Call for Papers: Symposium «Comics | Games: Aesthetic, Ludic, and Narrative Strategies» | Nov. 5-7, 2018

Conveners: Andreas Rauscher, Daniel Stein, Jan-Noël Thon
Funded by the Volkswagen Foundation

Exchanges between comics and games have become as complex as their respective source material. Indeed, transmedia activities that extend the aesthetics and narratives of comic books beyond their original medium have become a key element of our current culture of media convergence. Driven by the success of Marvel studio productions, films based on comic book superheroes have come to dominate Hollywood mainstream cinema, while the success of comics-based Netflix television series has begun to reshape contemporary serial television production. Less noted by scholars and non- academic commentators, video games constitute another commercially and culturally pervasive host medium for a sprawling wealth of comic-derived material. Before Lego Batman became a successful animated movie satire of superhero conventions in early 2017, for example, an earlier Lego video game series had already been covering the lighter side of the dark knight since 2008, while the ongoing series of Batman Arkham games continues to deliver the doom and gloom aesthetics expected from Gotham’s Finest for an older demographic. Beyond the franchise-oriented game design of large parts of the games industry, games like Framed (2014) allow the player to experience the formal structures of comics, and the graphic novel adaptation Valiant Hearts (2014) explores the events of World War I from a multi-perspective angle outside the digital battlefields of more mainstream video games.

AG Games | AG Comicforschung | Volkswagen Stiftung

Against this background, the symposium Comics|Games: Aesthetic, Ludic, and Narrative Strategies aims to further our understanding of the ways in which comics and video games interrelate and cross- fertilize each other at our current moment of media convergence. The symposium, funded by the VolkswagenStiftung, is a joint effort between the Working Group Comics Studies (AG Comicforschung) and the Working Group Game Studies (AG Games) of the German Society for Media Studies (Gesellschaft für Medienwissenschaft).

We invite 15-minute papers on issues related to questions of adaptation, franchising, poetics, design, hybridity, gender, representation, seriality, and/or transmedia focused on one or more of the following areas of inquiry:

Aesthetic strategies: What happens to the “sequential art” of the comic when the pictures originally fixed on a printed page are set into motion by the game player? In what ways does the configurative practice of the gaming situation affect the representation of the static comic book page? Can modalities associated with stylistic traditions of the comic book like cartooning be adapted to games, and what are the potential consequences of such adaptations for the experience of gameplay mechanics? Is the role of the player restricted to redrawing prefigured characters and situations, or can s/he subvert even potentially harmful stereotypes of gender and race in a playful way? Does the recurring use of characters, settings, and situations across media affirm the stagnation of comics and video games as cultural-industrial commodities, or can we identify traces of a creative approach toward cultural rituals between repetition and variations as they are emphasized in recent genre theory and seriality studies?

Ludic strategies: What ludic qualities can be discovered in comic book franchises and in serial practices of storytelling in particular? Are aspects of transmedial world-building closer to the non-linear attractions of an adventure playground than to the traditional heroic epic seeking closure in order to create meaning? What detours from the conventional superhero’s journey are enabled by a playful attitude? What practices of textual poaching and which types of fan cultures, involving cosplay, game mods, and fan fiction, can be found in the borderlands between comics and gaming cultures? Does cultural re-evaluation affect the initial pleasures of comics and gaming culture, or are serious games the next graphic novel? And are our current methods even adequate to discuss the possibilities and pitfalls, the pleasure and pain, of franchising practices within the comics and games industries?

Narrative strategies: Is comics’ multimodal configuration in need of emancipation from its narrative function in ways similar to what early ludologists claimed for the ludic structures of (video) games? Does the “drillability” of transmedia storyworlds really create a deeper understanding of a unified narrative experience spread across several media? Does every picture tell a story, or do we have to consider updated models for verbal-pictorial and interactive audiovisual narratives? What are the appropriate methods (from close reading to world mapping) for navigating sequential and spatial art forms? What historical perspectives connect image-, hyper- and cybertext? In what ways can the techniques and stylistic forms such as the use of narrators, the foregrounding of character subjectivity through free indirect discourse, the principles of montage, or pictorial emulation of character point- of-view be adapted from literature and film to comics and games? What are the material modalities and semiotic styles of narrative in comics (from cartoons to graphic novel realism) and games (from early 2D games to 21st-century 3D photorealism and back to current indie game abstraction)?

