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The Great War in Comics

Workings and Imagery

Maaheen Ahmed

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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Instrumentalising Media Memories

The Second World War According to Achtung Zelig!

Maaheen Ahmed

Krzysztof Gawronkiewicz and Krystian Rosenberg’s Achtung Zelig! recounts an unabashedly absurd story about the Second World War, involving an encounter between a Nazi commander who was a former clown and a Jewish father and son with monstrous faces. To understand the construction and function of the Polish comic’s narration of the war, this article introduces the concept of media memories. Such memories encompass techniques and works that ‘haunt’ cultural productions. Achtung Zelig! interweaves key media and contexts, layering its story through the media memories of carnivals, comics (e.g. Maus) and films (e.g. The Great Dictator). In instrumentalising media memories, the comic engages in a heavily mediated dialogue with the issue of representing traumatic realities.

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David Kunzle, Paul M. Malone, Marco Pellitteri, Anne Cirella-Urrutia, Maaheen Ahmed, Catriona MacLeod and Carolin Kirchhoff

BOOK REVIEWS

Thierry Groensteen, M. Töpffer invente la bande dessinée

Ole Frahm, Die Sprache des Comics [The Language of the Comic]

Daniela Petrini, ed., Die Sprache(n) der Comics: Kollokium in Heidelberg, 16.–17. Juni 2009 [The Language(s) of Comics: A Symposium Held in Heidelberg, 16–17 June 2009]

Hannah Miodrag, Comics and Language: Reimagining Critical Discourse on the Form

Ian Hague, Comics and the Senses: A Multisensory Approach to Comics and Graphic Novels

EXHIBITION REVIEW

Albums: Bande dessinée et immigration, 1913–2013, Musée de l'histoire de l'immigration, Paris, 16 October 2013 to 27 April 2014 Catriona MacLeod

CONFERENCE REVIEW

Graphisches Erzählen: Neue Perspektiven auf Literaturcomics Graphic Storytelling: New Perspectives on Literature and Comics], University of Düsseldorf, Germany, 5–7 March 2014 Carolin Kirchhoff