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Telling the Prehistory of Greenland in Graphic Novels by Lisbeth Valgreen

Background

Denmark and Greenland have, for a long time, been historically connected; in 1721 the Danish/Norwegian priest and missionary Hans Egede travelled to Greenland in search of the Norse. He didn’t find them, as the Norse had disappeared at the start of the 15th century. He did however find the Inuit, and he focused his missionary activities on them instead. In 1728, Egede founded the colony Godthaab (which is now known as Nuuk, the capital of Greenland today), and until 1953 Greenland was considered a Danish colony. In 1953, Greenland became a part of the Danish realm under the constitution of Denmark. Greenland received Home Rule Government in 1979, and in 2009 this Home Rule Government was extended to Self Government – although the Danish monarch is still the head of state in Greenland. Since the 19th century, Danish (and later also Greenlandic) scientists have been working in Greenland, documenting everything from archaeology, anthropology and language, to geology, biology and glaciology.

Introduction to the graphic novels

In 2006 the SILA – the Arctic Centre at the Ethnographic Collections in the National Museum of Denmark – won a prize for the most dynamic research community. The archaeologists and historians at the department discussed how to use this money, and they came up with the idea of asking the artist Nuka K. Godtfredsen whether he was interested in making four test pages – each page representing one of the migration periods in the prehistory of Greenland. Nuka accepted, and these four pages led to the idea of making four graphic novels, in a cooperation between Nuka, the National Museum of Denmark, the schoolbook publisher Ilinniusiorfik in Greenland, and the Greenlandic newspaper Sermitsiaq.

In 2009 the first book, The First Steps, was published. The First Steps is about the first migration from Canada to Greenland 4500 years ago by a group of people named “the Independence people”. The comic book was made in a cooperation between Nuka and the researchers Dr. Bjarne Gronnow and Mikkel Sorensen. The Independence people lived approximately around 2200 BC, and they travelled from Northeast Siberia, through Alaska and Canada, to the Northeast coast of Greenland. The Independence people did not use kayaks or dog sleds like the Inuit. Instead, they were hunters living off musk ox, seals and fish.

In The First Steps Nuka used the archaeological findings as a starting point, making up his own story about the boy Nanu (a name that means “polar bear”). After a vengeful attack on his group, Nanu and his family travel east to the unknown land (Greenland). However, the lack of food and bad ice conditions cause most of the family members to die. Later on in the book, Nanu – who is now a grown up man – successfully travels to Greenland, where he settles and meets one of the other migrant groups, the Saqqaq people.

The book received great reviews, and because of this positive response the publisher and the researchers agreed to create one more book. Three years later, in 2012, the second book, The Ermine, was published. This book is about the pre-Inuit “Dorset-people” – named after the findings at Cape Dorset, Baffin Island – and it is set in the 12th century. In Greenland there are three different migrations of the Dorset, which took place between 800 AD – 1300 AD. The book The Ermine is about the last of these Dorset-migrations and it is set in the North of Greenland. The story, which was written by Nuka and the archaeologist Martin Appelt, mainly focuses on shamanism. In the story the reader follows a Dorset woman that travels from Canada to Greenland while, at the same time, the book shows her transformation from being a depressive and strange woman to becoming a shaman.

As with the first book, the story was based on archaeological finds and theories. For instance, archaeological discoveries have shown that the Dorset people had a certain way of placing the stones in the middle of the tent. They also had some form of trading with the Norse, as certain elements from Norse culture – like pots – were found in the Dorset settlements in the north of Greenland. Both of these examples, the placement of stones and the trade relations with the Norse, are shown in figure 1a (sketch) and 1b (p. 10 in the book). Other archaeological findings are from the Dorset culture. The archaeologists have found a lot of figures cut out from bone, which seem to represent the Dorset themselves. A figure like this is shown in the drawing in figure 2 (p. 51 in the book).

Figure 1a Lisbeth Valgreen

Figure 1a

 

Figure 1b: These drawings show the trade between Dorset people and the Norse. The pot shown is based on archaeological finds from Avanersuaq (North Greenland)

Figure 1b: These drawings show the trade between the Dorset people and the Norse. The pot shown is based on archaeological finds from Avanersuaq (North Greenland).

 

The figurine shown in the upper left corner is based on an archaeological discovery

Figure 2: The figurine shown in the upper left corner is based on an archaeological discovery

At the moment, Nuka is working on finishing the last pages of the third book, The Gift, which will be published in 2015 (see figure 3). This third book is set in the 18th century and it tells the story of European and Inuit whale hunting in Greenland, their trade, and the European mission. The story is based on the family saga of “Qajuuttaq”, which is told from generation to generation in Greenland. The main character, the Inuk (singular of Inuit) Qajuuttaq, grows up in the area around the colony Godthaab. He lives with his family, and now and then they visit the colony and Hans Egede. Hans Egedes’ son Niels tells Qajuuttaq about the different European traders and whale hunting ships. When Qajuuttaqs’ parents die of the smallpox, Qajuuttaq cuts out a tiny kayak as a gift to put on top of their grave. When he goes whale hunting and trading with other Inuit, Qajuuttaq trades with another Inuit man, named Asaleq. Asaleq gives him the tiny kayak that Qajuuttaq made for his parents’ grave and it becomes clear that Asaleq has stolen the gift. An angry Qajuuttaq kills Asaleq and flees down South. When, during one of the winters, a Dutch whale hunting ships sinks, Qajuuttaq saves the sailors by allowing them to stay in his small settlement. Among the sailors are the captain and his son, Emiel. Emiel and Qajuuttaq strike up a friendship and the Inuk teaches the boy some Greenlandic, as well as how to sail the kayak. In the spring, the Dutch sailors get the chance to go back to Europe, and Qajuuttaq gives the tiny wooden kayak to Emiel. Qajuuttaq is still followed by the sons of the killed Asaleq, and he therefore continues down the coast to the South of Greenland. At the end of the story, Qajuuttaq dies an old man. Shortly after his death, Emiel returns to Greenland, trying to find Qajuuttaq in order to give back the tiny kayak. He finds his grave and puts the kayak on top of it. The gift thus returns to its maker.

All three books are published in Greenlandic, Danish and English (The Gift will be published in all three languages around summer 2015), and in the spring of 2015 the first book, The First Steps, will be published in Japan.

Figure 3: An example from The Gift

Figure 3: An example from The Gift. Nuka holds up a photograph taken in the Nuuk Fjord. As you can see, Nuka has redrawn the landscape, adding an umiaq (the boat in which women and children travelled) and kayaks (with the men) around it.