Please send 200-word abstracts and 100-word biographies by 30 April 2018 via email to the three conference conveners:
Andreas Rauscher rauscher [at] medienwissenschaft.uni-siegen [dot] de
Daniel Stein stein [at] anglistik.uni-siegen [dot] de
Jan-Noël Thon jan-noel.thon [at] [dot] uk

Symposium Comics | Games
Aesthetic, Ludic, and Narrative Strategies
Herrenhausen Palace Conference Centre,
Hannover, Germany
November 5–7, 2018

PROGRAMM | Graphic Realities: Comics as Documentary, History, and Journalism


Day 1, 22 February 2018
11.00-12.00 Registration
12.00-12.30 Welcome Address
12.30-13.30 Wibke Weber (Winterthur, CH)
Understanding Comics Journalism: Research Perspectives on a Journalistic Genre
13.45-15.30 PANEL SESSION 1
Felipe Muanis (Juiz de Fora, BRA)
Reading News from Sequential Art: Brazilian Newspapers Editing Journalism through Comics
Sigrid Thomsen (London, UK)
Portraying the Constrained Love of Others in ‘Love Story à l’Iranienne’
  Augusto Paim (Weimar, GER)
On the Characteristics of Sketchbooks as a Journalistic Tool
15.30-16.00 Coffee Break
16.00-17.00 Dirk Vanderbeke (Jena, GER)

History and Journalism in the History of Graphic Information

17.15-19.00 PANEL SESSION 2
Francisco Sáez de Adana (Alcalá de Henares, ESP)

The Sino-Japanese War in ‘Terry and the Pirates’

Amrita Singh (New Delhi, IND)

Of Superheroes in Ordinary Clothing: Reinventing Biography, History and the Comic Form in ‘A Gardener in the Wasteland’

Christine Gundermann (Cologne, GER)

The Graphic Anne: Anne Frank as Trans-Media and Trans-National Lieu de Mémoire

20.00 Conference Dinner
Day 2, 23 February 2018
9.00-10.00 Nina Mickwitz (London, UK)

‘True Story’: Documentary Claims in Comics Form

10.15-12.00 PANEL SESSION 3
Jakob F. Dittmar/Ofer Ashkenazi (Malmö, SWE/Jerusalem, ISR)

Documentary Comics as Secondary Sources for Academic/Scientific Research

Dieter Declercq (Kent, UK)
Two Styles to Tell the Truth. The Satire and Comics Journalism of Matt Bors
Joanna Rostek (Giessen, GER)

Documenting the Experience of Polish Labour Migrants in the UK: Agata Wawryniuk’s ‘Rozmówki polsko-angielskie’ (2012/2016)

12.00-13.15 Lunch Break
13.15-14.15 Jörn Ahrens (Giessen, GER)

Why Documenting? The Quest for the Limits of Indexicality

14.30-16.15 PANEL SESSION 4
Chiao-I Tsen (Bremen, GER)
Merging Fact and Fiction: Graphic War Narratives, Persuasion and Narrative Immersion
Lukas R.A. Wilde (Tuebingen, GER)
Non-Fictional Comics as Historical Reenactment: Pictorial Representations of 9/11 beyond the Index
Philip Smith (Nassau, BHS)
Horst Rosenthal’s Holocaust Testimony
16.30-18.00 Meeting of the Comics Studies Working Group

Anmeldungen zur Tagung sind bis spätestens zum 10.02.2018 hier möglich.

Weitere Infos unter:

CfP: Graphic Realities: Comics as Documentary, History, and Journalism (22./23. Februar 2018, Gießen)

International Conference

22.-23.02.2018, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen/GCSC

Call For Papers: PDF Download

While comics have traditionally been associated with fictional, especially funny and/or fantastic stories, they have in recent decades become a major vehicle for nonfiction, as well. This development coincides with a time that has been described as ‘post-truth’, in which established news media face a crisis of confidence. The turn towards comics is a turn towards a medium, which inherently promotes simplification and exaggeration. Cartoon imagery thus immediately exhibits the subjectivity of the artist and her or his interpretation – but what could be considered a hindrance towards factual reporting has become an important resource. The overt display of subjectivity and medial limitations as a show of honesty has been described as an authentication strategy of graphic nonfiction. In contrast to formats based on camera-recorded images like photography and film nonfiction comics cannot lay claim to indexing premedial reality. Rather, individual graphic styles index their own creator who as witness becomes the main authenticator. Thus, comics shift the weight of authentication from medial prerequisites towards their authors and artists and thus the textual properties referencing them. One of the questions that will be discussed at the conference is thus the relation of inherent medial properties of comics as vehicle for nonfiction.

