Comic Book Heroine and Other Stories


150 pages
ISBN 0-920897-76-2
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Carolyn D. Redl

Carolyn D. Redl is a sessional lecturer of English at the University of


The content of these eight stories proves that the book’s title is
resolutely ironic. The title story alludes to comic book characters, but
there ends the similarity between comics and that story or the others in
the collection. Furthermore, the protagonists of the stories are ironic
heroines: their grand deed collectively is surviving, hardly an
accomplishment conventionally associated with heroism. Surviving,
nevertheless, is heroic, given that the protagonists are oppressed and
include characters whose agonies parallel those of the woman in
“Celia’s Photos: Teresa’s Names,” who recalls the 1973 coup in
Santiago, Chile.

Often addressing South or Central American politics, these stories are
also indebted to the South American literary tradition for their style.
Murphy writes a magical realism comparable to that associated with the
Colombian writer Gabriel Garcнa Mбrquez. In fact, Murphy’s strength
is her style: she has vigorously resurrected the long sentence,
sometimes taking the reader on forays through page-long, one-sentence

The stories in Comic Book Heroine take the Canadian short story in a
new, uncharted direction. This is a bold book in need of bold,
adventuresome, and—to borrow from Roland Barthes—“writerly”


Murphy, Sarah., “Comic Book Heroine and Other Stories,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed October 1, 2023,