Tag Archives: Queer Comics

Queering the Western? Questions of Genre, Gender, and Normativity in Rikke Villadsen’s Et Knald Til (2014)

By Charlotte Johanne Fabricius


How can one queer a comics genre – especially one rooted in patriarchal tradition, rife with male gaze and stereotypical gender roles? I consider ‘queering’ to be not only an inclusion of nonnormative gender and/or sexual identities, but a broader strategy of ‘making strange’[i]. Furthermore, I consider the comics medium to be an especially interesting site in which to investigate such ‘strangeness.’ This idea has previously been offered by, amongst other, Ramzi Fawaz, who, in The New Mutants (2016), draws upon queer theorist Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s idea of queerness as “gaps, overlaps, dissonances and resonances”, which manifest themselves as “formal gaps, overlaps, dissonances, and resonances of comic book visuality.”[ii] I speak of queering as not only a ‘making unfamiliar’, but also of ‘making possible’ different futures and logics than presented in traditional version of a genre. In the following, I investigate one such attempt, the comic Et Knald Til (Another Bang), which has been characterised by publishers as an ‘erotic Western’.

Et Knald Til[iii] is written and drawn by Rikke Villadsen, published in 2014 by the Danish Publishing House Aben Maler, and nominated for a Ping Prize for Best Danish Comic Book in 2014. It tells the story of a quintessential Western town, inhabited by cowboys and loose women. An outlaw with a price on his head comes to town, kills the men who try to stand in his way, solicits a prostitute – who explodes after their intercourse – and has a drink at the saloon before retiring to a room in the same establishment. Parallel to these goings-on is the story of a young woman in the town who dreams of being a man, so she can leave the town to go adventuring. When the outlaw arrives, she steals his horse and the clothes of one of his victims and sets out. When she starts menstruating, however, the horse recognises her sex and throws her off, leaving her to an uncertain fate. The story concludes with the outlaw waking up in his room only to discover that he has been transformed into a woman identical to the one whose story the reader has been following.

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Posted by on 2017/04/03 in Gender, Guest Writers, Women


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‘Blueprints for a Forward-Dawning Futurity’: Brynjar Åbel Banlien’s Strîmb Life (2009) and Strîmb Living – 5 Years with Oskar (2011) by Mihaela Precup

‘“I really do believe

future generations can

live without the in-

tervals of anxious

fear we know between our

bouts and strolls of


James Schuyler

(qtd. in José Esteban Muñoz, Cruising Utopia)

The first two books of comics published by Norwegian dancer, choreographer, and comic book artist Brynjar Åbel Bandlien are also the first two and only comics published in Romania that address queer topics.[1] The author embarked on the doubly daunting task of using a medium that was new for him (i.e. comics) and representing a way of living (that he calls strîmb)[2] whose visual presence in Romania is quite scarce. Bandlien’s two fictional autobiographies, Strîmb Life (2009) and Strîmb Living – 5 Years with Oskar (2011), are related attempts to provide a view of what it means to be living a strîmb life, although more often than not they are simply about living a happy life. These two books are welcome interventions in a space of almost complete silence and everyday invisibility, but they are (thankfully) neither didactic to-do lists meant to guide us through the hours and days of a queer life, nor are they exhaustive exercises in defining queerness.

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Posted by on 2013/05/30 in Gender, Guest Writers


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