While among graphic nonfiction life writing in particular has received widespread scholarly attention, this conference will focus on recent approaches to comics as documentary, history, and journalism. As opposed to graphic memoirs in which authors reflect upon their own lives and experiences, these works focus on the lives and experiences of others. Thus, authors and artists need to do justice towards their subjects, as well as to their own experience and negotiate their own voices within their stories. This becomes especially relevant as a majority of graphic reportages centers around highly traumatizing crises and catastrophes, such as war, displacement, natural disasters, and oppression. The conference is intended to explore how authors and artists utilize the medium of comics for nonfiction and address these ‘graphic realities’.

Invited Speakers:

  • Prof. Dr. Jörn Ahrens (Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen)
  • Dr. Nina Mickwitz (University of the Arts London)
  • Prof. Dr. Dirk Vanderbeke (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena)
  • Prof. Dr. Wibke Weber (Züricher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften Winterthur)

Submission for talks should address one or more of the following questions:

  • How is the medium of comics employed for reportage, history writing, and to report on war, crises, and trauma?
  • Which narrative and aesthetic strategies do authors and artists employ to present and authenticate their comics as nonfiction?
  • How do the genres of ‘documentary’, ‘history’, and ‘journalism’ in comics relate to each other and how do they relate to other genres of graphic nonfiction such as ‘life-writing’ or educational formats?
  • Does the medium of comics inherently support nonfictionality, or does it depend on con- and paratexual framing practices?
  • How do different ‘transfer media’ such as comic books or webcomics affect the potential of comics for factual reporting?
  • How and to what extent is nonfictionality created through intermediality, especially with regard to more conventionally ‘factual’ media such as photography and film?
  • In how far do different comics traditions differ transnationally and -culturally with regard to their status as nonfiction?

Please submit your proposals (no longer than 300 words) for talks (20 min) and a short CV including your affiliation to until November 3rd, 2017.

The conference is organized as collaboration between the International Centre for the Study of Culture Giessen (GCSC) and the Comics Studies Working Group (AG Comicforschung) of the German Society for Media Studies (GfM) by Laura Schlichting (Justus-Liebig-University Giessen) and Johannes C. P. Schmid (University of Hamburg).

A membership in the Comics Studies Working Group is not mandatory for participation.

SAVE THE DATE: AG-Tagung 2018 in Kooperation mit dem GCSC (Gießen)

Tagung der AG Comicforschung in Kooperation mit dem Gießener
International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC)
22. – 23. Februar 2018, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

Folgende geladene Referent_innen haben ihre Teilnahme an der Tagung bereits zugesagt:

  • Prof. Dr. Jörn Ahrens (Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen)
  • Dr. Nina Mickwitz (University of the Arts London)
  • Prof. Dr. Dirk Vanderbeke (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena)
  • Prof. Dr. Wibke Weber (Züricher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften, Winterthur).

Ein entsprechender Call for Papers wird Anfang September 2017 veröffentlicht!

Organisator_innen: Laura Schlichting (Gießen) und Johannes C.P. Schmid (Hamburg)

Interdisziplinäre Zugänge der Animations- und Comicforschung (GfM 2017)

Workshop im Rahmen der Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Medienwissenschaft 2017
Thema: „Zugänge“, 04.10.-07.10. 2017, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg

Donnerstag, 05.10.2017 | 16:30 – 18:30 | Ort: PSG 015

Animation und Comic verbindet eine langjährige sowie anhaltende Beziehung der wechselseitigen Adaption und Inspiration. So sind beide Medien nicht nur durch ihre historische Korrelation miteinander verbunden. Auch ihre Materialität, Ästhetik sowie Medialität lassen zahlreiche Parallelen und Schnittstellen erkennen. Doch wie gehen Animations- und Comicforscher_innen aus unterschiedlichen Disziplinen mit ihren jeweiligen Untersuchungsgegenständen um? Welche analytischen Zugänge stehen ihnen zur Verfügung und wie lassen sich die Medien Comic und Animation mit ihnen betrachten?

