Gutter politics: graphic novels in the age of Trump

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This article explores the ways in which US graphic novels have responded to, narrated and politically framed, the Trump presidency. Analysing a generically diverse range of texts – from non-fiction to science fiction – I argue that comics artists were quick to mobilise the medium’s unique qualities in the service of ideological critique. The article offers a detailed account of how publications such as Sabrina (2018), The Hard Tomorrow (2019), LaGuardia (2019), and Welcome to the New World (2020) were developed, shaped and reshaped against the backdrop of Donald Trump’s election victory and presidential term. Through an assortment of formal and stylistic devices – spatial and temporal jumps and juxtapositions afforded by panel arrangement, a weaving together of historical and contemporaneous iconography, the interplay of various textual cues and registers – these graphic novels offered complex portrayals of the impact of Trump and “Trumpism” on various individuals, groups and communities. In different ways, they evidence the medium’s ability to intervene in wider political discourse, construct challenging historical and speculative narratives, and offer fresh, resonant engagements with pressing issues of the day.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-185
JournalEuropean Journal of American Culture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2022


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