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Matthew C. Ehrlich
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Sammye Johnson
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University of Pennsylvania

University of Southern California

The IJPC Journal, Volume 9 - Fall 2020 - Spring 2021

Cartoonist, Draw Thyself

Blair Davis


Most comics are fiction. Journalism is committed to reality and dedicated to non-fiction’s essential task of documenting truth, facts and historical record. But within this divide between fictional and non-fiction comics, and between creative fantasy and factual journalism, lies the phenomenon of the comics creators who have inserted themselves into their own creations. Such creators blur the line between journalism and fiction in a way that frequently creates a hybrid of both. Their presence often becomes a process of documenting the life of a cartoonist/comics artist in a way that offers readers a physical record of not only who that creator is (with self-portraiture in play as they draw themselves), but also in how they chronicle their own lives, relationships with their characters and/or their creative processes. The instinct to insert oneself into the comics page can be traced back to some of the earliest comic strips and comic books.

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