Der gemeinsam von der AG Animation und AG Comicforschung ausgerichtete Workshop möchte diesen Fragen nachgehen und damit die interdisziplinäre Vernetzung und Kooperation beider Forschungsfelder ausbauen und festigen. Im Rahmen von sechs kurzen Impulsvorträgen sollen verschiedene analytische Zugänge zu Animation und Comics aus primär nicht-medienwissenschaftlichen Disziplinen vorgestellt und gemeinsam mit dem Plenum anhand von konkreten Beispielen diskutiert werden. Im Zentrum des Workshops steht damit sowohl der gemeinsame, interdisziplinäre Austausch als auch die zentrale Frage, welchen Erkenntnisgewinn der Rückgriff auf benachbarte Ansätze der Kunstgeschichte, der Tanz- und Musikwissenschaft, der Digital Humanities, der Gewaltforschung oder der Disability Studies ermöglicht und wie sich diese analytischen Zugänge in traditionelle Paradigmen medienwissenschaftlicher Forschung integrieren bzw. mit ihnen kombinieren lassen.

Moderation: Lukas R. A. Wilde (Tübingen)


Oliver Moisich (Paderborn): Comics und Digital Humanities
Jörn Ahrens (Gießen): Comics und Gewaltforschung
Véronique Sina (Tübingen): Comics und Disability Studies
Franziska Bork Petersen (Kopenhagen): Animation und Tanz‐/Theaterwissenschaft
Anja Ellenberger (Hamburg): Animation und Kunstgeschichte
Daniele Martella (Tübingen): Animation und Musikwissenschaft


Zu- und Übergänge des Comics (GfM 2017)

AG-Panel auf der Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Medienwissenschaft 2017
Thema: „Zugänge“, 04.10.-07.10. 2017, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg

Mittwoch, 04.10.2017 | 15:00 – 16:30 | Ort: Großer Hörsaal

Die mehrfache Adressierung, alternative Situierung und multimodale Zugänglichkeit des Comics hat sich immer wieder für die besondere Behandlung von Transversalität angeboten: Kulturelle, sprachliche und mediale Grenzen werden dann einerseits ebenso deutlich inszeniert wie andererseits kompensierend vermittelt. Das verzerrte Bild einer fremden Kultur wird zum Beispiel im Cartoon in seiner ganzen Verfremdung und vor dem Horizont seiner Subjektivität ausgestellt; zugleich aber wird etwa zur fremden Schriftsprache in einer Sprechblase durch die beigegebene Bildsequenz ein alternativer Zugang geboten.

Dazu tragen die mehrfachen Publika des Comics bei, der populär orientiert aber in Selbst- und Fremdzuschreibungen kulturell marginal verfährt und schon deshalb stets mit mehreren divergierenden Rezeptionen rechnet. Nicht weniger hat die transmediale Übersetzung aus traditionellen und in weitere moderne Formen an Übergängen und Vermittlungsleistungen Anteil; ebenso die transmediale Verknüpfung des Comics mit seiner regen Begleitkommunikation in Fankreisen, zumal in digitalen Archiven und Foren.

Das Panel der AG Comicforschung wird diesen multiplen Zugängen des Comics in ihrer Funktionalisierung für verschiedene inhaltliche und formale Übergänge anhand dreier vertiefender Lektüren nachgehen: zum Einsatz comicspezifischer Verfahren in der transkulturellen Vermittlung von Satrapis Persepolis; zur divergierenden impliziten und expliziten Rezeption jahrzehntealter populärer Serien mit ihrem Überschuss an potenzieller populärer Erinnerung; und zur kinematographischen Überführung von Comics in neue Formen, deren Reflexion zugleich einen besonderen Zugang zum veränderten Status der Kunstform in unserer Gegenwart bietet.

Moderation: Véronique Sina (Tübingen)

Maxim Nopper (Freiburg)

„Persepolis – Eine Geschichte von Übergängen: Transversalität und Liminalität“

Marjane Satrapis autobiografische Graphic Novel Persepolis handelt von Übergängen: vom Erwachsenwerden, von Migration, von Revolution und von Krieg. Persepolis spielt dabei gekonnt mit dem Entwerfen und Verwerfen von Identitätsentwürfen. Dichotome „schwarz-weiß“ Konstruktionen lösen sich regelmäßig in bunte Farbpaletten der Einzelschicksale auf. Auch das Werk selbst hat eine transnationale Geschichte: es erzählt vom Aufwachsen im postrevolutionären Iran, vom Krieg mit dem Irak und von der Auswanderung nach Österreichh – wurde aber aus der Perspektive einer in Frankreich lebenden Autorin geschrieben und richtet sich an ein breites mitteleuropäisches Publikum.

