Abstract

The history of clowns and the history of comics are interwoven, from the figures of the Commedia dell’arte, and the birth of the modern comic in the 1820s, to the sinister postmodern renderings of the twentieth century such as Stephen King’s It and Frank Quitely’s unnerving DC Joker. Laurence Grove presents five "quick-fire sideshows" that discuss how and why clowns and comics are interconnected icons of current culture. Both are visual phenomena that draw on text; they are hybrid and contradictory. Both can operate as filters for intense emotion and masks for social comment in difficult times. Or maybe they are just fun.

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