The process

The first two books, The First Steps and The Ermine, were based primarily on limited archaeological findings and research, so that Nuka had the possibility of using his own fantasy for substantial parts of these two stories. Because of the “holes in the knowledge” about these ancient peoples, the researchers do not know the exact details about everyday life, such as their clothing and daily activities. These gaps in knowledge also influenced the cooperation with the researchers, because when Nuka asked questions about the daily lives of these ancient people, the researchers had to take another look at their theories and discuss the details again. For instance, Nuka used his own fantasy for the drawings of the clothes and tents of the Independence people. Scientists haven´t found any remains of their clothes, nor do they know much about the exact design of the tents. However, they do know which animals were hunted and they have found some remains of the tents. In The First Steps, p. 22 (figure 4), the drawings show a combination of exact archaeological knowledge and fantasy. On the one hand, the clothes are “made up” by looking at the types of fur available at the time (combined with the hunting weapons), and by tracing how more recent inhabitants of the Arctic make their clothing. On the other hand, the drawings of the lashing of the bows are based on exact knowledge about these weapons. Another example is the way in which the scenes of shamanism are shown in The Ermine p. 28-29 (figure 5a & b): Here you see Nuka’s interpretation of the angakkoq (the shaman) receiving a new “helping spirit”. The pages preceding this scene show the killing of a grizzly bear. Because of the very close relationship between the ancient peoples of the Arctic and nature, the shaman asks the dead grizzly bear if it can forgive him for killing it. In the evening the shaman travels with his spirit, meeting and then becoming the grizzly bear, after which he returns to his own body. Of course it is not possible to find archaeological evidence for this kind of spiritual travelling, but the archaeologists have found a lot of figures showing this type of religion.

Because the third book, The Gift, takes place in the 18th century, the researchers know a lot about the details of the different events that took place. They have texts and findings that give a lot of information about clothing, ships, houses and the mission, as well as the techniques of whale hunting used by the Europeans and the Inuit. With this huge knowledge as starting point the process has been much stricter than that of the first two albums.

Figure 4: Nuka has created a hunting scene using archaeological finds like the bow and arrow, but partially using his imagination for the clothing style

Figure 4: This hunting scene shows a mix of archaeological finds (the bow and arrow), and Nuka’s imagination (the clothing).

 

Figure 5

Figure 5a

 

Figure 5b: These drawings show two pages from The Ermine, demonstrating that the Dorset people believed in shamanism.

Figure 5b: These drawings show two pages from The Ermine, demonstrating that the Dorset people believed in shamanism.

How the third book is made

It is a long and demanding process to make this kind of graphic novel. In the summer of 2012, Nuka began researching this particular period in Greenland. Dr. H.C. Gullov from the National Museum of Denmark created a list of the most important historical sources, archaeological findings, and events from the 18th century in Greenland. This became a long list of things that Nuka could choose from during the creation of his story. However, the list of resources, specific years and historical figures was so complex, that Nuka and I decided to create the story together. Since 2004, Nuka and I have been working together, creating different kinds of children’s books, comic books and articles that, directly and indirectly, tell about Greenlandic culture and nature – as well as dealing with basic life as a human. These human themes also form an important part of our children’s books. Even though there are obvious differences between children in terms of their culture, language and climate, we explore basic necessities; all children need their parents and a safe environment, and children use their imagination to play, learn, and fantasise. So, as partners in private and as colleagues in these creative projects, I (having a master’s in Arctic Studies and being a writer) tried to help Nuka to understand the academic way of working and talking. The next step was to transform the academic knowledge into drawings and text bubbles.

In the third book we tried to combine the many sources with the findings, making a coherent story by filling the gaps in knowledge with imaginary people and events. We needed to make an imaginative story based on facts and put into a frame of disseminating archaeological and historical knowledge. The archaeologists and historians know a lot of details from the diaries of the Egede-family, the remains from the houses (both the Danes and the Inuit) and elements from daily life, like clothing and trading goods. What we didn’t know about in detail was the Inuit way of thinking. All the written materials are from European missionaries, traders and whale hunters. And on top of this, it was forbidden to trade with the Inuit. Archaeologists have found remains of, and documentation on European trading goods among the Inuit, like the beads known from the modern traditional national clothing in Greenland. But as this barter was illegal, no one has written about it in the official logbooks (see figure 6a & b).

Figure 6a

Figure 6a

 

Figure 6b: Two drawings from the third book, The Gift. One of the aims of this book is to show meetings between different cultures. These drawings show a meeting between the Inuit and the Dutch whale hunters.

Figure 6b: Two drawings from the third book, The Gift. One of the aims of this book is to show meetings between different cultures. These drawings show an encounter between the Inuit and the Dutch whale hunters.

Professor Pauline Knudsen from the National Museum of Greenland gave us the idea of using one of the many oral stories about the family saga of “Qajuuttaq”. With this story and its main character as starting point we slightly changed the historical period in which it is set, while adding some well-known historical figures and strictly following the historical facts of the specific years, places and finds. This storyline went back and forward between us and Dr. Gullov, until the text was ready. In the summer of 2013, Nuka and I visited Greenland for three weeks travelling around in the areas where the story takes place, so that we could take pictures and visit the places where the protagonist of the story “lived”. During this journey we used the opportunity to offer free workshops for children and to give lectures about the project in the local communities.

Since then Nuka has been working on sketches with pencil, colouring the drawings with watercolour painting and writing texts in the bubbles (figure 7). Everything is made by hand, except for the texts, which are made in the computer in order to change the languages. This handmade quality means that it takes about one month to make two pages. Nuka and I have made a short video showing how he works on the creation of one page.

Figure 7: An example of the drawing process. Nuka has drawn the sketch on watercolour paper, after which he covers those areas with tape and colours in the rest.

Figure 7: An example of the drawing process. Nuka has drawn the sketch on watercolour paper, after which he covers certain areas with tape and colours in the rest.

Now, the third book is almost finished, and because of the success of the first two books, the Greenlandic publisher and the National Museum of Denmark have already agreed to make the final, fourth book. This last book will be about the Norse settlements in Greenland (people coming from Iceland) at the end of the 14th century. As in the third book, the researchers know a lot about these people and their way of living, and because of this high level of knowledge, Dr. Jette Arneborg (researcher at the National Museum) and I have already begun writing the storyline. In order to show some of the newest results of the archaeology and climate research, the story of the Norse takes place at the end of their time in Greenland. For many years it has been discussed how and why the Norse disappeared from Greenland, and because the scientists now have quite a good idea about the combination of different reasons why they disappeared, this will be the main focus of the story.

