Re-inventing the Origins of the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow up: Regis Loisel's 'Peter Pan'

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Régis Loisel's Peter Pan (Vents d'Ouest, 1990-2004) is a striking re-formulation of the origins of this mythical character due to its stylistic, narrative and thematic darkness. This article uses Loisel's bande dessinée to examine the potential of comics as an adaptive medium, and the reading process of the comic prequel, two aspects which are productively linked by the concept of the network. 1 draw on Sanders'and Groensteen's uses of the concept in adaptation studies and comics studies respectively, to reflect on both the way that Loisel's bande dessinée is connected to the network of proliferating Peter Pan narratives, and the way in which the comic functions as a network itself, engaging the reader in a translinear and plurivectoral reading. This article first explores how core elements of the well-known Peter Pan narrative are adapted in Loisel's comic, both echoing and contrasting with previous versions as Loisel's bande dessinée engages with and re-formulates the character's textual and visual multiplicities from the network of Peter Pan narratives. This article then draws on Paul Sutton's theorization of the 'dual temporality' of the prequel to reflect on the reading process of Loisel's Peter Pan as a comic prequel that productively uses the nature of a comic as a network, and its potential for translinear and plurivectoral reading. Loisel's Peter Pan engages the reader in an active, retrospective, prospective and anticipatory reading process, in a dynamic of repetition and difference.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-292
JournalStudies in Comics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014

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