Anhand einer detaillierten Comicanalyse soll aufgezeigt werden, wie Satrapi ihr Spiel mit Identität durchführt und welche Rolle der transnationale Hintergrund für den Comic spielt. Dabei soll Persepolis in Verbindung gebracht werden mit Konzepten der Transidentität, Transnationalität und Liminalität. Somit soll geklärt werden, wie verschiedene Zugänge zu dem ungewöhnlichen Thema und zu den komplexen Strukturen geschaffen werden, oder genauer: wie Satrapi es schafft durch die Kombination der Erzählweisen von Comics und den autobiografischen sowie politischen Themen ein Publikum anzusprechen, das weit über Comicfans hinaus geht.

Stephan Packard (Freiburg/Köln)

„‚Das Panel war nicht für mich bestimmt.‘ Mehrfachadressierungen im populären Comic“

Populäre amerikanische Comics sind häufig mehrfach adressiert, insofern sie sich an Publika mit unterschiedlichen Vorkenntnissen richten.

Dazu zählen etwa Mainstream-Comics in dichten und rhizomatisch verstreuten Storyworlds, die extensiv Plotstränge, Charaktere, Ereignisse und Themen aus etlichen Jahrzehnten und verschiedenen Medien aufnehmen, aber dennoch für neue Leserinnen und Leser zugänglich sein wollen; Mehrfachcodierungen, bei denen etwa in der multimodalen Verdichtung chinesische Schriftzeichen oder Gesten der Gebärdensprache nur einigen unter vielen Leserinnen und Lesern zugänglich sein werden, obwohl auch den anderen die Lektüre gelingt; und Easter Eggs, die sich von vornherein als zufällige Entdeckungen anbieten, die bei der Lektüre auch ausbleiben können.

Anhand einiger einschlägiger Beispiele wird dieser Beitrag den kommunikativen Voraussetzungen und den Zielen dieser Verfahren nachgehen. Besondere Aufmerksamkeit gilt dem Zusammenspiel dieser Verfahren mit der besonderen Ästhetik verschränkter Sichtbarkeit und Sagbarkeit im Comic und der Begleitung der Produktion und Lektüre mit umfangreicher begleitender Kommunikation in digitalen Netzen.

Peter Vignold (Bochum)

„Aufbruch ins Silver Age – Das Marvel Cinematic Universe als Zugang zum Wandel in der Produktionspraxis zeitgenössischer Comicfilme“

Mit dem transmedial organisierten Marvel Cinematic Universe hat der um Superheld_innen zentrierte Comicfilm die Schwelle von episodischer Geschlossenheit hin zu offeneren Formen der Serialität, die sich an den Produktionsmodi von Comicheftserien während des sogenannten Silver Age of Comic Books orientieren, vollständig überschritten. Mit ihrer für Eventblockbuster vergleichsweise exzessiven Serialität haben die Filme der Marvel Studios nicht nur den Zugang zu einem neuen Produktionsmodus von serialisierten Comicfilmen eröffnet, sondern auch über die Grenzen des Comicfilms hinaus in den Köpfen der Film- und TV-Schaffenden das Phantasma der unbedingten Bankability von hyperseriell strukturierten Cinematic Universes installiert. Dieses und weitere Signale können als indikativ für den Übergang in ein „silbernes Zeitalters des Comicfilms“ betrachtet werden, das hier zur Diskussion gestellt und auf seine Bedeutung für die Verschränkung von Serialität, Medialität und Ökonomie im zeitgenössischen transmedia franchising hin befragt werden soll.

Cartoon Bodies and Graphic Sensuality (NECS 2017)

AG-Panel auf der NECS Conference 2017 “SENSIBILITY AND THE SENSES. Media, Bodies, Practices” (28.06.-01.07.2017), Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3

The problematic and free representation of bodies is at the core of comics’ aesthetics. The drawn and redrawn, figured and disfigured shape of the protagonist serves at once as the focal point of the subjective gaze, where the divided readers’ gaze re-enters the surface of the page as well as the depicted space of the storyworld, and as the fulcrum of issues of ethnic, racial, abled and disabled, fantastic and physiognomic representation. The unreality of these bodies is both the contact to and the departure from the comical element that names the art form. In the freedom of the pen tracing these bodies that forces a deliberate decision for every contour, the comics diverge from the photographic disposition of cinema: This has defined the potential and the specificity of their constant reflective, parodistic, and critical position vis à vis the dominant imagery of their times’ popular media.

