Parution — Strong Bonds

Strong Bonds: Child-animal Relationships in Comics

ed. Maaheen Ahmed

Couverture_ACME_6_OK copy

Snoopy and Charlie Brown, Calvin and Hobbes, Tintin and Snowy… comics are home to many memorable child and animal figures. Many cultural productions, especially children’s literature and cartoons, stress the similarities between children and animals, similarities that have their limits and often place the child, as human, above the animal. Still, these fictional situations offer opportunities for thinking of child-animal relationships in diverse ways through, for instance, considering the possibilities of privileged contact between children and animals or of animals that are more knowledgeable and powerful than children and even adults.
Despite the prevalence and success of child-animal tandems in comics and culture, we know very little about these relationships. What makes them so popular? How do they work? How much do they vary across time and cultures? What do they tell us about the place of animals and children in comics and in the real world?
Strong Bonds: Child-animal Relationships in Comics takes a first, important step in this direction. Bringing together scholars with a diverse range of comics expertise, the volume’s chapters combine contextualized readings of comics with relevant theories for interrogating childhood and animalhood, their overlaps and divergences. The strong bonds between children and animals mapped out here point towards alternative modes of conceptualizing family and identity and, ultimately, alternative means of reading, interpreting and imagining.
With chapters on early comics (the Italian children’s magazine Corriere dei Piccoli during WWI, Harold Gray’s Little Orphan Annie) international and regional classics (Tintin, the Flemish Jommeke) and contemporary graphic novels (Bryan Talbot’s A Tale of One Bad Rat, Brecht Even’s Panther), this critical anthology sheds light on a vast array of child-animal relationships in comics from Europe and North America.

Maaheen Ahmed is an associate professor of comparative literature at Ghent University. She is author of Openness of Comics (2016) and Monstrous Imaginaries: The Legacy of Romanticism in Comics (2020). She is currently principal investigator of the ERC-funded project COMICS which seeks to piece together an intercultural history of children and comics.


ISBN : 978-2-87562-259-4
Année de publication : 2020
Prix : 16.00€ TVAC
Pages : 296

Table of contents


Maaheen Ahmed, « Child-animal Relationships in Comics: A First Mapping »

Alternative Families

Peter W.Y. Lee, « The Maternal Arf!: Raising Canines in the Roaring Twenties in Harold Gray’s Little Orphan Annie »

Gert Meesters and Pascal Lefèvre, « Towards an Unexpected Equivalence: Animals, Children and Adults in the Popular Flemish Strip Jommeke »

Jennifer Marchant, « Hergé’s Animal Sidekicks: The Adventures of Snowy and Jocko »

Queered Relationships

Olivia Hicks, « (Super) Horsing Around: The Significance of Comet in Supergirl »

Nicole Eschen Solis, « A Girl and Her Dinosaur: The Queerness of Childhood in Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur »

Childhood under Threat

José Alaniz, “Winner Take All!”: Children, Animals and Mourning
in Kirby’s Kamandi« 

Mel Gibson, « “Once upon a time, there was a very bad rat…”: Constructions of Childhood, Young People, Vermin and Comics »

Shiamin Kwa, « The Panther, the Girl, and the Wardrobe: Borderlessness and Domestic Terror in Panther« 


Michael Chaney and Sara Biggs Chaney, « Animal-child Dyad and Neurodivergence in Peanuts« 

Fabiana Loparco, « The Most Loyal of Friends, the Most Lethal of Enemies: Child-animal Relationships in Corriere dei Piccoli during the First World War »


Emmanuelle Rougé, « A Poetics of Anti-authorianism: Child-animal Relationships in Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes »

Benoît Glaude, « Child-animal Interactions in Yakari’s Early Adventures: A Zoonarratological Reading »

Laura A. Pearson, « Graphic Cross-pollinations and Shapeshifting Fables in Matthew Forsythe’s Jinchalo« 


Philippe Capart, « Boule & Bill: Unwrapped »

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