Comics Memory pp 165-185 | Cite as

Comics History and the Question of Delinquency: The Case of Criminal

  • Christopher Pizzino
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Comics and Graphic Novels book series (PSCGN)


Contemporary US comics creators are deeply aware of historical links between comics and criminality. In Last of the Innocent, an acclaimed arc of their series Criminal, writer Ed Brubaker and illustrator Sean Phillips explore these links, evoking memories of comics history to critique normative concepts of innocence and legitimacy. A story of a crime that goes unpunished, Last of the Innocent shows how states of legitimacy—including implicitly, the status granted to some comics under the heading of the graphic novel—are unstable, since distinctions between criminality and innocence are enforced with arbitrary violence. Brubaker and Phillips, like many other creators, see the story of comics’ upward mobility in recent decades as a myth; their work recalls the historical power dynamics this myth has obscured.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Pizzino
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Georgia AthensUSA

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