Applied Comics Network

Patricia Cornflake: comics and feminist art theory

Guest post by Suzanne van Rossenberg

My very first cartoon made in 2007 (image above; click for larger version) has become emblematic of the research I started last year. Back then Patricia Cornflake’s Lesbian Lifestyle was a response to my jobless situation in the arts, in which I had been trained, and my growing interest in LGBTI activism and advocacy. After ten years of working in the arts and activism in the Netherlands, I obtained a scholarship to research the relationships between the two and moved to London.

In my fifteen-year practice of writing, drawing and painting and project management, making comics was a marginal, incidental activity with mainly my friends as an audience. You can see a selection of them here. Some of them have been published in an online queer journal and showcased in art exhibitions.

Recently, cartoons have become more important in my work. I’ve included them in presentations about my research at academic conferences and used the format to review and critique feminist literature. Five cartoons will be published in a forthcoming book about feminist art (theory). Because the context of my comics is so specific, I understand not everybody will find them funny. Often they are not meant to be (only) funny.

It was only a few weeks ago that I found out about the Applied Comics Network through my brother (an archaeologist who also uses academia as a platform for his creativity), when I told him I was working on transforming one of my short stories into a graphic novel. The concentration of drawing relaxes me after hours of reading and writing. There is also another link between comics and my research: fiction can be an invaluable tool for addressing sexism and racism in the arts, academia and other norm-setting areas.

Therefore, I hope to learn more about applied comics and comics scholarship in the near future. Through the Applied Comics Network I hope to get in touch with more artists I can relate to and learn from. I am sorry to have missed the meet-up in May, but I’m definitely attending the Leeds conference. Please get in touch via Twitter @PCornflake or email: SV384[at] Would love to hear from you!