This panel combines four approaches to re-examine this idiosyncratic graphic sensuality: Ranging from the ambiguously emancipatory and racist traditions of physiognomically deformed bodies in the early 20th century, through their redrawing in the genre-defining art of underground comix and the political implications of their mutual naturalization and denaturalization in mainstream comics, to the yet innovative re-distribution of depicted and elicited agency in digital comics, these contributions are posed to focus the discussion of this aesthetic ambivalence and promise through four concrete analyses.

Chair: Erwin Feyersinger (Tübingen)

Interfacing (Digital) Comics: The Distribution and Negotiation of Agency and Control

Lukas R.A. Wilde (Tübingen)

The debates about what material, semiotic or cultural aspects might be sufficient to qualify a given medial configuration as a ‘comic’ have proven difficult if not impossible to resolve (Wilde 2015). Taking the digitalization of comics as a starting point (‘digital native’ webcomics as well as comics-distribution via platforms and reading technologies such as ComiXology), my talk discusses the relevance of corporeal and bodily aspects of comics’ mediality. On the one hand, comics have been considered ‘the medium most resilient to digitalization’ (Gardner 2014, 207), maybe because they maintain the appearance of something hand-made: ‘even as digitized production techniques have become widely available, many comics still take their shape and form through the visible slant of the creator’s hand’ (Stein 2015, 425; Gardner 2011; Mitchell 2014, 260).

On the other hand, a special relation to the recipient’s agency seems necessary to distinguish digital comics from animated films or browser games (Dittmar 2012; Smith 2015). Comics are control: ‘In reading, the reader controls the rate at which information is absorbed … this is what separates comics from film’ (Goodbrey 2013, 195). My talk aims to relate these questions to the media theoretical concept of the ‘interface’. In ‘digital only’-works such as Guardians of the Galaxy (Bendis/Oeming 2013), The Empty Kingdom (Goodbrey 2014) or To Be Continued (Ghetti/Trimarchi 2014), the design of changing user interfaces is essential to the narrative experience. Understood not so much as a technology, however, but rather as a relation to and between media, materiality or technology (Hookway 2014; Hadler/Haupt 2016), the ‘interface’ points to the distribution of agency, maybe even to the production of a special kind of subjectivity. It is thus possible to ask in how far the distribution and negotiation of corporal control and agency between producers and recipients (Nichols 2015) is central to our understanding of comics’ mediality in general.

Seeing fragmented Bodies – Towards an inherent political quality of comic books

Markus Engelns (Duisburg-Essen)

Grant Morrison’s and Frank Quitely’s three issue comic book WE3 tells the story of a dog, a cat and a rabbit who have been turned into heavily armed and deadly cyborgs by scientists and who make their violent escape from a secret military laboratory. On the surface, the narration seems to focus on a simple plot about returning these animals to their ‘normal’ state in nature. But a closer examination reveals that the comic deals with the unfulfillable desire for a nature purified from cultural influences. In his widely-read essay Nous n’avons jamais été modernes [We have never been modern] (1991), Bruno Latour argues that the main problem of modernity is the hidden amalgamation of political and scientific representation while simultaneously separating them in public. A close reading of WE3 emphasises comic books as a perfect media structure for construing and undermining this constitution of modernity. In particular, this talk will expose three inherent practices of purification and hybridization between the two chambers of nature and culture: First, single panels separate elements of space, of narration and, moreover, the two chambers. Second, the bodies of the protagonists act in these separated panels ‒ so it is possible to overwrite them with different natural or cultural meanings, even though they are integrated in one character. Therefore, the body is the pivotal element of purification and hybridization. Third, Morrison and Quitely install the process of seeing as a device, which fragments and hides the shown bodies and their surroundings ‒ so there is no possibility to show an unfiltered and objective truth. My talk will describe these practices as an inherent way for comics to create a certain tension between purification and hybridization as well as a desire to see the whole (truth, story, room, system, etc.) and the desire to organize these overwhelming and complex arrangements.

