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The Frontier and the Affrontier

French-Language Algerian Comics and Cartoons Confront the Nation

Mark McKinney

Algerian and Algerian-French cartoonists have often thematised national identity in their art. Their interest in this subject has created problems for them when they have crossed the 'affrontier', a line of demarcation whose nature and place have been determined to a considerable degree by the military regime. The analysis of some of its key dimensions - political, religious, spatial, historical and symbolic - allows us to understand how it operates. By studying striking examples of cartoons and comics, their production and consumption, we can come to an understanding of how the affrontier has functioned since 1962, when Algeria gained its independence. The year 1988, when the Algerian regime killed and tortured hundreds of young rioters, stands out as a watershed, because cartoonists then began to redefine their relationship to the military regime, the nation and the affrontier.

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Mark McKinney and Catriona MacLeod

Michel Porret, ed., Objectif bulles: Bande dessinée et histoire [‘Destination Balloons: Comics and History’]

Philippe Delisle, Bande dessinée franco-belge et imaginaire colonial: Des Années 1930 aux années 1980 [‘Franco-Belgian bande dessinée and the Colonial Imaginary: From 1930 to the 1980s’]

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Mark McKinney and Farid Boudjellal

Farid Boudjellal (b. 1953), a French cartoonist of Algerian and Armenian heritage, outlines his approach to comics. He discusses important inspirations and influences, including cartoonists from France (Gébé), Italy (Hugo Pratt) and the United States (Milton Caniff). He speaks of themes that are important to his work, especially temporality, a multiplicity of characters, dreams and fantasy. Boudjellal also distinguishes his comics from autobiography, a genre that he shuns, and critiques the sociological reductionism often found in the critical reception of his comics. He discusses his artistic techniques, including black-and-white line drawing, watercolor, and interconnected speech balloons. His interview provides an overview of his career and his ongoing projects in comics, which he situates against the general evolution of comics in France from the 1960s up to the present.

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Ekaterina Tikhonyuk and Mark McKinney

John Etty, Graphic Satire in the Soviet Union: Krokodil’s Political Cartoons (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2019). 276 pp. ISBN: 978-1496821089 ($30)

Livio Belloï and Fabrice Leroy, Pierre La Police: Une esthétique de la malfaçon (Paris: Serious Publishing, 2019). 200 pp. ISBN: 9782363200266 (30€)

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Mark McKinney and Hervé (Baru) Baruleau

This is the second portion of an interview with Hervé Barulea, or Baru, one of the most accomplished French cartoonists living today, conducted at his home in France on 15 July 2011. The first part of the interview was published in European Comic Art 4.1 (fall 2011), 213-237. Baru talks here about a broad range of important topics, including autobiography, the roles of work and leisure in his comics, boxing (his focus in two comics), the society of the spectacle, representations of women and minorities in comics, the heritage of classic French and Belgian comics (series such as Tintin, Yves-le-Loup ['Ivan-the-Wolf'] and Spirou) and the clear-line drawing style, experimentation by Oubapo, space, his drawing style and techniques for making comics, his current and future projects, his former teaching position in the Ecole des beaux-arts in Nancy, and the relationship of comics to fine art.

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Mark McKinney and Hervé (Baru) Barulea

Hervé Barulea (b. 1947), known as Baru, is a French cartoonist of Italian and Breton heritage, who has spent much of his life in the metalworking region around Nancy, in northeastern France, his birthplace. He outlines his approach to comics, beginning with his vision of comics as essentially being images that speak to primal human urges. He finds this kind of imagery today mainly in American movies and novels, but not so much in American comics. He describes his tenure as president of the Festival International de la Bande Dessinée ['International Festival of Comics'] in Angoulême in January 2011, after having won the grand prize for his career's work in comics at the same festival in 2010. Baru then speaks of his approach to history and current events in his comics. He outlines how he has depicted immigrants of European and African heritage in his comics, and then explains why he has often returned to the Algerian War. Baru ends this first half of the interview by describing his views of the French Communist Party, and explaining his critical depiction of it in Les années Spoutnik ['The Spoutnik Years'].

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Ann Miller, Catherine Labio, Mark McKinney, and Laurence Grove

BOOK REVIEWS

Benoît Peeters, Lire Tintin: Les Bijoux ravis [‘Reading Tintin: The Stolen Jewels’] (Brussels: Les Impressions Nouvelles, 2007). 287 pp., ISBN 978-2-87449-037-8 (€20.00)

Bart Beaty, Unpopular Culture: Transforming the European Comic Book in the 1990s (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007). ix+303 pp.; cloth: ISBN 978-0-8020-9133-9 (US $65, £42); paper: ISBN 978-0-8020-9412-4 (US $30.95; £20)

David Kunzle, Father of the Comic Strip: Rodolphe Töpffer (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2007). xii +207 pp. ISBN: 978-1-57806-948-4 (paperback, $25.00)

Rodolphe Töpffer, Rodolphe Töpffer: The Complete Comic Strips, compiled, translated and annotated by David Kunzle (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2007). xv + 650 pp. ISBN: 978-1-57806-946-0 (hardback, $65.00)

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David Miranda-Barreiro, Michelle Herte, Joe Sutliff Sanders, and Mark McKinney

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J. Gavin Paul, Caroline Rossiter, Ann Miller, and Mark McKinney

BOOK REVIEWS

Pierre Assouline, Hergé: The Man Who Created Tintin, trans. Charles Ruas

Jean-Marie Apostolidès, The Metamorphoses of Tintin, or, Tintin for Adults

Stephen E. Tabachnick, ed., Teaching the Graphic Novel

Philippe Delisle, Spirou, Tintin et Cie, une littérature catholique? Années 1930 / Années 1980 [‘Spirou, Tintin and Company, a Catholic Literature? 1930s / 1980s’]

EXHIBITION REVIEW

Archi & BD, La ville dessinée, an exhibition on view at the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, Paris, from 9 June, 2010 to 28 November, 2010.

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Mark McKinney, Jennifer Howell, Ross William Smith, and David Miranda Barreiro

David Kunzle, Cham: The Best Comic Strips and Graphic Novelettes, 1839–1862 (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2019). 566 pp. ISBN: 978-1-4968-1618-4 ($90)

Tatiana Prorokova and Nimrod Tal, eds, Cultures of War in Graphic Novels: Violence, Trauma, and Memory (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2018). 237 pp. ISBN: 978-0-8135-9095-0 ($29.95)

Stephen E. Tabachnick, ed., The Cambridge Companion to The Graphic Novel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017). 244 pp. ISBN: 978-1-107-51971-8 (£21.99)

Louie Dean Valencia-García, Antiauthoritarian Youth Culture in Francoist Spain: Clashing with Fascism (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018). 248 pp. ISBN: 978-1-350-03847-9 ($114)