The Great War in Comics

Workings and Imagery

in European Comic Art

Within Europe and beyond, the centenary of the Great War began to be commemorated in 2014. As with any act of retelling history and re-creating memories, the events orchestrated around this centenary involve a certain tailoring of narratives and a process of forgetting that reflects more on the present milieu than the past. As noted by the sociologist and philosopher Elena Esposito, recent neurophysiological findings posit memory ‘as a procedural capability realizing a constant recategorisation’. Especially relevant for this issue of European Comic Art is her claim that the memory of society as a whole ‘is constituted, first of all, by the mass media and ruled by their always changing forms’. As emphasised by the articles in this issue, popular media during and after the First World War (music hall, illustrated magazines, comics, cartoons, pulps) were propagators of images that have persisted, often with altered significance, into our times.

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