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Category Archives: Guest Writers

Blind Readers and Comics: Reflecting on Comics’ Storytelling from a Different Perspective

by Jakob F. Dittmar

 

Summary

This paper discusses comics for the blind, based on the example of the tactile comic life by Philipp Meyer and Astérix par Touchtatis ! by Olivier Poncer. It looks into the potential and the restrictions of sequential pictorial storytelling that is accessible to blind readers. Special attention is given to the elements of comics narratives and the technical background of tactile text and image representation. Due to the process of giving information in tactile comics, these present an extreme challenge for readers who have been born blind, while readers who have become blind later in life seem to be able to refer the elements of spatially dispersed tactile information representing the visual appearance of environments (images) to their memory of visual information.

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Posted by on 2019/08/04 in Guest Writers

 

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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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Comics Literacy in the Classroom

by Lars Wallner

Comics as Narrative Tools[i]

Comics are a narrative form combining text and image in surveyable sequences (McCloud 9). In Sweden, comics are common reading for children, young readers and adults, even though comics reading among young people seems to have lessened, as have all types of reading—see, for example, Statens Offentliga Utredningar (231). Despite what these reading trends seem to indicate, publication of comics for children has grown in the past few years (The Swedish Institute for Children’s Books 25). Throughout my dissertation study (Wallner, Framing Education), I came in contact with many teachers from different levels of schooling who were interested in using comics in their classrooms. These contacts indicated not only an interest on the part of teachers, but also an interest on the part of students wanting to read, and to benefit from reading, comics in school.

Comics are also a prime material for studying how students engage in conversations on reading and writing—that is to say, literacy—especially because of how comics combine text and images. Because of this, a study of the use of comics in a school context can contribute greatly both to our knowledge of literacy construction with comics and to a better picture of what literacy entails.

In order to study this ongoing practice in the classroom, I made video recordings of three classes in Grade 3 (age 8-10) and one class in Grade 8 (age 13-15). In total, 77 students and 6 teachers, in two different Swedish cities, contributed to this study. 15 lessons were recorded with work in whole class, pairs and groups. As a researcher, I had no influence over the settings or materials: the teachers had already chosen the amount of time to be spent on comics, the material that they wanted to work with for each lesson and how they wanted to use said material. My role in the classroom was merely to film the activities that they planned and carried out.

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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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A Culture of New Racism in Comics

By Whitney Hunt

 

New Racism Ideology In the USA

Whiteness is an enduring construct of privilege and power that systematically shapes and maintains racial inequality, resulting in a hierarchal system of oppression toward people of color (Feagin & Elias 2013). Systematic racism requires generations of people reproducing racist institutions and the white racial framings that support them (Feagin 2013). According to Feagin (2013), the white racial frame is a broad concept encompassing racist practices, imagery and discourse throughout US society shaped by and for the primary benefit of individuals considered white by society. In all eras of American history, manifestations of racism contain the ideological underpinning that justifies racial inequality. Moreover, the societal grip of white racial framing underscores the gross reality that America’s racist foundations are regularly unacknowledged (Feagin 2014; Bonilla-Silva 2017).

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Posted by on 2018/09/17 in Guest Writers, Women

 

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