The archaeologists have a lot of findings from the Norse. Taking these findings as a starting point, I have written a story about a Norse woman, Bjork, and her family. Her husband, Bjarne, travels with a group of men to the North of Greenland to trade with the Inuit coming in from the Northwest (Canada). Bjarne violates some of the most important religious rules, which negatively influences his relationship to Bjork. She starts to doubt her marriage to Bjarne and travels to Norway on a pilgrimage. As Catholics in the Middle Ages the Norse lived in a very strict and religious society, and in the story it has been my aim to show two sides of this fact. It shows how difficult it must have been to live by strict Catholic rules in a country far away from everything that is familiar and in a climate getting colder and colder, and it shows what it is like to meet people from a completely different culture (the Inuit). The story will be about survival in the Arctic, meetings of cultures, religion, and the doubt about one’s own actions and choices; all of this put into the frame of the archaeological findings from the Norse.

The book is to be published in a couple of years.

Nuka K. Godtfredsen was born in Narsaq, Greenland, 1970. He is an autodidact artist now living in Copenhagen. He has made a lot of illustrations for books and stamps, and his work has been shown at different exhibitions in e.g. Alaska, Iceland, The Faroe Islands, Sweden and Denmark.

Lisbeth Valgreen was born in Copenhagen, has a master in Arctic Studies from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark and Nuuk, Greenland. She has written several children’s books and articles.

Fig. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8:  © Nuka K. Godtfredsen & National Museum of Denmark

Fig. 3 & 9  Photo: © Nuka K. Godtfredsen

 
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Posted by on 2015/04/09 in Guest Writers

 

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News Review: March 2015

Americas

United States

Culture

New Yorker cartoonist, Roz Chast, won the National Book Critics Circle autobiography prize for Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?Link (12/03/2015, English, WG)

Education

The Smithsonian and Stan Lee have teamed up to offer a free online course, The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture, which begins in May. Link (English, WG)

Obituary

Golden Age comics artist, Irwin Hasen, has passed away at the age of 96. Link (16/03/2015, English, WG)

Harold “Fred” Fredericks, who drew Mandrake the Magician from 1965 until 2013 also passed away. Link (13/03/2015, English, WG)

Research

Details for the conference, Frames: Jewish Culture and the Comic Book, which takes place at Princeton University between the 9th and 10th April, can be found through the link. Link (English, WG)

Moving Panels:Translating Comics to Film, by Logan Ludwig, has now been published through Sequart. Link (English, WG)

The Future of Comics, the Future of Men: Matt Fraction’s Casanova, by Geoff Klock, has been published through Sequart. Link (English, WG)

Asia

Japan

Culture

From the 25th April until the 5th July, Kyoto International Manga Museum is holding the exhibition “Liánhuánhuà: China’s Unknown Manga?” There will be a gallery talk on the 25th April, and a related academic symposium (The Many Faces of Liánhuánhuà: Exploring common ground with other genres) on the 30th May. Link (English, JBS)

The Kita Kyushu Manga Museum, celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the series “Cooking Papa” by Ueyama Tochi, is holding a special exhibition, “Cooking Papa and friends from Kyushu/Fukuoka”, from the 30th May until the 7th July. Link (Japanese, JBS)

On the 16th April, a public symposium with manga artist and “infamous” vagina artist Rokudenashiko (Megumi Igarashi) with as a theme “What is obscenity?” will be held at the Japan Education Center (Tokyo, Chiyoda ward). Link (27/03/2015, Japanese, JBS)

Obituary

Manga artist Yoshihiro Tatsumi has passed away. Link (English, WG)

Europe

Austria

Culture

Another television film on Nicolas Mahler was shown on the 15th March. Link (German, MdlI)

France

Culture

André Franquin’s long-running series Gaston Lagaffe is to be adapted for cinema by French distributor UGC. Link (18/03/2015, French, LTa)

Ninety-nine early Bécassine strips, which originally appeared from 1905-1914, are to be republished for the first time by Gautier-Languereau. Link (24/03/2015, French, LTa)

The title and release date of the next Astérix album have been announced. The book, written by Jean-Yves Ferri and illustrated by Didier Conrad, will be entitled Le Papyrus de Caesar and released on the 22nd October. Link (31/03/2015, French, LTa)

Germany

Business

Manga sales in German-speaking countries have increased by 15% from last year, reports GfK Entertainment. Link (05/03/2015, German, MdlI)

Comic sales in general have increased in Germany, resulting in a turnover of € 255 million in 2014, according to buchreport. Link (10/03/2015, German, MdlI)

Publisher Lappan was acquired by Carlsen. Link (30/03/2015, German, MdlI)

Culture

This year’s Preis der Literaturhäuser award goes to Nicolas Mahler. Link (German, MdlI)

The 2nd Düsseldorfer Comic und Manga Convention took place on the 29th March; guests included Anne Delseit and Ulf K. Link (01/03/2015, German, MdlI)

An exhibition on The Beatles in comics is going to be shown in Munich from the 7th May until the 9th July. Link (02/03/2015, German, MdlI)

A Nick Knatterton exhibition is shown in Saarlouis until the 10th May and in Bamberg from the 23rd May. Link (09/03/2015, German, MdlI)

The award, Bayerischer Kunstförderpreis, now accepts comics as nominations in its literature category. Link (12/03/2015, German, MdlI)

After Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung dropped all its comic strips, it now runs Volker Reiche’s Strizz again. Link (16/03/2015, German, MdlI)

The exhibition on Western comics, Going West!, is shown in Troisdorf until the 26th April; an interview with its curator Alexander Braun has been published. Link (17/03/2015, German, MdlI)

A Ralf König exhibition is being shown in Kassel until the 17th May. Link (19/03/2015, German, MdlI)

The annual meeting of the Deutsche Organisation der nichtkommerziellen Anhänger des lauteren Donaldismus (D.O.N.A.L.D.) took place in Schwerin on the 21st March. Link (22/03/2015, German, MdlI)

An exhibition of Belgian independent comics is shown in Rostock until the 19th April. Link (30/03/2015, German, MdlI)

Law & Politics

The student who destroyed items of a comics exhibition in Duisburg in 2013 was sentenced to a fine. Link (24/03/2015, German, MdlI)

Research

This year’s conference of the German Society for Comics Studies (ComFor) is going to take place in Frankfurt from the 4th until the 6th September. The conference theme is history in/of comics; the deadline for submissions is the 15th May. Link (05/03/2015, German, MdlI)

A PDF documenting the event “Webcomics im Focus” at last year’s Comicsalon Erlangen has been published. Link (12/03/2015, German, MdlI)

An encyclopedia of piccolo comic books is going to be published in June. Link (27/03/2015, German, MdlI)

