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Rethinking the ‘Memorable Panel’ from Pierre Sterckx to Olivier Josso Hamel

Benoît Crucifix


This article returns to the origins of the case mémorable in the pages of Les Cahiers de la bande dessinée and revisits the debates between Pierre Sterckx and Benoît Peeters over the relationship between single panels and narrative, which were articulated around a conceptual tension between linear and tabular. It proposes that the concept of the ‘memorable panel’ pinpoints important issues concerning the recirculation of single images, isolated from their contexts, and the discourse of memory that becomes associated with them. A close reading of Olivier Josso Hamel’s Au travail, in which the cartoonist redraws his own set of memorable panels, further calls for a reconsideration of Sterckx’s concept in the light of a creative practice that intimately engages with the memory of such panels in a complex relationship to their original narratives.

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The Medium Is the Message

Olivier Schrauwen’s Arsène Schrauwen beyond Expectations of Autobiography, Colonial History and the Graphic Novel

Benoît Crucifix and Gert Meesters


This article proposes a close reading of Olivier Schrauwen’s Arsène Schrauwen, focusing on the various cultural discourses that it engages with, and particularly its ironical self-positioning within the field of comics. First of all, Schrauwen playfully questions the entrenchment of autobiography in the contemporary graphic novel by presenting a wholly fantasised adventure as biographical family history. This play with generic expectations is continued through Schrauwen’s reliance on the tropes of the adventure story and its figuration of the voyage. Arsène Schrauwen also draws on stereotypical images of both Belgium and the Belgian Congo and integrates them into a grotesque narrative so as to question the supposed unicity of the individual and colonial bodies. Last but not least, the book displays a highly self-reflexive approach to comics storytelling, building on a legacy from Flemish comics in order to play with reading conventions, graphic enunciation and abstraction, thereby thematising the perception of the main character.

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Book Reviews

Fransiska Louwagie and Benoît Crucifix

Ewa Stańczyk, ed., Comic Books, Graphic Novels and the Holocaust: Beyond Maus. (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2020). 142 pp. ISBN: 9780367585921 (£29.59)

Vittorio Frigerio, Bande dessinée et littérature: Intersections, fascinations, divergences (Macerata: Quodlibet, 2018). 96 pp. ISBN: 9788822902573 (€10.00)