This article introduces the concept of “graphic nonsense” to explain nonsense in Fred Chao’s graphic narrative, Johnny Hiro, which features figures of monster (Godzilla and King Kong) as well as real U.S. political figures (Michael Bloomberg and John P. O’Brien). Focusing on transpacific trauma, this article articulates a counter-history using Fredric Jameson’s terms to expose the process of silencing the other and “retextualizing” history. Although puzzling at first, if not silly at best, the nonsensical elements in the graphic narrative can prompt the reader to find out historical allusions in Godzilla and King Kong to make sense out of nonsense. The reader eventually can understand “graphic nonsense” as a peculiar but effective mode of representation for the underrepresented historical trauma. While Marianne Hirsch’s “postmemory” assumes children who know about their parents’ trauma, graphic nonsense portrays a phenomenon that exceeds Hirsch’s term as its characters neither know about their parents (or ancestor’s) trauma nor recognize what haunts them as “the return of the repressed.” Graphic nonsense can also reread Sigmund Freud and Cathy Caruth by presenting that nonsense is at the heart of trauma.
"Graphic Nonsense and Historical Trauma in Fred Chao’s Johnny Hiro."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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