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Category Archives: Guest Writers

The Bi-Monthly ComFor Update for May 2019

By Lukas R. A. Wilde

It is my pleasure to fill you in on what happened since Natalie’s last update in March on comics scholarship in the German-speaking corners of the world. The summer term started around the middle of April in German universities and, as usual, ComFor’s editorial staff compiled a list of comics related classes and lectures from disciplines as varied as Literature (English, German and French), Media Studies, History, Art Teaching and even Geography. Spring break or not, our motivated team (that Laura Oehme and I have had the honor to hand over some months back) has in general been very busy, as you can see from our new website section dedicated to international comic scholarship journals. Take a look at their second installment introducing new issues and articles of the International Journal of Comic Art, Studies in Comics, the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, ImageTexT and The Comics Grid in a clear arrangement. As usual, you can also find short introductions of new monographs and edited collections on comics within the regular Monitor section. Most of these books are released by international publishing houses and in English, so send a short note to redaktion@comicgesellschaft.de if you know of a publication that should be included in future installments. One notable German-language publication has been released during the last months: Überzeichnete Spektakel: Inszenierungen von Gewalt im Comic [Exaggerated Spectacle: The Staging of Violence in Comics] by ComFor member Jörn Ahrens. The author investigates the many forms, strategies and functions of ‘graphic violence’ from a formal, media-specific perspective, with case studies ranging from classics as Sin City or the works of Joe Sacco, to more contemporary series such as 100 Bullets or DMZ. The monograph’s release was accompanied by a roundtable discussion event on May 14 at the University of Gießen (with Frank Thomas Brinkmann, Ole Frahm and Kirsten von Hagen) on the relationship between comic aesthetics and violence.

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Report on the Superheroes Beyond Conference (December 2018)

By Vincent Tran

 

On the 6-8 of December 2018, the Superheroes Beyond Conference took place at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne. Organised by the Superheroes and Me research group of Angela Ndalianis, Liam Burke and Ian Gordon, and part of a larger project funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), the conference was built on the crux of going “beyond out-dated definitions of superheroes”, stemming from the costumed heroes of the 1940s. Running alongside the conference was also the exhibition on Cleverman (2016 -), an Aboriginal superhero television show as well as the Superheroes: Realities Collide virtual reality experience, also organised by Superheroes and Me, allowing participants to explore the streets of Melbourne as a superhero in VR. Across these three days over 50 presenters expanded and enriched the dialogue on superheroes, all in a collaborative effort to hopefully shift the direction of future research to new uncharted ground. Through exploring international examples, historical antecedents, real life super-heroism, on top of a multitude of perspectives, these presentations opened up the discussion beyond the white male caped crusader.

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The Bi-Monthly ComFor Update for March 2019

By Natalie Veith

In March, German universities are on term break, but it is rapidly coming to a close, so we are all busy getting ready for the summer semester that starts in April, preparing for our research and teaching duties, compiling reading lists and shuffling around seminar schedules. But that is not the only thing keeping us busy these days. In the field of comics studies as well as in the general German-language comics scene, this month in particular has been eventful.

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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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The Bi-Monthly ComFor Update for January 2019

by Julia Ingold

The first month of the new year always starts smoothly with a prolonged holiday period. German universities resume their daily activities only in the second week of January and so does ComFor’s editorial staff—as usual with our established retrospect about several ComFor members’ favorite comics of 2018. Shortly after Stephan Packard’s substantial bi-monthly update two months ago, ComFor’s editorial team posted a retrospect on the panel “Comics 4.0” that the Committee for Comics Studies contributed to the German Society for Media Studies’ (GfM) annual conference that took place in Siegen under the headline “Industry” in September 2018. ComFor Member Lukas R. A. Wilde gave a talk on “Von Remediation zum Intermedium: Formen, Formate und mediale Rahmungen digitaler Comics” (From Remediation to Indermedia: Forms, Formats and Medial Framings of Digital Comics). Tim Glaser shared his views on “Comics, Communities & Crowdfunding: Plattformen und deren Einfluss auf die Rezeption und Distribution von Webcomics” (Comics, Communities, and Crowdfunding: Platforms and their Influence on Reception and Distribution of Webcomics). Peter Vignold, for his part, presented on “From A(yn) to Z(ack): Objektivismus im zeitgenössischen Comicfilm” (From A(yn) to Z(ack): Objectivism in the Contemporary Film Adaptation of Comics). The first two presentations both took their cues from the concept of the infinite canvas that Scott McCloud introduced in his 2000 book Reinventing Comics. The panel expounded the question to what extent webcomics’ many new possibilities might collide with the fact that they still only receive widespread attention once they are transferred into traditional print media and thus lose aspects of their inherent mediality.

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