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Billie R. Langon
Professor D. Hey
ENG 255.01
8 March 2016

The Intertextuality of Fanfiction and Comic Books

Through human history, there are always stories passed down from one generation to the
next where bits of information transform into something new or are completely forgotten alone
the way, acting in a way as one big game of telephone. The story of Little Red Riding Hood
beginnings is as much a mystery as is the tale of Christian Shaw, and yet since their inceptions in
their own times, the stories pass down are always different and take on their own life. In the
twenty-first century, the world has evolved and grown to a vast interweb of fact and fiction.
There is an entire community online devoted to fictions, creating their own works based on
existing ones; adding characters, changing the outcomes of events, or even going so far as to just
change the meaning by sending a message of some sort. These types of works are referred to as
Fanfiction or Fanfics.
Alongside these works there is an entire world of comics, spreading the world of comic
books beyond the physical form of thin booklets with have the issue and people scrambling to
find the next instalment in stores. Online, theres another world that coincides with the
community of fanfiction, those that create comics that tell their story. Where written fanfiction is
detailed like a book would be, a comic fanfictions shows the action the artist and author are
trying to represent. In Jeffrey S.J. Kirchoffs Its Just Not the Same as Print (and It Shouldnt

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Be): Rethinking the Possibilities of Digital Comics, Kirchoff says that many digital comics are
just the recreation of their print-based brethren and that many comic book publishers are even
offering their comics for downloads to your computer or mobile device. Both the works of
Donna Leishman Red Riding Hood and Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw are both
presented in comic book formatting, where the reader is led from one scene to another to
progress the story. Though the story of Christian Shaw lets the reader choose which scene to go
to next, the story of Little Red Riding Hood is a strict progression of reading right to left in the
traditional comic book setting.
Intertextuality is the interrelationship between texts, especially works of literature; the
way that similar or related texts influence, reflect, or differ from each other (Intertextuality).
It other words, intertextuality occurs when one text refers to another on a similar topic, just as
fanfiction does with a work of fiction; fiction that is written by fans of a TV series, movie, etc.,
using existing characters and situations to develop new plots; a work of fiction in this genre
(Fanfic). The etcetera in this case would be fairytales, as the story of Little Red Riding Hood is
classified. In the world of Christian Shaw, the etcetera refers to historical fiction, being that the
tale of Christian Shaw took place in the late 1690s and since then many sceptics have come
forward to explain Christians so called demonic possession.
Form Collection One, the tale Red Ridinghood by Donna Leishman uses practically no
dialog to convey the tale that has been passed down from as far back as eleventh century in
Belgium, according to the 2013 National Geographic article What Wide Origins You Have,
Little Red Riding Hood! by Rachel Hartigan Shea. Leishman puts her own spin on the classic
tale, the description calling it a playful retelling that makes use of comic book vernacular as
a Flash piece. A flash piece, better known as flash fiction, can be defined as very short works

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of fiction that are typically no longer than a couple of pages and may be as short as one
paragraph (Flash Fiction). Red Ridinghood maybe be seemingly void of text, its really just
one giant body of text in a very descriptive point of view. The details Leishman puts into the
digital coding of this electronic text, whereas she could have just put plain pictures up with a
colorless background with no interaction. In a fanfiction view, as perilously stated the Little Red
Riding Hood story has been passed around as early as the eleventh century, maybe even farther
back, with connections to another tale called The Wolf and the Kids, which has its origins in
Eastern Asia. The fairytale of Little Red Riding Hood has evolve by descent with modification.
They [fairytales] get told and retold with slight alterations, and then that gets passed on to the
next generation and gets altered again (Hartigan Shea). According to Walter Benjamin, there are
forms of works that are designed to be reproduced, weather they are the original or not (p24).
Navigating the landscape of Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw, another work
by Donna Leishman, from Collection One is a bit disorienting, presented purely digital, with
limited text in just one tiny pocket off in a side scene. With the limited access to these tiny
pocket side scenes, the reader is at Leishmans mercy in historical exploration. The pocket side
scenes, shows the few more famous tails in Christians case of demonic possession, bringing the
story forward, no matter what order the reader activates the scenes. Leishman described her tail
on the historical tail as:
an animated interactive graphic based on the historical story of Christian
the demonic
text at thepossession.
end of Leishmans
of Christian
Shaw andtoher
Set in 1696
witch trials,
Shaw, Christian
was one aofstory
the most
well remembered
in Scottish
project Shaws
new ways
of experiencing
the allure
History. Shaw,
then eleven
years old,
led six
men and three
to their death
of mystery
and uneasy
the participants
of social
on the 10thresponsibility.
of June, 1697. It was said that she was the embodiment of Gods power for she was able
Leishman, Donna. Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw

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to resist the devil that was inside her. Christians father, the Laird of Balgarran, took his daughter to
a famous medical authority in Glasgow, Dr. Brisbane. In the presence of the doctor, it was said that
Christian spat out a coal too hot to handle. The doctor publicized that her condition was
supernatural. This broadcast set off investigations in the community, which caused the witch trials
that led to the death of the before mentioned six men and women. As society became more
disbelieving about the existence of witches and demons, the character of Christian has come under
close investigation, in particular the potential incentives that drove her actions and prompted her
condition. As the years went on, the curious case of Christian Shaw was not forgotten. There have
been many contemporary readings of Christian Shaw suggesting that the girl and her father used
the illusion of possession to manipulate the Church and the Law to have members of society killed.
Another reading would suggest that the eleven year old was suffering from an undiagnosed mental
illness. In the most recent century, scholars investigated the firsthand accounts of the case,
uncovering that the original author of the documents, though while anonymous, resembles in tone
and language to the more famous Salem witchcraft outbreak in New England in 1692, a few years
earlier than Christian Shaws possession.

Work Cited
Benjamin, Walter. 'The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility. (2008).
Fanfic. Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 03 Mar. 2016.
Flash Fiction. Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 03 Mar. 2016. <>.

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Hartigan Shea, Rachel. What Wide Origins You Have, Little Red Riding Hood! National
Geographic. National Geographic Society, 30 Nov. 2013. Web. 25 Feb. 2016.
Intertextuality. Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 03 Mar. 2016.
Kirchoff, Jefery S.J. It's Just Not the Same as Print (and It Shouldnt Be): Rethinking the
Possibilities of Digital Comics. Technoculture: An Online Journal of Technology in
Society 3 (2013). Web. 04 Mar. 2016.
Leishman, Donna. Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw. Ed N. Kathryn Hales, et al.
Electronic Literature Collection I. ELC Vol I. Web. 03 Mar. 2016.
Leishman, Donna. Red Ridinghood. Ed N. Kathryn Hales, et al. Electronic Literature Collection
I. ELC Vol I. Web. 03 Mar. 2016.