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Monitor 66: New Publications on Comic Books

Monitor is an irregularly published overview of publications from the previous six months that may be of relevance to comics studies scholars. The introductory texts are the respective publishers’. Do you have suggestions or information on new releases that have been overlooked and should be introduced on our website? Please let us know via email: redaktion@comicgesellschaft.de.
See previous Monitor posts.


Die Shoah im Comic seit 2000: Erinnern zeichnen

Thomas Merten

De Gruyter
357 pages
May 2021
publisher’s websitee

“Wie erinnern künftige Generationen an die Shoah, wenn die letzten Zeitzeugen gestorben sind? Die Comics der vergangenen Jahre geben Hinweise darauf: Während die Kinder noch versuchen, Anschluss an die nicht mehr selbst erlebte, aber gleichwohl als einschneidend erfahrene Vergangenheit ihrer Eltern herzustellen – und sich davon zu emanzipieren –, beschäftigt sich die Enkelgeneration primär mit der Tatsache, dass sie die Shoah hauptsächlich medial oder aus zweiter Hand erzählt bekommt.
Um die Geschehnisse besser zu verstehen, versuchen die jüngeren Autorinnen und Autoren, das Bezeugen der historischen Ereignisse selbst nachzuempfinden oder versetzen die Handlung gleich gänzlich ins Jetzt – wo die Shoah vor allem als Spuren und Spätfolgen zu ihnen vordringt. So holen sie Vergangenes eindringlich in die Gegenwart und üben ihrerseits Kritik an Darstellungen, die eher Distanz als Nähe zur Shoah erzeugen. In neueren Comics wollen sie nicht mehr nur von einer vermeintlich fernen Vergangenheit erzählen, sondern deren Auswirkungen und Parallelen in der eigenen Lebenswelt verstehen. So besteht die Chance, die Shoah auch anderen zu vermitteln, die keinen persönlichen Bezug zur Geschichte mehr haben können – und damit dem Vergessen etwas entgegenzusetzen.
Diese Arbeit ordnet die Comics in die gegenwärtige Entwicklung ein, liefert eine kurze Geschichte des Sujets “Shoah-Comic” und entwickelt dazu eine Theorie des erinnernden Comics. Zusätzlich werden Werke von Autorinnen und Autoren der Kinder- und Enkelgeneration untersucht und miteinander verglichen, darunter Comics von Michel Kichka, Bernice Eisenstein, Rutu Modan, Barbara Yelin und Reinhard Kleist.
Eine Spurensuche danach, wie die Nachkommen in Sprechblasen und Panels ihre Rolle im Gefüge der Zeit finden und mit eigenem Wissen, eigenen Deutungen und eigenen Fragen anreichern.”

 

Creation, Translation, and Adaptation in Donald Duck Comics: The Dream of Three Lifetimes

Peter Cullen Bryan

Palgrave Macmillan
222 pages
May 2021
publisher’s website

“This book examines the scope and nature of Donald Duck and his family’s popularity in Germany, in contrast to the diminished role they play in America. This is achieved through examination of the respective fan communities, business practices, and universality of the characters. This work locates and understands the aspects of translation and adaptation that inform the spread of culture that have as yet been underexplored in the context of comic books. It represents a large-scale attempt to incorporate adaptation and translation studies into comics studies, through a lens of fan studies (used to examine both the American and German fan communities, as well as the work of Don Rosa). This work builds on the efforts of other scholars, including Janet Wasko and Illaria Meloni, while expanding the historical understanding of what might be the world’s best-selling comics.”