Graphisches Erzählen. Neue Perspektiven auf Literaturcomics, a collected volume on “literature comics”, has been published. Link (German, MdlI)

Portugal

Culture

Penin Loureiro is organising a comics course in Bordalo Pinheiro Museum in Lisbon. The course is divided into two modules, with 4 sessions each. The course begins on 11th April and ends on the 30th May, and is taught by various comic authors and artists. Link (28/03/2015, Portuguese, RR)

The Galeria da Real Fábrica de Panos in Covilhã is hosting an exhibition of comics panels by the author Pedro Emanuel, about “O Magriço”, the legendary knight of Penedono. The exhibition, organised by the Department of Architecture of the University of Beira Interior. It can be visited until 24th May, from Tuesdays until Sundays, from 9.30am until 12.00pm, and from 14.30pm until 18.00pm, and entrance is free. Link (18/03/2015, Portuguese, RR)

The IPDJ in Viseu is hosting an exhibition dedicated to Spider-Man. The exhibition titled, “50 anos do Homem-Aranha” (50 Years of Spider-Man), can be visited until the 6th April, and admission is free. LInk (20/03/2015, Portuguese, RR)

From the 9th April until the 24th April, the Escola Superior de Educação e Ciências Sociais de Leiria (in Leiria) will host an exhibition dedicated to the centenary of Jijé, with free entry to the exhibition. Link (Portuguese, RR)

Spain

Culture

The 33rd edition of the Barcelona International Comic Fair will be celebrated from the 16th to the 19th April. Link (03/03/2015, English, EdRC)

An exhibition celebrating the 50th of Quino’s character, Mafalda, can be visited in Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid) from the 17th March to the 31st May. Link (15/03/2015, English, EdRC)

A film adapation of Vázquez’s classic, Anacleto: Agente secreto, will be released in September. A trailer is already available. Link (18/02/2015, Spanish, EdRC)

Bernard Willem Holtrop has won the International Humour Award Gat Perich. Link (30/03/2015, Spanish, EdRC)

UK

Culture

Details of Dee-Con 2015, which takes place at the University of Dundee on the 4th April, can be found through the link. Link (English, WG)

Research

The British Consortium of Comics Scholars (BCCS) has organised the BCCS Day with a Comics Tea Party, a symposium which will take place in Brighton on the 30th May. Link (English, WG)

Oceania

Australia

Culture

A launch party was held at Silent Army, in Melbourne on the 27th March for the release of #Takedown by David Blumenstein, Guzumo by Matt Emery, Drawn Onward by Matt Madden, Mowgli’s Mirror by Olivier Schrauwen, and Blammo 8 1/2 by Noah Van Sciver. Link (English, ALM)

Research

The programme for the Inkers and Thinkers Symposium, to be held 15th-16th May, was released on March 21st. Link (21/03/2015, English, ALM)

*                    *                    *

  News Editor: Will Grady (comicsforumnews@hotmail.co.uk) Correspondents: Jessica Bauwens-Sugimoto (JBS, Japan),  Enrique del Rey Cabero (EdRC, Spain), William Grady (WG, UK), Martin de la Iglesia (MdlI, Austria & Germany), Amy Louise Maynard (ALM, Australia), Renatta Rafaella (RR, Portugal),  Lise Tannahill (LTa, France). Click here for News Review correspondent biographies. Click here to see the News Review archive. Suggestions for articles to be included in the News Review can be sent to Will Grady at the email address above.

 
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Posted by on 2015/04/04 in News Review

 

“Can one still laugh about everything?” by Eszter Szép

A report on the Symposium at the Ohio State University on Charlie Hebdo and the terrorist attacks of January 7th 2015

The Charles Schulz auditorium, just above the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library at the Ohio State University (OSU), served as the venue of a mini-symposium on 19 February 2015 on the attack against Charlie Hebdo. This is a place where comics is in the air, and so is the need for dialogue: as event organizer Jared Gardner, professor at the Department of English & the Film Studies Program, highlighted, the symposium was called into being by the need to have a conversation and to share learned opinions on events that have stirred debates in society, in academia, and in the comics community. Conversation is what makes universities necessary, added Gardner, and it was in this spirit that he invited scholars with different perspectives and backgrounds to discuss the events of January 7th.

The symposium started with a lecture by Mark McKinney, professor of French at Miami University, co-editor of European Comic Art, and author of The Colonial Heritage of French Comics and Redrawing French Empire in Comics. The subsequent roundtable helped us to see the magazine and the terrorist attack as complex cultural phenomena that can be approached and interpreted very differently between disciplines. The participants were Daniele Marx-Scouras, from the Department of French and Italian, OSU; Youssef Yacoubi, from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, OSU; Erik Nisbet, School of Communication, OSU; and Caitlin McGurk, Billy Ireland Cartoon Library.

Mark McKinney’s lecture, entitled “Race, Religion and Charlie Hebdo,” served as a detailed and visually demonstrated defense of Charlie Hebdo against attacks of racism. McKinney argued for interpreting the magazine in the French, more closely in the Parisian, context where it came from; he introduced us to the history of the magazine, and showed us an array of works by various Charlie Hebdo cartoonists that demonstrate their sensitivity to issues of religion and race. McKinney showed that the main focus of the magazine’s satire was not religious; rather, it featured a vast array of social and political topics. From the various examples that McKinney showed us let me mention Luz’s (Rénald Luzier) anti-racist cartooning, and his satirizing the French far right and Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Charlie Hebdo’s stance towards religion is not easy to judge outside of context. One particularly ironic comic strip created by artists working for the magazine represents Catholic fundamentalists protesting against a certain blasphemous theatrical production and Muslim fundamentalists demonstrating in support of the Catholics. This strip allows insight into the magazine’s general view of religious fundamentalism, be it Christian or Muslim, as essentially similar, harmful and aggressive. McKinney claims that the magazine was a lot more disrespectful and harsher in its treatment of Catholicism than in its treatment of the Islam, its criticism forever backed by faith in the freedom of expression. In 2011, Charlie Hebdo was attacked; the office was firebombed, and the cartoonists received death threats. The spark for the attack was the magazine’s “Charia Hebdo” issue published on 2 November 2011, which listed Muhammed as one of its editors. In response to the Libyan politician Mustafa Abdul Jalil’s statement that Libya would adopt sharia as basis of its lawmaking, the cover, drawn by Luz, featured a cartoon of the prophet saying: “100 lashes of the whip if you don’t die laughing.” The magazine also had repeated lawsuits involving both Catholic and Muslim communities, yet a court ruled that Charlie Hebdo appears to be free of any deliberate attempt to offend Muslims as a group. Moreover, two editorials highlighted that Muslims themselves are the major victims of fundamentalism, while the cartoonist Cabu’s (Jean Cabut) works can clearly be inserted in the history of anti-racist cartooning in France. The fact that Cabu was aware of the touchiness of satirical cartooning is reflected by his question in his last publication: “Can one still laugh about everything?”

