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Pencilled justice: the graphic anarchist jurisprudence of Alan Moore and Frank Miller

Conference Paper


Abstract


  • Comics is a richly aesthetic narrative medium that should be considered as an essential resource in the interdisciplinary study of jurisprudence. Comics’ aesthetic conventions can complicate any political, ethical and legal narrative. Words can be visually inflected when aesthetically rendered and juxtaposed with pictures, while pictures can become as abstract and symbolic as words. In other words, in comics the written text can function like images, and images like written text. These aesthetic attributes make comics a medium particularly suitable to discuss, reinforce or challenge philosophical and jurisprudential discourses.

    Comics is also a medium forged in times of crisis. The word crisis derives from the Greek ίς, “judgment.” Interestingly, DC Comics published in 1985 a twelve-part series titled Crisis on Infinite Earths whose main goal was to clean up the chaos of narrative parallel universes which DC’s writers had established over the past forty-five years, in order to start afresh with one single story continuity. While a miserable fail as an attempt at simplification, Crisis on Infinite Earths still inaugurated an era of multifaceted, elaborate and rich superhero comic books. Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (1986) and Alan Moore’s Watchmen (1986) are the first instances of such revisionary superhero narratives, which drawing from the dystopian tradition critically addressed and assessed from an anarchist standpoint the conservative conceptions of social order and civil liberties championed by the New Right during the eighties.

Publication Date


  • 2013

Citation


  • L. Gomez Romero, ''Pencilled justice: the graphic anarchist jurisprudence of Alan Moore and Frank Miller'' (Paper presented at the Law, Literature & the Humanities Association of Australasia: Interpellations, Australian National University, 5 December).

Place Of Publication


  • Canberra

Abstract


  • Comics is a richly aesthetic narrative medium that should be considered as an essential resource in the interdisciplinary study of jurisprudence. Comics’ aesthetic conventions can complicate any political, ethical and legal narrative. Words can be visually inflected when aesthetically rendered and juxtaposed with pictures, while pictures can become as abstract and symbolic as words. In other words, in comics the written text can function like images, and images like written text. These aesthetic attributes make comics a medium particularly suitable to discuss, reinforce or challenge philosophical and jurisprudential discourses.

    Comics is also a medium forged in times of crisis. The word crisis derives from the Greek ίς, “judgment.” Interestingly, DC Comics published in 1985 a twelve-part series titled Crisis on Infinite Earths whose main goal was to clean up the chaos of narrative parallel universes which DC’s writers had established over the past forty-five years, in order to start afresh with one single story continuity. While a miserable fail as an attempt at simplification, Crisis on Infinite Earths still inaugurated an era of multifaceted, elaborate and rich superhero comic books. Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (1986) and Alan Moore’s Watchmen (1986) are the first instances of such revisionary superhero narratives, which drawing from the dystopian tradition critically addressed and assessed from an anarchist standpoint the conservative conceptions of social order and civil liberties championed by the New Right during the eighties.

Publication Date


  • 2013

Citation


  • L. Gomez Romero, ''Pencilled justice: the graphic anarchist jurisprudence of Alan Moore and Frank Miller'' (Paper presented at the Law, Literature & the Humanities Association of Australasia: Interpellations, Australian National University, 5 December).

Place Of Publication


  • Canberra