The preparation of European Comic Art 8(1) has been overshadowed by the shocking and tragic murder of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists Cabu, Charb, Honoré, Tignous and Wolinski on 7 January 2015. As a way of memorialising these artists, we have invited Jane Weston Vauclair to contribute an article to this issue, assessing the significance of the magazine in the history and current state of French social and political satire. Indeed, beyond doubt is the iconic status of Charlie Hebdo as representing a distinctively French, but known to an international readership, tradition of disrespect for the sacred and the hypocritical, and for beaufitude in all its forms. However, the very untranslatability of that term, invented by Cabu, suggests that comic art, and perhaps satire in particular, may not always travel easily across borders. Mark McKinney has argued in his blog post on the Berghahn Books website2 that the meanings of the Charlie cartoons are far from transparent and universally readable, but have to be understood within a particular cultural and political context and reference system.
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