Finally, in a revealing twist, McKinney inserted Charlie Hebdo in the context of some explicitly racist far right French cartoons, shedding new light on the various images that have been introduced to us either by him or by any website in the past month. Attacking post-colonial minorities has been a favorite topic of far-right cartoonists since the 1980s. Political cartoonist Chard (Françoise Pichard), whose comics have been published in far-right weeklies, is a mouthpiece for homophobic ideologies. In the name of a homogenous white conservative society she racializes minorities in a way that lets her get away with it – and she never satirizes Catholics.

The roundtable that followed the lecture was a really productive and engaging discussion of cultural heritage, minorities, literary traditions and the exhibition commemorating the artists of Charlie Hebdo in Angoulême. Daniele Marx-Scouras argued that the attack against the French satirical magazine should not be discussed in isolation, but in relation to Western foreign policy in the Middle East. Her provocative question, why is it this event that got media coverage, and not others, was left unanswered. She also raised the issue of the French citizenship of Lassana Bathily, the Malian grocery worker who saved a great number of lives: in her interpretation the gesture of giving him citizenship on the 20th of January shows a model of how the majority imagines the successful integration of minorities: one has to risk one’s life to earn acceptance.

In his fascinating ten minutes Youssef Yacoubi was looking for manifestations of the incomprehensibility of Eastern and Western cultural traditions – the differences in conceptions about certain things – highlighting three fields of tension: humor, the understanding of violence (based on Jason Bahbak Mohaghegh’s Writing of Violence in the Middle East,) and the crisis of knowledge within the Islamic tradition. This crisis touches upon the most cardinal issues, such as authority, representation, and  freedom. As humor is an area where these issues meet and clash, Yacoubi asked if we are all equal before humor – and answered by drawing a distinction between satire, the humor of the elite of society; and the humor of the immigrant, which aims at mobilizing the energy of marginalization to satirize his/her own community as well as the broader society. Quoting the Syrian poet Adonis, Yacoubi went on to discuss differences in the Western, post-enlightened perceptions of violence and the heritage of Islam. “I am the hour of dreadful agitation and shaking loose of minds,” wrote Adonis. “This is what I am: Uniting strangeness with strangeness” – are the final lines of Adonis’s poem, giving voice to the degree of incomprehensibility involved in dialogues between East and West. At the end of his talk, Yacoubi argued for what he called intellectual patience in this present time of tension, the practice of resisting one’s first emotive response.

The next speaker, Erik Nisbet examined the media event of the attack and the phenomena of islamophobia and anti-Americanism from a social scientist’s perspective. In strong opposition to McKinney’s lecture, he argued that Charlie Hebdo was a victim of and a vehicle for the alienation and not the acculturation of minorities. Yet we should not forget that media provide a reflection of society, and Charlie Hebdo channeled the expectation existing in French society that anyone can be a Frenchman, but they have to accept French culture (even if French culture is criticizing one’s original culture.) Nisbet also called attention to the fact that Charlie Hebdo satirized all religion, in a country where the free expression of religion is limited for certain groups, for example the wearing of the headscarf in an educational setting is forbidden by law. He also highlighted the importance of considering the social status of Muslim minorities in France and in the EU: in France 5-10% of the population is Muslim, however, the proportion of them in prisons is much larger. Similarly, Nisbet problematized the ethos of satirizing all religion by stating that there exists a difference between satirizing the religion of power, i.e. Catholicism, and the religion of a minority (the history of racial tension and struggle was elaborated on by many speakers of the event.)

Caitlin McGurk, the last participant of the roundtable, talked about her personal experiences at the Angoulême International Comics Festival, where an exhibition was put up in just ten days to commemorate the dead cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo. McGurk had the luck to talk to one of the organizers of the exhibition, who told her that he was really frustrated by the hysteria over the magazine. Four weeks before the attack no one cared about Charlie Hebdo; they were on the outs, they were not considered stable and had serious financial problems, and now people seem to be too fond of it.

In his closing remarks Jared Gardner projected a Charlie Hebdo cover that shows a person with oil in one of his hands and fire in the other, while a textual insert labels the drawing as “The origins of humor.” As Gardner showed, putting the two together might be a good joke, but its first victim is bound to be the joker himself. The cover suggests that the artists of Charlie Hebdo understood that humor and satire are related to the Molotov cocktail in more than one ways. The cartoonists were aware that  their work could have the potential to blow things up, even themselves. Similarly, the cover the magazine appeared with after the 2011 attack, a cover showing a person in a Charlie Hebdo T-shirt kissing a Muslim person, can be interpreted as a hint at the relationship of mutualism between free speech and terrorism or violence. These covers and interpretations complicate some of the immediate and heated reactions articulated directly after the attack and call for a re-examination of the perception of the magazine as well as the attack against it.

Eszter Szép is a PhD student at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. She earned her M.A.s at the same institution in English Language and Literature (2008) and in Hungarian Language and Literature (2010). Her research focuses on vulnerability, materiality and the role of touch in 21st century graphic narratives. Eszter is an active member of the really small yet devoted Hungarian comics community, is a board member of the Hungarian Comics Association, and is one of the organizers of the International Comics Festival Budapest. With her reviews, interviews and lectures she tries to raise the acceptance of comics in Hungary.

 
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Posted by on 2015/03/21 in Guest Writers

 

The International Bande Dessinée Society: February 2015 by Lisa Tannahill and Chris O’Neill

Welcome to the second edition of the International Bande Dessinée Society column, a look back at developments in the world of bande dessinée (francophone comics) scholarship and research.

No retrospective examination of the year in bande dessinée can overlook the tragic events of January 2015: the shooting at the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The events and their ramifications have been discussed endlessly in the press, and discussion of the political or wider global effects of the attack is far beyond the remit of this column. However, the deaths of Stéphane Charbonnier (Charb), Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut (Cabu), Bernard Verlhac (Tignous) and Philippe Honoré represent a huge loss for not only Charlie Hebdo but the wider world of bande dessinée. Several of them were key figures in the development of post-war bande dessinée and wider visual culture in France. For example, Cabu and Wolinski’s work appeared in Charlie Hebdo from its beginnings in 1969 as well as its predecessor Hara-Kiri. Cabu and Charb, along with economist Bernard Maris, who was also killed, were instrumental in the resurrection of Charlie Hebdo in 1992 (publication had ceased in 1981). It is this incarnation which continues to the present day. Charlie Hebdo represents a particularly French tradition of satirical cartooning which lost many of its most important figures in the attacks. If you would like to know more about Charlie Hebdo and its place in French culture, Berghahn has published an informative blog post by Mark McKinney (University of Miami, Ohio) at their site, as well as making available two articles from European Comic Art: a history of the journal and its politics, as well as an interview with Cabu.

