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date: 16 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Bitch Planet and Matt Fraction’s Sex Criminals model the role comic books can play in fostering important civic conversations. Both draw inspiration from exploitation cinema genres (the women-in-prison film, the sex comedy) but reimagine them to embrace alternative conceptions of gender and sexuality. Both also construct “community pages” that inspire and support “uncomfortable conversations” among their fan base—DeConnick’s Non-Compliants and Fraction’s Brimpers. These exchanges construct what Michael Saler describes as “public spheres of the imagination,” communities brought together around periodical publications that create intimate conversations among strangers that use reflections about fictional worlds to contemplate real-world issues. These comic-book publics inspire future developments within these series but also hold the potential to inspire real-world activism.

Keywords: comic books, gender, sexuality, exploitation cinema, public spheres, activism

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