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Abstract

Studies about comics in France have often focused on the process of cultural legitimation. This process is made complex by the composition of the French readership of comics, which consists largely of children, and by the transmedia circulation and expansion of comics, including cartoons and videogames. These factors, and the role of peers’ prescription reduce the impact of cultural legitimacy. By contrast, when adults are concerned, a correlation between education and tastes in comic art can be clearly identified, as evidenced in the preference shown by adult readers with higher instruction level for graphic novels.

Comic art is characterised by a coexistence of elitist and popular dimensions. If the global effects of socioeconomic groups cannot be denied (avid comics readers are also avid books readers, and avid readers of books appear to be mostly part of the upper classes), these effects have to be weighed against the historical development of the field in France: American comics and manga are not as established there as their domestic and Belgian counterparts. This article advocates considering the field of comics in its full transmedial extension and plurality, in order to better describe the cultural practices of comic readers.

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