Festivals

This year, as every year, the biggest event in the bande dessinée calendar was the Angoulême festival, with 2015 marking its 42nd outing. Japanese artist Katsuhiro Otomo won the festival’s Grand Prix, the first manga cartoonist to win a lifetime achievement award, and prizes were also awarded to works by Riad Sattouf, Bastien Vivès and Chris Ware, amongst others. In remembrance of the attacks in Paris, the festival created a special award, the Prix Charlie Hebdo de la Liberté D’Expression. This special Grand Prix was given to Stéphane Charbonnier, Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut, Bernard Verlhac and Philippe Honoré to commemorate their achievements in the field of bande dessinée.

There are so many bande dessinée fairs, conventions and festivals in France and Belgium that it becomes impossible to keep track of all of them. One interesting example is SoBD (Salon des Ouvrages sur la Bande Dessinée), a 3-day festival that has been organised for the past four years by the bande dessinée website Stripologie.com and the eponymous Association SoBD.

The main focus of SoBD is not works of bande dessinée, but rather literature about bande dessinée: theoretical works, monographs, technical manuals, books on the history of the medium, etc. Attendees are able to buy many bande dessinées and much associated literature, and also attend various exhibitions and talks by those involved in bande dessinée publication, conservation and analysis. The guest of honour for this latest event was David B., author of Epileptic. There were also exhibitions on the work of bande dessinée creators Vincent Pompetti (La Guerre des Gaulles) and Christian Maucler (Les Enquêtes du Commissaire Raffini).

Exhibitions

For the first time, the Archives Nationales in Paris are holding an exhibition on collaboration in France during the Second World War. The exhibition, which runs from the 26th November 2014 until the 5th April 2015, looks at the various economic, political, military and cultural aspects of Vichy France, the German Occupation and collaboration. This includes a focus upon the cartoonists producing work during the Occupation, particularly Ralph Soupault and Enem. The exhibition of cartoonists’ work published in the form of newspaper comics, leaflets and posters produced during les années noires is the first of its kind, and an excellent opportunity to understand how the medium survived and thrived during the period, as a tool for propaganda. The exhibition explores the authorised comics and bande dessinée published in France between 1940 and 1944, providing an important counterweight to the more prevalent examinations of resistance comics in the same period.

Research and Conferences

This summer will see the Sixth International Graphic Novel and Comics Conference and the Ninth International Bande Dessinée Society Conference held at the University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP). The conference theme is Voyages, analysing the link between sequential art and the voyage, as well as the broader notion of voyage, moving past the geographical definition into the metaphysical. The conference welcomes papers covering all forms of comics, the graphic novel, and bande dessinée. Fittingly, the conference extended its deadline for the submission of proposals in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, in order to incorporate papers addressing these recent events and facilitate greater academic discussion of this difficult yet important event in French and bande dessinée history.

The second half of 2014 saw a number of new books published on various aspects of bande dessinée. Of particular interest is Leuven University Press’s new series, Studies in European Comics and Graphic Novels. Two books from the series have been published so far: The French Comic Theory Reader, edited by Ann Miller and Bart Beaty, and Sfar So Far: Identity, History, Fantasy and Mimesis in Joann Sfar’s Graphic Novels by Fabrice Leroy. The series, whose titles are to be published in English, will investigate comics within a variety of national and historical contexts: future publications include works on 19th Century graphic narratives and British girls’ comics. The two titles already published present an important step forward for bande dessinée scholarship in English. The French Comics Theory Reader gathers together several French texts on bande dessinée and translates them into English for the first time. Many major figures in bande dessinée scholarship are represented (including Thierry Groensteen, Pierre Fresnault-Deruelle, Jan Baetens, Pascal Lefèvre, and Francis Lacassin, amongst others). Some texts are ‘classics’, key texts in the study of French comics, while some are brand new and published here for the first time. The Reader is particularly valuable as an English-language resource on the francophone comic. It opens up the field of bande dessinée to those who do not speak French, presenting a wealth of information on graphic narratives and scholarship which remain obscure in the English-speaking world.

Sfar So Far is also an important work, as it is the first scholarly book published (in French or in English) on the work of Joann Sfar ( The Rabbi’s Cat, Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life). It includes sections on Sfar’s portrayal of Jewish identity, his representations of history and memory, intertextuality and the use of archetypal figures (the devil, the wizard, etc), as well as an interview with the creator himself.

In terms of francophone scholarship, in 2014 Les Impressions Nouvelles published M. Töpffer invente la bande dessinée by Thierry Groensteen. The new book is an updated reworking of Groensteen’s work with Benoit Peeters, Töpffer: L’Invention de la Bande Dessinée (1994), with Peeters’ contribution replaced by a section on those influenced by Topffer’s work. Topffer has widely been argued to be the father of bande dessinée, so this examination of later works helps to explore the development of the bande dessineé medium from his work through the nineteenth and twentieth century.

In the 30 years since the death of Georges Remi, better known as Hergé, the secondary literature on his most famous creation, Tintin, has become mountainous. With both the amateur and the experienced tintinophile in mind, August 2014 witnessed the publication of Tintin, Bibliographie d’un Mythe by Dominique Cerbelaud and Olivier Roche. This work aims to categorise all the existing secondary literature surrounding Tintin, as well as studies into the author himself. The Bibliographie covers 400 individual works, chronicling their content, significance, strengths and weaknesses. This important bibliographical work is an excellent tool for academics new to the field as well as those looking to further explore the existing Tintin literature to date.

Until our next column in August, we would like to suggest ways of keeping on top of upcoming publications. Comicalité is an online journal which contains academic articles on francophone comics, exploring the medium in general as well as the links between anglophone and francophone sequential art. The journal includes important articles from luminaries like Thierry Crépin and Pascal Lefèvre.

Lisa Tannahill is a PhD student at the University of Glasgow. Her research focuses on representations of the peripheral French regions in francophone bande dessinée, particularly Brittany, Corsica, their respective regional identities, and France’s historical attitude towards its periphery. Other interests include gender and postcolonial issues in the bande dessinée and graphic representations of the World Wars.

