Licari-Guillaume, Isabelle: "“What is it with these Brits?”. British culture and the “British Invasion” narrative seen through letter columns." In: Comicalités (1. Apr. 2021)<http://journals.openedition.org/comicalites/5585>.
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BibTeX citation key: LicariGuillaume2021a
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Keywords: Authorship, Fandom, Reception, United Kingdom, USA
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This article deals with the reception of the phenomenon known as the “British Invasion”, which has been subject to much academic debate. In recent years, scholars such as Jochen Ecke and Christophe Dony have contested the validity of the term, because the arrival of UK creators on the mainstream US comics market in the 1980s and 1990s - hardly an “invasion” to begin with - reflected a complex network of transatlantic influences that cannot be described as strictly British. Despite these (very valid) concerns, the concept of the British Invasion should not be discarded altogether: indeed, the idea that UK writers of that period form a distinctive group characterized by their style, their thematic concerns and their national origins features prominently in fan discourses of the period. In particular, the letter columns of 80s and 90s comic books certainly attest to the importance of what I call the British Invasion narrative, which plays a specific role in the sociabilities of comics readers. In this article, I examine a selection of UK and US comic books, namely Camelot 3000, The Daredevils, Captain Britain monthly, Miracleman, Marshal Law, Hellblazer, Sandman, Shade, the Changing Man. Although we should be wary of generalisations, this sample shows the prominence of the Invasion narrative as a collective construct. On both sides of the Atlantic, readers frequently use national categories, establishing clear boundaries between the US and UK culture. They adopt Britishness as a way to refer to a (largely underdefined) aesthetics, but also to perform its most obvious signifiers (accent, lexicon, etc.), thus emphasizing their belonging to a readerly community.
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