October 1-4, 2020
Comics journalism, also referred to as graphic journalism or comic reportage, uses the comic form to cover news or nonfiction events. It has been an important genre for comics and graphic novels since the publication of Joe Sacco’s Palestine (1993), but the genre also evokes earlier forms of news illustration as well as the tradition of the editorial cartoon. While many examples of comics journalism are published online in forums such as The Nib, Graphic News, and Symbolia (2012-2014), comics journalism has also been appearing in the international press in the last decade, with popular news outlets, such as The New York Times, regularly featuring examples of comic reportage. Similarly, in German-speaking Europe, comics journalism has emerged as an essential forum for comics artists, including Reinhard Kleist, Birgit Weyhe, and Barbara Yelin, looking to publish in newspapers and journals, such as the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Tagesspiegel. This is particularly true for coverage on contemporary global migration, which includes graphic novels such as Peter Eickmeyer’s Liebe deinen Nächsten: Auf Rettungsfahrt im Mittelmeer an Bord der Aquarius (2017) and Olivier Kugler’s Dem Krieg entronnen: Begegnungen mit Syrern auf der Flucht (2017) as well as shorter projects such as Reinhard Kleist’s “Kawergosk – 5 Sterne” published in arte online, Barbara Yelin’s “Es passiert” in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and Birgit Weyhe’s “Lebenslinien” in the Tagesspiegel.
However, comics art’s ability to capture real-life events for news organizations, publications or publishers (in graphic novel format) continues to be perceived as fraught. With the rules for comics journalism not yet codified, many examples of graphic journalism do not even cite their sources, while others demonstrate a great commitment to journalistic transparency. Furthermore, while some comics artists work independently on their pieces of comic reportage, others collaborate with journalists who contribute fact-based expertise on the topics chosen (Alphabet des Ankommens, 2017). Yet even while the public continues to debate the validity of comics journalism, it is unequivocal that, as a genre, it is at an all-time high.
This panel seeks presentations on the efficacy and complexity of German-language graphic journalism. How does the genre of comics journalism mimic, contradict, or augment the strategies of more traditional forms of news journalism? What role does comic journalism play in discourses on the politics of media representation? What interventions is comics journalism making in the contemporary media landscape? And how does comics journalism create or increase awareness of pressing current issues?
Potential texts include:
- Peter Eickmeyer’s Liebe deinen Nächsten: Auf Rettungsfahrt im Mittelmeer an Bord der Aquarius (2017)
- Olivier Kugler’s Dem Krieg entronnen: Begegnungen mit Syrern auf der Flucht (2017)
- Ulli Lust’s Fashionvictims.Trendverächter: Bildkolumnen und Minireportagen aus Berlin (2008)
- Tim Dinter’s Cargo: Comic Journalism: Israel, Germany (2005)
- Reinhard Kleist’s “Kawergosk – 5 Sterne” published in arte online
- Barbara Yelin’s “Es passiert” in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
- Birgit Weyhe’s “Lebenslinien” in the Tagesspiegel.
- Deutscher Comicverein e.V.’s Alphabet des Ankommens (2017)
- David Schraven & Vincent Burmeister’s Kriegszeiten (2012)
- David Schraven & Jan Feindt’s Weiße Wölfe: Eine grafische Reportage über rechten Terror (2015)
- El Marto & Frederik Richter’s Made in Germany: Ein Massaker im Kongo (2018)
Please send a 350-600 word abstract and short bio by February 14, 2020, to Biz Nijdam (firstname.lastname@example.org).