Drawing on critical theory, minimalism, constructivism and more, Alex Segade reimagines the superhero comic book as a queer parable of belonging.
A graphic novel by New York-based artist and My Barbarian member Alexandro Segade (born 1973), The Context follows six powerful beings from different worlds who find themselves inexplicably adrift together in an otherwise lifeless void: Biopower, Cathexis, Barelife, Objector, Drives and Form. The characters, each named for a concept drawn from critical theory, engage one another in skintight fight scenes that often look like sex scenes, and philosophical debates masked as exposition.
As a lifelong fan and a more recent critic of the superhero genre, Segade approached his first graphic novel as a solo performance, acting out all the roles: writer, penciller, inker, colorist and letterer. The Context considers the form of the graphic novel through conceptual, minimalist, op art and constructivist aesthetics, while paying homage to the great cosmic comics of the 1970s and ’80s: Silver Surfer, Legion of Super Heroes, Green Lantern, Adam Warlock and X-Men.