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Graphic Capitaloscenes: Drawing Infrastructure as Historical Form

Davies, D. ORCID: 0000-0002-3584-5789 (2023). Graphic Capitaloscenes: Drawing Infrastructure as Historical Form. Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, pp. 1-16. doi: 10.1080/00111619.2023.2231845


This article describes “graphic Capitaloscenes” – narrative moments in which graphic novels draw infrastructure as a material expression of capitalism’s historical development. Drawing on work that has described graphic narrative as both an “infrastructural” and “scenographic” form, it contends that graphic novels are particularly adept at representing infrastructure as historical content while themselves materialising that historical infrastructure on the page. Bringing this to bear on visual texts concerned with capitalism’s frontier zones, this article suggests that graphic novels are therefore not only able to stage extractive infrastructures as historical forms, but that they are also themselves formally conjoined to the current historical moment of the Capitalocene. The article offers two case studies in support of its argument, each of which revolves around the extraction of fossil fuels: Joe Sacco’s Paying the Land (2020) and Pablo Fajardo’s Crude, A Memoir (2021). In each of its readings, the article shows how these comics are able to stage infrastructure as historical form, while at the same time bringing into view anti-colonial and anti-capitalist relations that offer a counterpoint to the accumulative relationships of the Capitalocene.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.
Publisher Keywords: graphic narrative, infrastructure, Capitalocene, graphic Capitaloscenes, comics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > English, Publishing & Creative Writing
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