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Author Archives: Harriet Earle

About Harriet Earle

Shabby-chic academic type with a PhD who hangs around university offices and comics shops.

Amar Bari Tomar Bari Naxalbari: A Socio-Political Indian “Comic”

By Antarleena Basu

 

In 2015, while Paul Gravett was affirming that “the Indian graphic novel is here to stay” (Gravett), a 162-page comic/graphic novel that raised many an eyebrow for its dauntless representation of the Naxalite movement and the rise of the communist ideology across India was published in book form somewhere in Bhilai, a bustling industrial city in the state of Chattisgarh in India. The Naxalite movement, also known as the “peasant uprising”, refers to the armed struggle of the peasants against wealthy and exploitative land-owners and it was initiated by a small fraction of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) led by Charu Mazumdar in a small village of West Bengal in India called “Naxalbari”; hence the name “Naxal uprising”. Titled Amar Bari Tomar Bari Naxalbari (which roughly translates from Bengali as “my house and your house is Naxalbari” and echo the popular Bengali slogan of the Naxals), Sumit Kumar’s comic was the first of its kind—it not only dares to portray the serious topic of the Naxal and communist uprising through the verbal and visual interaction of the comic mode but also experiments with a wide array of styles and techniques in the text, thereby injecting the necessary dosage of plurality that could go into the making of an Indian comic. By amalgamating the present political events with those of the past, by invoking classics as well as pop-culture and its icons, by mixing colourful pages with stark blacks and whites, among his many binaries, Kumar creates a scathing, tragic-comic narrative that almost borders on the absurd.

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Posted by on 2019/02/27 in Guest Writers

 

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Bande Dessinée: A Physical Culture? MUSCUDERZO!

by Philippe Capart

Translated by Annick Pellegrin

Edited by Lise Tannahill

Original publication: Capart, Philippe. “La Culture de la bande dessinée, une culture physique ? MUSCUDERZO !” TONIQUE avril 2017. Print.[1]

 

 

A School for Unlearning

Bande dessinée gives one the impression of reading without thinking. Like a laxative that transforms the literate person into a savage and the illiterate person into a criminal. After the industrial and methodical pulverisation of millions of people—World War II—Western educators, be they Communist, secular or Christian, agreed on the source of juvenile delinquency: THE ILLUSTRATED PRESS FOR CHILDREN.[2] They worked hand in hand, fighting to control, restrain or ban the series of little figures on paper. For many of those literate men and women, only single-panel illustrations, the statue-like figure firmly attached to its textual pedestal allowed one to preserve the model, the exemplary and the ideal. But a sequence of images was the victory of the trivial over the sacred. Thus, in their eyes, bande dessinée became a manual leading the pseudo-reader to mimic a series of figures. When they were noble actions, no problem, but when they were burlesque exaggerations, violent actions, sex, they were veritable manuals for troublemaking, guides to lust and crime.

“En ce temps, la bédé était un divertissement pour minus !” [At the time, comics were a form of entertainment for wimps!] Morris[3]

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Posted by on 2018/09/26 in Guest Writers, TONIQUE

 

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FRAME:WORKS Symposium 2017 – An Illustrated Report

Authors: Mark Hibbett, Guy Lawley, Tobias J. Yu-Kiener

Images: John Miers.

FRAME:WORKS was a one-day symposium on comics held at Central St Martins (CSM) on Friday, June 16th 2017, funded by University of the Arts London (UAL) Communities of Practice as a UAL Comics Studies Network event. It was organised by Mark Hibbett, Guy Lawley and Tobias J. Yu-Kiener, with sketch-noting by John Miers.

The symposium was devised to bring together a mix of comics academics, practitioners and professionals. Grouped into four thematic sessions, the speakers discussed the nature of working within frameworks, whether artistic, conceptual, professional or legal. The organisers envisioned that the term ‘framework’ could be perceived both negatively, as limitation and restriction, and positively, as a guiding and framing structure to a project. This idea was picked up by the speakers and carried on into the chaired discussions that concluded each panel.

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Death to Bandes Dessinées! Long Live Hypergraphy

(Geste hypergraphique by Roberto Altmann, 1967)

by Antoine Sausverd

Translated by Annick Pellegrin

Edited by Lise Tannahill

Original publication: Sausverd, Antoine. “« À mort les bandes dessinées ! Vive l’hypergraphie ! » (Geste hypergraphique de Roberto Altmann, 1967)” TONIQUE avril 2017. Print.

For bande dessinée, the year 1967 seemed to favour formal and aesthetic experiments. After Les Aventures de Jodelle (1966), Pravda la survireuse appeared in the pages of the monthly Hara-Kiri from January to December, before being published in album format in 1968. The stylisation of shapes and the uniform solid colours were openly inspired from the pop art aesthetic. Similar to the exquisite corpse,[1] Saga de Xam by Nicolas Devil was an epic work that bore the marks of the counter cultures of its time: from chapter to chapter, the work alternated between various graphic styles, challenging established page layout norms.[2] The texts were written in three alphabets, two of which were invented and undecipherable, unless one consulted a correspondence table at the end of the work. Finally, the same year saw the release of the first situationist comics: posters and tracts reproduced bandes dessinées and replaced the content of the speech bubbles with excerpts of revolutionary political theories advocated by the Situationist International, that would play a significant role in triggering May 1968. It was also in 1967 that Geste hypergraphique, a strange album just as original as the previous ones, was published in Liechtenstein. Completely unnoticed at the time and still largely unknown to date, this “hypergraphique narration en 15 chants” [hypergraphic narration in 15 songs] was the work of a young Cuban aged 25, Roberto Altmann, who was at that point part of the lettrist group.

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Posted by on 2018/02/16 in Guest Writers, TONIQUE

 

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Natacha: Flying Bellhop

by  Philippe Capart

Translated by Annick Pellegrin

Edited by Lise Tannahill

Original publication: Capart, Philippe. “Natacha : Groom de l’air.” La Crypte tonique nov/déc 2012: 28-34. Print.[1]

Peyo’s Gang

Peyo, Franquin, Will, Tillieux and Roba, the creative nucleus of the magazine Spirou, were buddies. Stuck at their drawing tables for long days, they occasionally needed to get together and often went out as a gang. However, Gos specifies: “But it was their… they were friends amongst themselves, as for us, we were a generation below, hey!”. There were drinking parties that sometimes made Mondays a difficult day for the team. According to Gos,

François [Walthéry] understood psychology better than I did, he had said to me “For God’s sake! Don’t come and show your drawings on Mondays, he may have partied hard on the Saturday and still be headachy, it’s not the right time to show him what we’ve done! I never show him anything on Mondays, I show him on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.” François, he’s a “clever peasant” as Peyo used to say.
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