 

Politics in the Gutters: American Politicians and Elections in Comic Book Media

Christina M. Knopf

University Press of Mississippi
306 pages
July 2021
publisher’s website

“From the moment Captain America punched Hitler in the jaw, comic books have always been political, and whether it is Marvel’s chairman Ike Perlmutter making a campaign contribution to Donald Trump in 2016 or Marvel’s character Howard the Duck running for president during America’s bicentennial in 1976, the politics of comics have overlapped with the politics of campaigns and governance. Pop culture opens avenues for people to declare their participation in a collective project and helps them to shape their understandings of civic responsibility, leadership, communal history, and present concerns.
Politics in the Gutters: American Politicians and Elections in Comic Book Media opens with an examination of campaign comic books used by the likes of Herbert Hoover and Harry S. Truman, follows the rise of political counterculture comix of the 1960s, and continues on to the graphic novel version of the 9/11 Report and the cottage industry of Sarah Palin comics. It ends with a consideration of comparisons to Donald Trump as a supervillain and a look at comics connections to the pandemic and protests that marked the 2020 election year.
More than just escapist entertainment, comics offer a popular yet complicated vision of the American political tableau. Politics in the Gutters considers the political myths, moments, and mimeses, in comic books—from nonfiction to science fiction, superhero to supernatural, serious to satirical, golden age to present day—to consider how they represent, re-present, underpin, and/or undermine ideas and ideals about American electoral politics.”

 

Rebirth of the English Comic Strip: A Kaleidoscope, 1847-1870

David Kunzle

University Press of Mississippi
472 pages
July 2021
publisher’s website

Rebirth of the English Comic Strip: A Kaleidoscope, 1847–1870 enters deep into an era of comic history that has been entirely neglected. This buried cache of mid-Victorian graphic humor is marvelously rich in pictorial narratives of all kinds. Author David Kunzle calls this period a “rebirth” because of the preceding long hiatus in use of the new genre, since the Great Age of Caricature (c. 1780–c. 1820) when the comic strip was practiced as a sideline. Suddenly in 1847, a new, post-Töpffer comic strip sparks to life in Britain, mostly in periodicals, and especially in Punch, where all the best artists of the period participated, if only sporadically: Richard Doyle, John Tenniel, John Leech, Charles Keene, and George Du Maurier. Until now, this aspect of the extensive oeuvre of the well-known masters of the new journal cartoon in Punch has been almost completely ignored. Exceptionally, George Cruikshank revived just once in The Bottle, independently, the whole serious, contrasting Hogarthian picture story.
Numerous comic strips and picture stories appeared in periodicals other than Punch by artists who were likewise largely ignored. Like the Punch luminaries, they adopt in semirealistic style sociopolitical subject matter easily accessible to their (lower-)middle-class readership. The topics covered in and out of Punch by these strips and graphic novels range from French enemies King Louis-Philippe and Emperor Napoleon III to farcical treatment of major historical events: the Bayeux tapestry (1848), the Great Exhibition of 1851, and the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. Artists explore a great variety of social types, occupations, and situations such as the emigrant, the tourist, fox hunting and Indian big game hunting, dueling, the forlorn lover, the student, the artist, the toothache, the burglar, the paramilitary volunteer, Darwinian animal metamorphoses, and even nightmares. In Rebirth of the English Comic Strip, Kunzle analyzes these much-neglected works down to the precocious modernist and absurdist scribbles of Marie Duval, Europe’s first female professional cartoonist.”

Comics|Histories – International Conference

Termin:
2021 07 16 - 2021 07 17

The international Conference “Comics|Histories” is organised by ComFor members Jaqueline Berndt (Stockholm University, Sweden), Felix Giesa (Goethe University
Frankfurt, Germany) and Christina Meyer (TU Braunschweig, Germany).

Description of the conference by the organisers:

“Comics Studies are on the rise, but the bulk of comics research prioritizes contemporary productions, whereas comics’ histories and genealogies, or preconditions of what appears as comics and  the forms of graphic narratives today, remain understudied. To fill the gap and to map as yet unknown territories, a new book series will be launched soon by academic publisher Rombach Wissenschaft, and this conference, organized by the series editors, is intended as a kick-off event. The book series and conference aim to revise the wide spectrum of what is now regarded as comics (including caricature, cartoons, graphic novel, etc.), broadening the view of Comics Studies not only retrospectively, but also prospectively at a moment in time when modern media identities are dissolving.

