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1). The young Alison is filled with a deep sense of joy when she catches sight of a woman with a man’s haircut and clothes while accompanying her father on a business trip to Philadelphia. To Alison, the stranger represents tangible evidence of the existence of alternative female role models, and it dawns on her that in the future she may be able to find a physical identity for herself that truly reflects her innermost feelings. ” This interpretation is encouraged through the use of some clever visual devices: the shadowy outline of another person behind Alison’s head can be read as a metaphor for her future self, and the man behind the counter bears 49 50 Picturing Embodied Selves FIG.

Initially, punk had the biggest impact on this type of comics, but later titles were influenced by other subcultures, such as rave, indie, and the traveling scene, as well as various artistic movements, both past and current. , and Escape (1983) in the UK. Since then, a veritable boom in comics for adults has swept America and Western Europe, with artists using the medium to explore new subject matter—from fantasy, science fiction, and erotic tales, to history, documentary, and biography, and, notably, autobiography.

In Peirce’s (1960) semiotic theory, words are symbols, based on an arbitrary and utterly conventional connection between signs and their meaning. Images, by contrast, are icons, which are founded on a close physical resemblance between signs and the objects to which they refer. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the boundaries between the two modes are in fact quite fuzzy. ” The size, weight, expansion, and regularity of type often convey a vast amount of connotative meanings. Written words can also assume more explicit pictorial qualities, when either individual letterforms and words, or the shapes of text lines or blocks on the page, are made to resemble specific objects (Stöckl 2005; van Leeuwen 2006).

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