"Phoenix fire, lightning bolts, and mnemonic prodigies : a mutational archive of trauma".




Kalinay, Justin, author., “"Phoenix fire, lightning bolts, and mnemonic prodigies : a mutational archive of trauma".,” Scholar@Simmons, accessed October 25, 2020, https://beatleyweb.simmons.edu/scholar/items/show/21.


"Phoenix fire, lightning bolts, and mnemonic prodigies : a mutational archive of trauma".


Kalinay, Justin, author.




This paper will apply trauma theory, specifically the creation and interpretation of an archive of trauma, to Marvel Entertainment’s X-men comics. My goal for this paper is to situate comics as an important medium for identity relation and construction, and the habituation of personal and cultural trauma relating to minority status(es). I believe that X-men comics in particular offer a rich site for the examination of how representatives of “queer affect,” those who challenge “the norm” through their difference, their partial intelligibility, can create power and community in their abjectness. Concurrently, I will point out how when viewed as an archive X-men comics can create a timeline, a genealogy, of (mis)understanding adversity and oppression and the myriad ways in which affective behavior and the recognition of trauma can be applied to its resistance.

The medium of comics is particularly important due to its unique visual/verbal narrative. “Closing the gutter” (McCloud) between comic book panels, while simultaneously processing both images and text draws the reader into the comic, allowing a deeper resonance with plot and characters as well as an active interpretation of the process, meaning, and impact of events (critical consciousness). Specific iterations of oppression are filtered through the lens of being mutant, making mutant status the master category of oppression. The X-men, Marvel’s primary mutant group/family/community, actively fight against such adversity by uniting various minority identities in the name of mutant intelligibility. I call for the need of more blatantly intersectional characters with fully realized and connecting identities of race, gender, sexuality, nationality, and class; but I also posit that this mutational archive of trauma offers semiotic resistance to hegemonic norms by creating alternate futurities and communities in which these norms are challenged and inverted through the fantastic setting(s) of the superhero genre.
Thesis (Masters) -- Simmons College, 2016.
Bibliography: pages 56-58.


Marvel Entertainment Group.
X-men (Comic strip)
Comic books, strips, etc. -- Themes, motives -- Social aspects.
Psychic trauma -- Social aspects.
Minorities -- Social conditions.


Simmons College (Boston, Mass.)


1 PDF (73 pages) : color illustrations




Masters Theses


PN6714 .K35 2016