Chris O’Neill is a PhD student at Aston University, Birmingham. His research focuses on the development of newspaper cartooning in France between 1920 and 1944, particularly the impact of Candide and Gringoire during this period. Other areas of interest include representations of political figures and conflict in bande dessinée, and right-wing French politics in the inter-war period.

 

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Experiments in Digital Comics: Somewhere between Comics and Multimedia Storytelling by Jakob F. Dittmar

This paper looks at a few experiments on comics-storytelling in digital comics. The paper starts with introducing aspects from media psychology and research on technical documentation to look into the narrative and graphic structure of comics and touches on the characteristics of digital media before focusing on specific examples in more detail.

It can be said that a lot of digital and analogue comics constantly experiment on formal and narrative options. This is most obvious where elements of other narrative media get included (see Dittmar 2012 for a more thorough discussion of digital comics). The growing spectrum of forms offers more and more areas to use comics for: not only fictional but also non-fictional issues are communicated increasingly often in comics. For instance, maintenance manuals and assembly instructions for all kinds of artefacts are provided in sequential images more and more (see Schwender 2007, also: Jüngst 2010) – they are much easier to read than descriptive texts, as no translation of text into visual information is done, but the artefact in question and its parts are depicted and can be recognised easily.

Digital Comics Experiments

Obviously, not only digital comics but also analogue forms constantly experiment on and expand formal and narrative options. But in digital comics elements of other narrative media can be included quite easily as long as they are available as digital information as well. Also, distinct presentation media can be employed, like smartphones with their specific screen formats and standard image resolutions.

Two screens taken from Tom Wallgren's "Urgent Delivery”

Dittmar2 Two screens taken from Tom Wallgren’s “Urgent Delivery”

 

Tom Wallgren wrote and produced “Urgent Delivery” during a comics-course at Malmö University specifically to be read on smart-phones. The format of the images is adjusted to make the most of these screens – and accordingly, their size limits options for juxtaposed pictorial sequence. The dramaturgical development is built around this peculiarity: Almost all images are placed one per screen and only a few double images are used in the story. These combine our experience of split-screen from film with the diagonal frames between images in mainstream action comics. The story makes the most of each individual stage – images use the options of light and colour-intensity that only a screen can guarantee. To achieve the same colour-qualities in print would be quite expensive (starting with the need for high quality glossy paper).

The example below by Oscar Lagerström Carlsson and Felix Strandberg, also from one of our comics-courses, allows the reader to choose the narrative perspective onto the story. In this example, it is not the visual plane that is changed but the textual content – the reader can select whether to read the story with accompanying narrator’s comments or with direct speech of the depicted figures included. A blend of the two is also possible, adding a more text-centred version to the two image-centred narrations. In the result, three different modes are offered: the first showing all dialogue and conversations of the figures with each other, the second being an internal monologue, in which the main figure’s perspective is used as the narrator’s voice for the story, and a third in which the previous two forms are added onto each other. Each results in quite a different experience of the narration, without using different images at all.

Oscar L. Carlsson & Felix Strandberg allow for different narrative settings for the same visual material – here: [selectable narrator:dialogue]

 

The second text-perspective offered by Oscar L. Carlsson & Felix Strandberg in their comic: <monologue: first-person narrator

The second text-perspective offered by Oscar L. Carlsson & Felix Strandberg in their comic: [monologue: first-person narrator]

 

The combination of the two previous text-layers by Oscar L. Carlsson & Felix Strandberg:

The combination of the two previous text-layers by Oscar L. Carlsson & Felix Strandberg: [first-person narrator & dialogue combined]

Beyond Comics Definitions

Experiments on narrative forms partly challenge and even change established definitions of what comics are and what might easiest be described as mixed media storytelling. It has to be asked whether the established definitions of comics are fitting for the various forms of digital and web-comics or whether we are witnessing the establishment of a new literary form, which is neither film nor comic nor audio storytelling. Computer-based forms of comics that allow for readers’ choices in the development of narration (i.e. interactivity) usually switch easily (and often) between push and pull aspects of the medium (readers have to choose actively to be able to read further).

If we describe comics in the abstract for a moment, we can describe images as a blend of para-social and socio-culturally coded information, while written texts consist only of socio-culturally coded visual information. Some signs are understood without having to learn their meaning; basic emotions (fear, happiness, anger and despair) for example are understood by all humans in all the world, while other codes and messages depend on cultural learning – languages and writing for example: The difference between pre-social and socio-cultural recognition (for details see e.g. Berghaus 1986 and Boehm 1994, esp. 325 ff.). The visual rhetoric of comics can use elements from all kinds of codes and other visual depictions, even empty spaces. For the reader these need to be de-codable, otherwise the story can get misunderstood – or is not understood at all.

The structural basis for comics-storytelling is rather simple, while the difficulties are given in the interweaving (“tressage”, Groensteen 1999). It turns out to be slightly more difficult to describe the way in which images relate to other images. The way relations are constructed between individual places in the narration (“la spatio-topie”) and between narrative elements and themes (“l’arthrologie”) (Groensteen 1999). As Helena Magnusson summarised: ‘The first is about spatial relations, the second about semantic relation’ (Magnusson 2005: 42) – within each specific comic. The linearity or non-linearity of relations between events is crucial: it gives structure to the story itself, this in turn causes decisions on how to interrelate scenes and figures’ appearances within the narration.

This might sound more complicated than it is, but keep in mind that every comic is constructed from elements that are placed on various structural layers that are overlaying each other. These are comparable to “cells” – transparent sheets – in analogue animation film, but do not separate into different stages within a movement (e.g., the different positions of the leg in movement). Instead, the different layers are separated according to their internal visibility, i.e. within the narration: the images themselves, images inserted into images, texts written into images (e.g. sound-words), texts in frames (comments by narrator) and as a different group which is visually related quite closely: texts in bubbles. These can be separated into representations of speech and into thoughts. And if we understand the elements of comics storytelling to be placed on separate layers, we can more easily understand the potential of each of these elements within the construction of a story.

The smallest unit in comics-storytelling is the individual image that is limited by its frame (see Dittmar 2011 for a more detailed discussion of units in comics storytelling). There always are frames, only some of them are not decorated – but each image stops somewhere in some specific manner or style. The narrative development – the dramaturgy – of each comic is built from sequencing frames: They allow for narrative punctuation of the story, for visualising rhythm and structure of events.

Accordingly, the composition of each image has to be analysed or planned. Also, the style of drawing (or other graphical production methods) is crucial for the narrative and the construction of atmosphere: The depicted lighting conditions, the colouring, the choice of tools and reproduction media. And of course the point of view (incl. tilted and other framings) chosen for each individual image and sequence. Each page is an image containing several images – all the different names for full pages relate to concepts of comics-structure: the page as “hyperframe” (or “hypercadre” in Peeters 2003), “meta panel” or “super panel” (Eisner 2004), etc.

