Workshop on Graphic Narratives in Bayreuth

2014 07 11 - 2014 07 11


11th July 2014, 14:00 – 18:30 Uhr
University of Bayreuth, S 122 (GW I)


14:00     Opening and Poster Session

16:00     Astrid Böger (Hamburg), “‘Destiny’s Temporal Anomaly’ in X-Men: Days of Future Past

16:45     Jennifer Henke (Bremen), “Dystopian Visions of Technology: Graphic Literature and Genetics”

17:30     Dirk Vanderbeke (Jena), “Dirges in the Dark: Dystopian Desires in Graphic Novels”

Zur Veranstalterseite (auf Englisch)


“Since the end of the cold war in the late 1980s, the sense of crisis has become ubiquitous. Media discourse around terrorism, climate change disasters, global financial collapse, and impending pandemics inspire apocalyptic fiction and fictional narratives of disaster feed into risk reporting. At the same historical moment, comics as a medium, particularly in the English-speaking world, turned towards bleaker, more dystopian and complex narrative worlds, Alan Moore’s Watchmen (1986-87) and Frank Miller’s Dark Knight series (1986, 1987, 2001-02) being the most prominent early examples. It is not surprising, then, that dystopia has become one of the dominant genres (next to autobiography) in comics/graphic narratives, while utopian visions have virtually disappeared. Even the superhero has turned into a figure of doom rather than resurrection.

Focusing on this shift, this workshop brings together BA/MA students, doctoral students, and established scholars in the field of Comics Studies to explore ways in which comics have envisioned the future and yet unrealized potentialities from the 1980s to the present. How have comics tapped speculative genres such as science fiction, utopia/dystopia, (post)apocalypse, alternate history, superhero fiction, and horror to engage with the contemporary sense of risk and apprehension? How has this engagement changed since the 1980s? Has the comics medium developed unique ways of visualizing possible (or impossible) futures in response to present technological, social, and political challenges? What technological developments (nuclear technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, AI/robotics) have been particularly productive in envisioning these futures? How is the posthuman conceptualized in comics? What role does the superhero, quintessential product of American comics culture, play in these visions? How do these speculative graphic narratives conceptualize gender and race in terms of the future? How are future military conflicts envisioned in comics?

The workshop continues a series of symposia, workshops and conferences in Bayreuth around the question of global catastrophic risk in literature, popular culture and society. It is part of a research project at the University of Bayreuth on risk fiction and cultures of speculation.”

You may direct questions and comments directly to the workshop organizer and ComFor member Laura Oehme!

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