This article examines the critical reception of works by comic artists Zeina Abirached and Marjane Satrapi, and specifically articulations of likeness and contrast between them. Surveying the frequent comparisons of Abirached's A Game for Swallows (2007, 2012) to Satrapi's Persepolis (2000–2004) provides a methodological framework by which to reconsider the cultural and capital economies of world literature and global comics. This analysis is guided by questions regarding global comics as an emergent textual form that complicates world literature as a system of cultural recognition. What role does the emphasis on these two women authors as Middle Easterners play in the reception of their books in Europe and the United States? How do transnational literatures capitulate to (neo)imperial projects? How do comics, by introducing new criteria for literary assessment, compel us to radically remap the location of culture?

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