Myth in the heroic comic-book : a reading of archetypes from The number one game and its models

Birch, Robert A. C. (2008-12)

Thesis (MPhil (Visual Arts))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.


This thesis considers the author's project submission, a comic-book entitled The Number One Game, as production of a local heroic myth. The author will show how this project attempts to engage with mythic and archetypal material to produce an entertaining narrative that has relevance to contemporary Cape Town. The narrative adapts previous incarnations of the hero, with reference to theories of archetypes and mythic patterning devices that are derived from the concept of the “mono-myth”. Joseph Campbell's conception of myth as expressing internal psychic processes will be compared to Roland Barthes' reading of myth as a special inflection of speech that forms a semiotic “metalanguage”. The comic-book is a specific form of the language of comics, a combination of image and text that is highly structured and that can produce a rich graphic text. Using the Judge Dredd and Batman comic-books as models it will be shown how The Number One Game adapts traditions of representation, such as in genre references, to local perspective to create a novel interplay of archetypes. It will be shown that this interplay in the author's project work and the rich potential of the comic-book as a site for mythic speech makes the mythic a useful paradigm for considering the expression of ideology in the heroic comic-book.

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