Vita Longa, Ars Breva
Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics
Taylor and Francis
School of Arts and Humanities
© 2020, © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. As a cisgender, white, heterosexual male who typified the classic comics ‘kick-sand-in-the-face’ nerd, bullied substantially in school, this evolved into an eating disorder (a mental illness), body dysmporphia and sexual dysfunction. Throughout my career, I have used the comics medium to explore the issue of masculinity in Western society, from the perspective of male characters who do not perform their gender according to mediated, culturally accepted standards (sporty, alpha, strong, etc.). My comics essay will chronologically explore how my mental and bodily state of being was reflected in the choices I made to tell and depict stories, from self-erasure or disguise (a literal revulsion at depicting oneself) via the use of proxies, to the current state of wellness, wherein I now produce overtly autobiographical works. I will contextualise my own story with the work of other creators whose own stories gave me ‘permission’ to explore my own issues, and how the comics medium appears to be curiously fruitful for such stories by people who feel like ‘outsiders’ and misfits from society.