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Lev Gleason Publications and Pre-Code PR:

Attracting Mature Readers[1]

By Peter W. Y. Lee

Among the 1954 Comics Magazine Association of America’s Comic Code’s many regulations was a directive to company admen: “Liquor and tobacco advertising is not acceptable” (Nyberg 168). The ubiquity of alcohol in mainstream media certainly concerned social guardians in post-war America (Rotskoff). However, liquor manufacturers did not solicit to minors in the comics, but another demographic group: their parents.

The first part of my article looked at how Lev Gleason Publications responded to the public alarm over comic books. Gleason and his chief editor, Charles Biro, pushed comics as a progressive medium with educational and artistic merit. This second part explores their second strategy: courting adults. Gleason hoped that an expanded readership would bolster support and offset rising production costs. However, critics rejected comic books’ potential beyond that of disposable children’s entertainment. The Comics Code sanitised comic books and stigmatised readers beyond middle-school age.

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Posted by on 2020/07/17 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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A Survey of Flemish Comic Strips Under Nazi Occupation

A Deceptive Crusade In Flanders Fields – Part 3/3[1]

by Danny de Laet

Translated by Lise Tannahill

Edited by Annick Pellegrin

 

Original publication: de Laet, Danny. « La BD flamande sous l’occupation : Entre croix gammée et croisade faussée. » La Crypte tonique septembre – octobre 2013: 35-44. Print.[2]

Lots of young people got their break with Henri Winkeler, who was already interested in animated cartoons before the war, so much so that he wanted to create a studio, funded by Wilfried Bouchery (who, after the war, would produce Claude Misonne’s animated version of Hergé’s Tintin adventure The Crab With The Golden Claws). To achieve this, he hired several students from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp: Bob de Moor, Ray Goossens, Jules Luyckx, Marcel Colbrandt and a few others including Jef Nys. This greatly displeased their tutor, Baron Opsomer, who threatened to expel them. Only Nys, after working on Smidje Smee for three days, would return to the fold.

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A Survey of Flemish Comic Strips Under Nazi Occupation

A Deceptive Crusade In Flanders Fields – Part 2/3[1]

by Danny de Laet

Translated by Lise Tannahill

Edited by Annick Pellegrin

 

Original publication: de Laet, Danny. « La BD flamande sous l’occupation : Entre croix gammée et croisade faussée. » La Crypte tonique septembre – octobre 2013: 35-44. Print.[2]

 

 

How Did The Situation Evolve?

 

The situation evolved in two ways. Firstly—as noted—with the disappearance of some existing media and then the emergence of replacement media, combined with the (political) evolution of those pre-invasion publications that remained. For some illustrators this meant certain promotion and considerable financial gain; for others, more cautious or politically opposed, it meant putting their careers on ice. Two young artists made the most of this new situation, by hook or by crook: DeBudt and Vandersteen.

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A Survey of Flemish Comic Strips Under Nazi Occupation

A Deceptive Crusade In Flanders Fields – Part 1/3

by Danny de Laet

Translated by Lise Tannahill

Edited by Annick Pellegrin

 

Original publication: de Laet, Danny. « La BD flamande sous l’occupation : Entre croix gammée et croisade faussée. » La Crypte tonique septembre – octobre 2013: 35-44. Print. [1]

 

 

By Way of Introduction

In 1940, the quiet beginnings of Flemish beeldverhaal (that is to say, bande dessinée in Dutch) almost came to nothing. The German invasion of Belgium in May 1940 had something to do with it, putting an end to several publications of this kind, thus depriving several illustrators of their livelihood and leaving them unemployed.

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