The depiction of physical environment does of course offer all the pictorial information on the placement of figures in whatever surrounding, while sounds can become physical (figures are hurt by sound, sometimes), but usually are on a separate layer, close to the speech balloons that represent direct speech. Thoughts are separate from these again, readers understand them to be visualised for their benefit, they are usually not imagined to be readable by the other figures within the comic, just like narrator’s comments, which are rather textual information that is framing the image in question and relating it to other aspects of the narration (Dittmar 2011: 179-182). Each of these layers is representing specific aspects of the situation and all of them do have their specific properties – as can be seen in comics which leave out one of these layers to tell their story with a distinct reduction of information.

On a more media-specific level, it has become obvious that the boundaries between comics and multimedia or even games are blurring (see e.g. Goodbrey 2014 for a discussion of this development). Comics’ definitions so far (e.g. in Groensteen, Carrier, McCloud; see Dittmar 2011 for a detailed discussion of comics definitions) do allow for, but do not discuss the consequences of floating or flexible page layouts for the dramaturgy of stories. Digital comics can follow these conventions or break them by introducing a different pacing of story-arcs that would not fit on printed formats. Decisions about the number of images and their placing and style are crucial for the storytelling style of each comic as each new page works as a meta-panel (or meta-image) that consists of all its individual images and combination of their designs (“mise-en-page”). Digital comics can allow for floating images on the page and variability in image-sizes. As a result, content of a page no longer sets the narrative structure of comics for each reader, but each gets to see a different depiction of the page according to the individual settings of the browser. The discussion about the applicability of classes of page styles cannot be repeated here, but remember the basic forms of page styles as either regulated or constant, as decorative, as rhetoric, or as productive (cf. Peeters 2003). Defining styles helps to discuss the frame-structure not only of each page, but also of the full comic (strip or album alike). These can be seen as a multiframe (“multicadre”, “multicadre feuilleté”: van Lier 1988) which is the comic‘s skeleton (Magnusson 2005).

It might be necessary to point out that printed and similar comics do cause different comics definitions than digital comics do. Definitions for digital comics are deducted from and related to the “classic” definitions, of course, but as medial demands and options are distinctly different with digital media, definitions have to adjust. The ongoing debate on digital comics is doing just that: it is testing established theories (comics definitions amongst other issues) to adjust them to describe current practices in digital comics.

To include hidden text that is shown when the mouse-pointer is dragged over it (the “alt-function”) seems not to be a challenge to comics-definitions. But including sounds, spoken texts, and music as accoustic and not as visual information causes a problem, as non-visual information is added. Is a comic still a comic if it includes moving images or sound-bites? Can it be a film, if the reader determines her/his individual speed of reading – especially if the images are placed juxtaposed? Karl-Johan Thole suggested on the current course on “Digital Comics” at Malmö University the following condition to mark the boundary between digital comics (which possibly include animated images) and animation film: ‘The reader should be able to look at the picture at any time of the animation and take in the whole meaning of the picture. So that the reader can read the comic without having to stop to watch a longer animation play’.

This condition limits the extent to which animated content can get included into a comic without turning it into film. From looking at many of the comics that are published on the internet, it is obvious that animated sequences of up to a minute are quite popular with the makers of these stories. But does this turn them into comics with short film sequences – or rather into stories told in multimedia? From a film perspective, most of the information and action in these stories is given in the comics-sections, while the animated bits mostly add atmosphere to the story, but only limited story-development.

Advanced interactivity might turn digital comics into games

Not only digital but also analogue comic-formats constantly experiment on and expand formal and narrative options. New options arrive with our changing uses of all kinds of media. They all result in options to tell stories in new or different ways. Especially with digital comics, elements of other narrative media get included; moving images or sound effects are interlinked with the dramaturgical development of the story. Also, distinct presentation-media are employed, for example mobile phones that are used as computer-and-screen-units in connection with the internet (not as phones, obviously). Often, interactivity is a crucial quality, e.g. visual planes can be selectable, or perspectives onto the story and its development – this area is closely linked to developments of games and might be rather more than multi-medial storytelling or digital comics. With growing interactivity the intended narrative sequence and dramaturgy gets communicated less safely, as the reader turns into a user that decides on the sequence of events and even on what might happen and what not. And when that stage is reached, we no longer talk about literature, but about games.

Sources

Berghaus, Margot (1986): “Zur Theorie der Bildrezeption. Ein anthropologischer Erklärungsversuch für die Faszination des Fernsehens.” in: Publizistik Jg.31, Heft 3-4: 278-295.

Boehm, Gottfried (1994): Was ist ein Bild? München: Fink.

Carrier, David (2000): The Aesthetics of Comics. Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Dittmar, Jakob F. (2011): Comic-Analyse. Konstanz: UVK.

Dittmar, Jakob F. (2012): “Digital Comics” in: Scandinavian Journal of Comic Art (SJoCA), Winter 2012; 82–91.

Eisner, Will (2004): Comics and Sequential Art. Tamarac, FL: Poorhouse Press.

Goodbrey, Daniel Merlin (2014): “Game Comics: An Analysis of an Emergent Hybrid Form” in: Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Vol 5, Issue 4.

Groensteen, Thierry (1999): Système de la Bande Dessinée. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

Jüngst, Heike Elisabeth (2010): Information Comics. Frankfurt et al.: Peter Lang.

Magnusson, Helena (2005): Berättande Bilder. Göteborg & Stockholm: Makadam.

McCloud, Scott (1993): Understanding Comics. New York: Harper Collins.

Peeters, Benoît (2003): Lire la Bande Dessinnée. Paris: Flammarion.

Schwender, Clemens; Ulrich Bühring (2007): Lust auf Lesen. Die lesemotivierende Gestaltung von Technischer Dokumentation. Lübeck: Schmidt-Römhild.

Van Lier, Henri (1988): “La Bande Dessinée, une Cosmogénie Dure” in: Bande Dessinée, Récits et Modernité. Colloque de Cerisy. URL (16.09.2014): http://www.anthropogenie.com/anthropogenie_locale/semiotique/bande_dessinee.pdf

Jakob F. Dittmar studied British Studies, Religion, et al. in Oldenburg and Exeter. PhD in science of arts in Essen. Venia legendi and facultas docendi in media science on comics-analysis and on en-passant-media at TU Berlin. Assoc. prof. and senior lecturer at the School of Arts and Communication at Malmö University.

 
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Posted by on 2015/03/14 in Guest Writers

 

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