Saturday, October 22, 2011

Excerpt from Chapter 3: Jessica Abel's La perdida

In La perdida, Jessica Abel illustrates the journey of Carla Olivares, a young American woman intent on finding her Mexican roots by traveling to the Mexican capital. The graphic novel is in effect a critique of the Chicana/o identity as it traces a story that takes several turns along the way to mark specific instances of personal trauma and to place emphasis on the extra-historical complexities involved in the cultural identification process. Even though the graphic novel never employs the term “Chicana/o” to describe any particular character, La perdida is a text that necessarily involves and invites all of Chicana/o's literary and visual criticisms as it engages in the overt building and deconstruction of Chicana/o, Mexican, and American stereotypes in their modes of interaction (or resistance to it). In fact, the text is so critical in this regard that some Chicana/o literature critics have denounced it as an “ignorant” “reification of Mexican culture” whose author-artist is merely intent on selling a type of travel narrative with a “Mexican feel” (Hamilton 130). On the other hand, critics like the author of Your Brain on Latino Comics, Frederick Luis Aldama, have simply ignored it even after suggesting that the Latino market of author-artists is modest in number. Aldama says, “That there is enough material for a book on Latino comics says a lot” (5). But then again, La perdida is not writen by a Latina.

Works cited:
  • Aldama, Frederick Luis. Your Brain on Latino Comics: From... Gus Arriola to... Los Bros. Hernandez. University of Texas Press. Austin: 2009.
  • Hamilton, Patrick L. "Lost In Translation: Jessica Abel's La Perdida, the Bildungsroman, and 'That Mexican' Feel". Multicultural Comics: From Zap to Blue Beetle. Frederick Luis Aldama, Ed. University of Texas Press. Austin: 2010. 

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