Foss Presents Conference Paper

Portrait of Professor FossOn April 17, Professor of English Chris Foss presented a paper entitled “My Favorite Comic Is Monster Girl: Helene Fischer’s Crip Re-appropriation of Monstrosity” as part of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association national conference at the Wardham Park Marriott in Washington, DC.  In his paper, Foss argued that for all the well-deserved accolades which have greeted Marjorie Liu’s Monstress and Emil Ferris’s My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Helene Fischer’s humble and unheralded Monster Girl most fully realizes the transformative potential of a crip re-appropriation of monstrosity.  Monster Girl features an autistic artist’s rendering of an autistic protagonist.  It not only is explicitly engaged in illuminating the lived experience of disability, but it further constitutes a generative starting point for the further exploration of the metaphorical assumptions about disability and monstrosity while reaffirming the crucial role of the genre’s own hybridity in foregrounding such considerations.  Even though it is only a short four-page comic, Monster Girl offers a complex tapestry of the nexus of disability and monstrosity, suggesting various enabling possibilities for a crip re-visioning of disabled monstrosity.  Embodying the particularly promising potential such a hybrid genre holds for the deconstruction of traditional templates and the (re)construction of empowering alternatives to said monstrosity, it speaks to the wonderful extent to which such a comics text may productively produce excitement and empathy instead of hatred and horror.