Abstract

Jonathan Lethem’s long-evident interest in comics, for example in his 2003 novel The Fortress of Solitude, culminated in his 2008 reworking of Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes’s 1976 comic book series from Marvel Comics, Omega: The Unknown. Demonstrating that Lethem’s self-conscious paraphrasing of the prior series is part of a sustained examination of repetitions and relations, this essay shows how the serial nature of comics enables Lethem to address themes of families, legacies, and communities, both in this comics work and in his earlier novel also. It will be argued that The Fortress of Solitude and Omega: The Unknown together read the repeating-but-differing images of the comic book in contrast with the repetitions of the franchised brand to present a sustained critique of capitalist cultures. In all of this, it will be seen, Lethem draws on the idioms and traits of comic books: colors, panels, word balloons, margins, gutters, lines.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1542-4286
Print ISSN
0093-3139
Pages
pp. 194-218
Launched on MUSE
2011-06-26
Open Access
No
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