Instrumentalising Media Memories

The Second World War According to Achtung Zelig!

in European Comic Art

Krzysztof Gawronkiewicz and Krystian Rosenberg’s Achtung Zelig! recounts an unabashedly absurd story about the Second World War, involving an encounter between a Nazi commander who was a former clown and a Jewish father and son with monstrous faces. To understand the construction and function of the Polish comic’s narration of the war, this article introduces the concept of media memories. Such memories encompass techniques and works that ‘haunt’ cultural productions. Achtung Zelig! interweaves key media and contexts, layering its story through the media memories of carnivals, comics (e.g. Maus) and films (e.g. The Great Dictator). In instrumentalising media memories, the comic engages in a heavily mediated dialogue with the issue of representing traumatic realities.

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