The brutal police repression of the demonstration of 17 October 1961
stands as a stark reminder of the violence of French colonialism. A continuing
official reluctance to acknowledge these traumatic events has led individuals and
groups to seek alternative routes for recognition. This article explores one of these
alternative routes: the comic book, and specifically Octobre Noir, a collaboration
between writer Didier Daeninckx and graphic artist Mako. By analyzing the
reframing of 17 October 1961 within the comic form, this article argues that Octobre
noir offers a site for interrogating the relationship between history and memory.
This is achieved by exchanging a cultural narrative of police brutality and
Algerian victimization for a narrative of legitimate protest and Algerian political
agency. Octobre noir exemplifies the value of the comic book as a vector of
memory able to represent the past in ways that enrich historical analysis and
inter disciplinary debate.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.