Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Drawing desires performance: Dominance and submission in Will Eisner's “The Spirit” and Alan Moore's “Watchmen”
by Furlong, Michael, M.A., Florida Atlantic University, 2011, 127; 1507531
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis discusses the relationship between classic comic books and BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism.) Will Eisner’s The Spirit is used to discuss sexuality and power in comics, with special attention paid to Eisner's “The Kissing Caper.” The Eisner chapter explores the relationship between sadomasochism, film noir, gender dynamics and comics. Using Judith Butler, Fredric Wertham and Theodor Reik, the gender politics of The Spirit are discussed. Women's changing roles in the post-World War II American workplace are linked to Eisner’s BDSM themes in The Spirit from the character’s origin story to the 1950s.

In examining Alan Moore’s Watchmen, the paper focuses on transactional power dynamics and how BDSM rituals are enacted in modern American comics. American power relationships in politics are used as a comparison and contrast to BDSM dynamics in Watchmen. Samuel R. Delany, William Moulton Marston and Pat Califia are used as theorists within the discussion of power exchanges in Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore’s graphic novel. The consensual fantasy element to this power relationship is demonstrated as the underlying dynamic of the act, and not as actual punishment or nonconsensual sadism.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Berlatsky, Eric
School: Florida Atlantic University
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: MAI 50/04M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Modern literature, Womens studies, American literature, British and Irish literature, Gender studies
Publication Number: 1507531
ISBN: 978-1-267-15899-4
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