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Reading Lessons in SeeingMirrors, Masks, and Mazes in the Autobiographical Graphic Novel$
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Michael A. Chaney

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781496810250

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2018

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496810250.001.0001

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Picture Games in Story Frames and the Play Spaces of Autography

Picture Games in Story Frames and the Play Spaces of Autography

(p.95) 3 Picture Games in Story Frames and the Play Spaces of Autography
Reading Lessons in Seeing

Michael A. Chaney

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter explores puzzles and other ludic devices in Epileptic, Cancer Vixen, and Fun Home, asking what is produced when autobiographical graphic novels stop showing and telling and start playing. The goal is to understand the tendency in some autography for picture puzzles, labyrinths, and matching exercises. The chapter examines the implications of graphic memoir's penchant for ludic interactivity (“ludic” refers to acts of play solicited by the text as well as the textual spaces that these solicitations inscribe). More specifically, it considers what happens to reading and readers when this shift to play occurs. It also investigates how shifts to the ludic give rise to tactile “reading” experiences that reveal graphic memoir's investments in embodiment and materiality. The chapter shows that the play spaces of autobiographical graphic novels beckon transformative agency in the field of the reader, whose actions therein are both emancipatory and puzzling.

Keywords:   ludic interactivity, Epileptic, Cancer Vixen, Fun Home, graphic novels, autography, picture puzzles, play spaces, reading, embodiment

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