Intertextuality, as described by Randy Duncan and Matthew J. Smith, can be seen as an image that “reminds the reader of something he or she has encountered in other media” (161). Staying true to this definition, I would like to draw attention to a few specific pages in Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli’s first issue of DMZ: On the Ground. Although there are most likely many intertextual references one could pull from this comic, the reference I am going to express seems very clever on the author’s and illustrator’s part.
Within the text leading up to the point of reference, journalist Matty, who is reporting in the now war-zoned New York, is taken by a group of men, to “get him out of the elements, so he can recover.” When his recovery time is over, he wants to find out information about a certain group he has been hearing about in the city. Matty, now among the group of men who rescued him, wants to ask them a few questions about a “special force unit” he has heard about, called “The Ghosts.” This unit, he expresses, has been said to be “wandering the city for years, apparently carrying out vigilante actions.” Matty asks a man named Soames if he can record the conversation, he says yes, and Matty starts to ask some questions. When he is done asking a couple of questions, the reader is brought to an elongated panel where the men sit with almost no expression on their faces. This is followed by a panel of the men laughing out loud, and Soames telling Matty he all-of-a-sudden minds the recording.
This brings the reader to the point where intertextuality is displayed. If the reader looks closely, they will be able to notice that on pages 86 and 87, the men have coffee mugs. On the coffee mugs are DC logos such as: The Flash, Batman, and Green Lantern.
|(This image is to show the intertextual image of the Batman logo)|
As soon as the reader identifies this, they are brought back to the point where the idea of these men being vigilantes is given. This is almost a hilarious way of showing the reader these men are obviously the “Ghosts,” but if one does not understand the reference of the superheroes / vigilantes, then it may not seem like such an interesting moment to them. The reference made here is comical in another way, because Wood and Burchielli are using superheroes (who have their own comics) to give an indication about these “superheroes” in the comic being read. If, as stated above, one does not understand the reference, they may not see that these men are the “Ghosts”, which is alright as the author reveals this to the reader later on in the text. On page 101, the information is given that these group of men are the “Ghosts” as one of them is dying and tells Matty: “Don’t put this…in the story, ok? …But Soames lied to you…We are the Ghosts…”
By: Emily Lukas