Comic wrestles with themes of feminism, sexuality and identity

  • Published: 6 Aug 2019

Amy Galloway, a Comics & Graphic Novel student at the university, talks to us about her wrestling themed comic, which she’s created as part of the Masters Show 2019…

“My Masters Show project is a female wrestling comic called GUTS, which explores the themes of feminism, sexuality and identity. The main character is a Polynesian girl, which obviously takes inspiration from The Rock and his family, and it follows the story of her coming up through the ranks and making a name for herself. She’s currently a villain in the wrestling world and wants to be a ‘face’, which is someone who is loved by the fans, and her main opponent is a ‘face’ and is very happy in her positon where she’s adored. However, the narrative isn’t so much about the feud between them than it is about their personal struggles and how they’re wrestling with their own identities.

“There’s also a diverse cast of characters and that means there’s plenty of scope for the story to evolve; I can introduce these other supporting characters to develop the themes in the comic and allow the story to run and run. So it’s very much a soap opera in the making, just like the real thing!

“I wanted to challenge myself with this final project. Drawing anatomy and specific poses is quite tricky and particularly with wrestling characters, there’s nowhere to hide, so I thought if I managed to pull that off it would be a really good personal achievement. It’s been one of my favourite things to work on – I feel like you can really see the growth between what I did in the first semester and this.

“I’m not necessarily your conventional comic student; the person who knows all the lore and has a huge comics collection at home. I studied English Literature and Creative Writing here at the University of Dundee. When I took up the Creative Writing module, I feel that was me moving away from the purely academic content and opening up that creative part of my brain again. But it wasn’t enough, I always wanted to include an illustration or play with the format of how things were presented.

“That’s why I thought the Comics & Graphic Novels course was perfect for me, because it incorporates both the writing and that creative side that I’d missed in my undergraduate. I was also able to fall back on the writing side when I was still getting to grips with the design side in the first semester; I would definitely say being able to world build and create characters has definitely helped.

“We’ve worked on a really broad range of projects over the course of the year, and all the briefs have been different. I’ve really enjoyed working the project with the V&A Dundee - they gave us a really open brief and so to get positive feedback from them was amazing. On the other side, we did a project with [weekly British science fiction comic] 2000 AD which was a lot stricter in terms of the brief.

“The class is really close knit and we’ve really helped each other out all the way through the course. Some of us are more traditional or digital inclined, and so being able to learn from each other in that way has been great. It feels like we’ve almost been peer taught in that way – we’re actually looking to collaborate with each other once we graduate, so I’m looking forward to that.”

You can read more about Amy’s work on the Masters Show website. Want to find out more about our MDes/MLitt in Comics & Graphic Novels? Have a look at the course pages here.

"The Comics & Graphic Novels course was perfect for me, because it incorporates both the writing and that creative side that I’d missed in my undergraduate. I was also able to fall back on the writing side when I was still getting to grips with the design side in the first semester; I would definitely say being able to world build and create characters has definitely helped."

Amy Galloway, Comics & Graphic Novel student