comics medium, arguing for an holistic model based around the symbols of the crypt, the spectre and the archive. Part Three then combines cultural and textual analysis, discussing the communities that have built up around comics and gothic artifacts and concluding with case studies of two of the most famous gothic archetypes in comics: the vampire and the zombie.

About the Author(s)

Julia Round is a senior lecturer in the Media School at Bournemouth University, United Kingdom, and co-edits the academic journal Studies in Comics. She has published and presented work internationally on comics, Gothic, narrative and adaptation. She lives in the United Kingdom.

Bibliographic Details

Julia Round
Foreword by David Punter
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 268
Bibliographic Info: 12 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4980-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1432-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Foreword by David Punter 1

Preface 5

Introduction 7

1—A Brief History of Gothic 11

2—A Brief History of British and American Comics and Criticism 24

Retrospective: Critical Models of Gothic and Comics 55


Introduction: A Gothic Critical Model of Comics 57

3—Haunted Places 60

4—Excess, Embodiment and Artifice 75

5—Revenant Readers, the Crypt and the Archive 96

Retrospective: Putting the Monster Together 112

Case Study I: “The Game,” House of Mystery #178 114

Case Study II: “House of Secrets Promo,” House of Mystery #182 117

Case Study III: Prequel to iZombie #1 119

Case Study IV: “Sleep of the Just,” Sandman #1 122

Case Study V: The New Deadwardians, #1–8 127


Introduction 131

6—A Comparative Study of Goth and Comics Cultures 133

7—Gothic Content: Absorption and Atemporality 155

8—Vampires and the Penetrative Bite and Gaze 168

9—Zombies, Technology and Medical Magic 199

Reflections 229

Chapter Notes 231

References 233

Index 247

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Round’s book is a serious and intellectually rigorous examination of the particular intersection of the comics form and the gothic…a most welcome addition to existing scholarship”—Journal of American Culture