‘Striking Our Time in Its Face’: The Implausibly Denied Aggression of Caricature in Cartoons Focused Through Karl Kraus’ Battles with the Genre

Stephan Packard (Freiburg/Köln)

The political and racist tradition of deformed, ‘simplified and amplified’ (McCloud 1994; Packard 2008) physiognomies in cartoonish drawings and animation is at once strongly laden with an inimical gaze upon the depicted corporeality, and yet may deny that heritage in genres such as the silly cartoon, the funny illustration, and the serious comic narrative (Gray 2004; Frahm 2010). The aggression that political caricature has routinely employed since the 19th century appears deferred in styles that repeat these deformations as a matter of course rather than as material content. Hence, the tension implied in the very ascription of the non-comical comic book can either reveal or ideologically displace a consciousness of the aggressive recognition that lies at caricature’s heart and is seemingly turned into a generalized semiotic code in the cartoon.

Karl Kraus exposed the ambivalence of this disposition in the guileful affected innocence with which he criticized caricatures of and against his own countenance for objectively differing from photographic depictions of his face, which can only be fully understood in the course of a broader re-evaluation of the treatment of pictorial body depictions in Kraus’ journal Die Fackel. This talk will take its cue from Kraus’ polemic engagement with these drawings’ thinly veiled antisemitism and their unadmitted political leanings. Tracing the continuity of such polemics through the fundamental mésentente of a modern aesthetic regime coupling politics and art (Rancière 1995), it will re-examine the treatment of the cartoon in comics’ and caricatures’ aesthetics through several problematic instances and ask what additional analytical instruments might be gained from a perspective that takes this embattlement seriously.


If only I’d had a nose job’ – Representations of the Gendered Jewish Body in the Works of Aline Kominsky Crumb

Véronique Sina (Tübingen)

Paying particular attention to the aspect of gender, my talk explores the relationship between media, bodies and the construction of cultural identity in the comics of Jewish-American underground cartoonist Aline Kominsky Crumb. In her comic Nose Job (1989), Kominsky Crumb describes how she grew up on Long Island in the early 1960s ‘with cosmetic surgery all around’ her and asks herself how it comes that ‘boys get to keep their noses’ while imagining how she may have looked if only she had had a nose job like most of her female teenage peers. In doing so, the cartoonist does not only point out how the ‘Jewish nose’ is stereotypically perceived and believed to be a defining (bodily) feature as well as a marker of Jewish identity. She also addresses the central role of the body for the representation and cultural construction of Jewish women, showing that ‘the Jewish body is always inevitably a gendered body’ (Oksman 2010, 213).

Drawing on Nose Job as well as on other examples of Kominsky Crumb’s graphic work (some of which she produced with her husband Robert Crumb), the paper will discuss how the cartoonist uses the media of comics and its specific modes of (visual) representation to reflect, irritate and undermine bodily gendered codes of Jewish identity. Moreover, the paper will also deal with representations of the cartoon body in respect to questions of morality and taste as the taboo-breaking work of Kominsky Crumb has often been referred to as sexist, pornographic, provocative, primitive, uncivilized and self-loathing (Chute 2010; Clementi 2013; Oksman 2016).

Tagungsberichte zum 3. Workshop der AG Comicforschung

Für das Online-Magazin der Gesellschaft für Comicforschung hat Julia Ingold einen ausführlichen Bericht zum AG-Workshop „Formen der Selbstreflexivität im Medium Comic“ verfasst, welcher vom 2.-3. März 2017 an der Universität zu Köln sttatgefunden hat.

Der Bericht ist online unter folgendem Link abrufbar:

Bei Comics Forum ist zudem ein von Laura Schlichting und Markus Streb verfasster englischsprachiger Bericht erschienen.

Der Workshop-Bericht ist unter folgendem Link einsehbar:

Tagungsberichte „Zur Ästhetik des Gemachten in Animation und Comic“

Für die Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft (ZfM) hat Vanessa Ossa einen Tagungsbericht zum Symposium „Zur Ästhetik des Gemachten in Animation und Comic“ (9.-11.11.2016, Schloss Herrenhausen Hannover) verfasst. Ein englischsprachiger Bericht von Sebastian Bartosch ist zudem in der März-Ausgabe von animation: an interdisciplinary journal [vol. 12 (1), 100-104] erschienen. Weiterlesen Tagungsberichte „Zur Ästhetik des Gemachten in Animation und Comic“