By Julia Ingold
Just recently, Germany’s Gesellschaft für Comicforschung (Society for Comic Studies, short: ComFor) published the date and a call for papers for its 12th annual conference. Scholars from home and abroad are invited to come together, present, and discuss their latest research under the topic “Comics and their Popularity” from December 1 to 3, 2017. The conference will take place at Bonn University, hosted by Joachim Trinkwitz and his team, who might be well known for their astonishing work on the Bonner Online-Bibliographie zur Comicforschung (Bonn Online Bibliography for Comics Research).
From March 2 to 3, this year’s second major meeting for German comic scholars took already place in Cologne, as Lukas announced in the last ComFor Update. Experienced scholars and junior researchers discussed “Forms of Self-Reflexivity in the Comics Medium” within a two-day workshop organized by Véronique Sina and Nina Heindl on behalf of the AG Comicforschung (Comic Studies Board) of the German Society of Media Studies (GfM). One international conference report by Laura Schlichting and Markus Streb was published in English on comicsforum.org, while I had the pleasure to write another myself in German for ComFor’s website.
Nina Heindl and Véronique Sina also arranged for a lecture series at Bochum University on “Holocaust in Kunst, Kultur und Medien” (‘Holocaust in Art, Culture, and Media’) where two presentations by Jörn Wendland and Véronique Sina will focus on specific aspects related to comics. Christian A. Bachmann will give a talk on “Jenseits der Schriftlichkeit: Zur Materialität von Comics” (‘Beyond the Written: On the Materiality of Comics’) in the Staatsbibliothek Berlin on June 13.
Furthermore, the PathoGraphics research team at the Freie Universität Berlin announced its call for papers on “Stories of Illness / Disability in Literature and Comics: Intersections of the Medical, the Personal, and the Cultural” for an upcoming conference from October 27 to 28. Paper proposals can still be submitted until May 31.
As Laura had already mentioned in the Update in December 2016, a symposium on the topic “Zur Ästhetik des Gemachten in Animation und Comic” (‘On the Aesthetics of the Made in Animation and Comics’) took place in Hannover in November 2016. An English conference report by Sebastian Bartosch was published in Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal (12.1) as well as a German one by Vanessa Ossa in ZfM – Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft online. Additionally, the proceedings of the 2015 Berlin-symposium “Science Meets Comics: The Anthropocene Kitchen: Designing the Future of Food” are now available in book form published by the Christian A. Bachmann publishing house, as well as in open-access-format on zenodo.org. It comprises both the contributors of ComFor members, such as Stephan Packard or Jaqueline Berndt, and also international experts, such as Nick Sousanis.
As Spring is finally granting more friendly weather to Germany, this year’s festival season opened with numerous smaller conventions that will gradually lead up to the Frankfurter Buchmesse (Book Fair) in October. One of the biggest intermediary events will be the biennial Comic Festival Munich from May 25 to 28, accompanied by countless exhibitions all over the city. Those include “Portraits of our Friends” by the Japanese artist-duo YUKI, “50 Jahre Deutsches MAD” (’50 Years of MAD in Germany’), as well as “Der Mythos Eternauta” (‘The Myth of Eternauta’) about the Argentine comic artist Héctor Germán Oesterheld, who disappeared under the military dictatorship in 1977. Moreover, many additional comic exhibitions can be visited all over Germany at the moment. Our newest editorial staff member, Alexandra Hentschel keeps track of these: you can find a constantly updated list on our website’s exhibition section. I will only mention a few in more detail:
Between May 13 and October 22, you can admire “Die Besten Deutschen Comics – Max-und-Moritz-Preis 2016” (‘The Best German Comics – the Max and Moritz Award 2016’). There, the Erika-Fuchs-Haus in Schwarzenbach an der Saale presents last year’s winners of Germany’s most renowned comic award, granted at the Biannual International Comic-Salon in Erlangen. The Bundekunsthalle in Bonn exhibits “Comics! Mangas! Graphic Novels!” from May 7 to September 10. The organizers collected over 250 exhibits from USA, Japan, and Europe which thus make up the most extensive display of comics in Germany (with a focus on the post-World War II-era in Japan and Germany). In contrast, the Staatliche Bücher- und Kupferstichsammlung Greiz presents new acquisitions of their collection SATIRICUM, dedicated to german caricature in the first half of the 20th century: “Vom Simplicissimus zum Eulenspiegel” welcomes visitors from April 1 to June 25 in Greiz. The Caricatura Museum Frankfurt continues to exhibit a wide range of graphic artworks from its own collection. It changes the items regularly and will show a new arrangement from May 18 onwards. As May the 4th has been an important date for popular culture aficionados/as around the world for a while now, German comic readers are excited about another significant event on the 13th of this month: they will get free sample copies at local comic book stores in the course of the “Gratis Comic Tag” (Free Comic Book Day).
Julia Ingold, M.A., is a member of the German Society for Comics Studies (ComFor) and part of its website’s editorial team. She is currently working on her dissertation at Kiel University – on German, Jewish avant-gardist Else Lasker-Schüler, with a focus on her graphic art. She also teaches German literature at Kiel and at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. She is one of the editors of CLOSURE – Kieler e-Journal für Comicforschung, a German-language e-journal for the academic study of comics, and has published articles on contemporary comics. For a full list, please click HERE.