Publication Details

Fitzsimmons, P. R. (2005). Below the metaphor of intent: one author-illustrator's view of the monstrous, and what he didn't see. Monsters and the Monstrous: Myths and Metaphors of Enduring Evil.


This paper details the findings of a project that focused on illuminating how one of Australia’s leading graphic-novelists, Marcello Baez, created the ideal of the monster and the monstrous in his best selling text, Diablo. The initial ‘focussing interview’, concentrating on the inspiration and impetus behind the drafting process and what I perceived to be an obvious, but disconnected elements of the monstrous inserted in this text. This initial discussion revealed Baez deliberately inserted a series of symbolic elements in his frames of visual storytelling. In this particular instance he deliberately underpinned the text-illustration journey with his personal view of what constitutes a more global ideal of the monster in the Western World, which revolves around the ideals of the isolation of the individual, the fear of loneliness, loss of relationships, insecurity and fear of dying. While he was able to articulate some of these features and their archetypical representations, it soon became clear that he had also unconsciously rested his metaphoric intentions on an even deeper set of semiotic facets. After repeated analysis, these elements were seen to be manifested in a set of visual literacy tools that included a constant use of what I have come to term parallelism, changing horizons, line of connective gaze and cut off features. Once identified and combined with a set of further ‘rabbiting interviews’, these triggered off in Baez a set of realisations that not only did these facets give further weight to his deliberate metaphoric inclusions but also represented a deeper subset of personal fears. These were manifestations of his “false self, or mask” (Laing 1969:36), a set of hidden private monsters centred on sexuality, the binding of time and the need for an affirmation of living. While this paper gives further weight to Chetwynd’s (1982) claim that the rise and nature of the monster in a text represents the author’s deepest repressed feelings, fears and failures, it also sheds light on one view of the nature of the monstrous in current society. This presentation of this paper is designed to be highly interactive and will use the tools of visual literacy and Baez’s frames as the prime focal points of discussion.

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Monsters and the Monstrous

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