We welcome in particular contributions that engage with both theories and methods employed in Comics Studies so far, and crucial disciplinary concerns of history (as specified in literary, cultural, media, or art history, and so on). While there is already a significant amount of publications that foreground representations history in comics, our conference seeks to highlight comics-specific contributions to history. In addition to that, we invite papers that address comics from a transnational while culturally situated, perspective, without privileging national histories of the medium in the narrower sense, i.e., as confined to North American, Franco-Belgian, or Japanese publication markets. Last but not least, we call for papers that put the spotlight on the historiography of Comics Studies, in other words, the inter- and transdisciplinary research on comics as an object of analysis in itself. Multidisciplinary assessments of the field and its practices of research and publishing, authorand editorship promise new insight into processes of knowledge formation, as well as the power relations involved.”

Registration is open until July 15th via comicshistories@uni-frankfurt.de.

The conference takes place online via ZOOM from July 16th to July 17th; the ZOOM link will be sent out to registered participants.

New Publication: Handbook of Comics and Graphic Narratives

Today we announce a publication that has the potential to quickly become a standard work in the field of comics studies: the Handbook of Comics and Graphic Narratives, published by De Gruyter. Edited by Sebastian Domsch, Dan Hassler-Forest and ComFor member Dirk Vanderbeke, this handbook unites a variety of critical approaches, historical contexts, and close readings. We are particularly happy that there are several ComFor members among the contributors to this unique volume.

Go to publisher’s website.

Publisher’s description:

“Whether one describes them as sequential art, graphic narratives or graphic novels, comics have become a vital part of contemporary culture. Their range of expression contains a tremendous variety of forms, genres and modes − from high to low, from serial entertainment for children to complex works of art. This has led to a growing interest in comics as a field of scholarly analysis, as comics studies has established itself as a major branch of criticism. This handbook combines a systematic survey of theories and concepts developed in the field alongside an overview of the most important contexts and themes and a wealth of close readings of seminal works and authors. It will prove to be an indispensable handbook for a large readership, ranging from researchers and instructors to students and anyone else with a general interest in this fascinating medium.”

Contents:

Introduction

  • Sebastian Domsch, Dirk Vanderbeke, Dan Hassler-Forest: “Comics Studies: Survey of the Field”

Part I: Systematic Aspects

Part II: Contexts and Themes

  • Stephan Packard: “Politics”
  • Dan Hassler-Forest: “World-Building”
  • Astrid Böger: “Life Writing”
  • Anna Oleszczuk: “Gender”
  • Kay Sohini: “Queerness”
  • Heike Elisabeth Jüngst: “Science Comics”
  • Sandra Heinen: “Postcolonial Perspectives”
  • Marie Vanderbeke: “DocuComics in the Classroom”
  • Dan Hassler-Forest: “Superheroes – Historical Overview”
  • Matt Yockey: “Superheroes – The Golden Age: Batman”
  • Matt Boyd Smith: “Superheroes – The Silver Age: Nick Fury”
  • William Proctor: “Superheroes – The Dark Age: Superheroes in the 1980s”

Part III: Close Readings

  • Christina Meyer: “Richard F. Outcault: The Yellow Kid
  • Corey Creekmur: “George Herriman: Krazy Kat
  • Sebastian Domsch: “Winsor McCay: Little Nemo in Slumberland
  • Eric Hoffman: “Dave Sim: Cerebus
  • Martin Lund: “Will Eisner: A Contract with God
  • Dawn Stobbart: “Raymond Briggs: When the Wind Blows
  • Joanne Pettitt: “Art Spiegelman: Maus
  • Nicola Glaubitz: “Robert Crumb”
  • Monika Pietrzak-Franger: “Alan Moore: From Hell
  • Evan Hayles Gledhill: “Neil Gaiman: The Sandman
  • Erin La Cour: “Alison Bechdel: Dykes to Watch Out For
  • Gerry Canavan: “Chris Ware: Jimmy Corrigan – The Smartest Kid on Earth
  • Erik Grayson: “Daniel Clowes: Ghost World
  • Luisa Menzel: “Martin Rowson: The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
  • Harriet Earle: “Marjane Satrapi: Persepolis
  • Oliver Moisich: “Grant Morrison: Flex Mentallo