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The Editors

We are honored and delighted that our journal has won a prestigious “Prose”award for being 2008’s Best New Journal in the Social Sciences and Humanities, an award given by the Association of American Publisher’s Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division. Humility is in order and we will try to find time for it in a later issue of the journal.We are fortunate to have an involved and talented editorial board and submissions from top writers and scholars. All of us are committed to the subject of movies and mind because it opens so many doors for our understanding of art and science, the mind and brain, ourselves and others.

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The Editors

This is the second issue of Aspasia. The inaugural volume, focussing on Central, Eastern and Southeastern European feminisms, was published in 2007. As editors, we are proud of the breath and richness of the essays and Forum contributions in that first issue. We hope this volume lives up to the standard of excellence set by the premier volume.

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The Editors

We at Projections have stated our purpose as being to ‘facilitate a dialogue between people in the humanities and the sciences’ (not a modest goal for a little journal first making its way in the world). We have intended to do this through what seems to us the medium that best synthesises art and technology and opens itself up to scientific investigation because of its complex perceptual nature—film. Our focus, at the same time, has been on the mind/brain, since that seems to us the place were science and film best meet.

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Editorial

Historical Perspectives – Theory and Practices

The Editors

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Introduction

Diversity and New Directions

The Editors

Future directions are often shaped by quirks of necessity or chance: the groundbreaking iconoclast that is Moebius’s Garage hermétique, with its rejection of conventional narrative or character coherence, came as a result of the author having forgotten previous scripts from one week to the next; Rodolphe Töpffer, so often credited for having invented the modern comic strip, initially saw himself as producing no more than scribblings for the entertainment of his pupils; one of the earliest of text/image forms, the emblem, may well be the result of Augsburg printer, Heinrich Steiner, adding images in 1531 to Andrea Alciato’s epigrams, a far cry from the composed intertwining of Francesco Colonna’s Hypnerotomachia Poliphili of 1499. Mirroring such processes in our own way, European Comic Art is embarking on a new direction, as we turn to issues that can reflect the diversity of comic art rather than being necessarily united by a single theme. It is a logical direction, but also one shaped by chance and necessity, that of the diversity of high-quality submissions that we have been delighted to receive.

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Introduction

Caricature

The Editors

The history of European comic art is closely intertwined with that of caricature. The comic books by Swiss cartoonist Rodolphe Töpffer – his romans en estampes [‘novels in engravings’] – which are foundational to the medium, are essentially extended caricatures of social types (they have been called romans en caricatures [‘caricature novels’]): the limited but common-sensical father (Crépin); the flighty naturalist (Vieux Bois); the domineering financée (Elvire); the prodigal son and revolutionary (Albert); the bumbling, pretentious social climber (Jabot); etc. Together these constitute a continuation, in bande dessinée, of the passing portraits with which he scatters his Voyages en zigzig (1832 onwards). The latter in turn follow the tradition of Thomas Rowlandson’s The Tour of Doctor Syntax (1812, in French from 1821), which is linked to the ‘narrative series’ of engravings by William Hogarth, for whom Töpffer professed great admiration (Töpffer’s own father also drew caricatures). They have all been traced back to Charles Le Brun’s Méthode pour apprendre à dessiner les passions [‘Method for Learning to Draw the Passions’], first published in 1702, in which the artist explores the way physical appearance can depict interior morality.

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The Editors

Among the many new books on comic strips published in the past year one of the most provocative has been Nicolas Rouvière’s Astérix ou la parodie des identités [‘Asterix or the Parody of Identities’].1 Rouvière provides a fascinating analysis of questions of national identity in René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo’s famous series of albums. Grosso modo, he suggests that the strips undermine hard nationalist prejudices, to create universal understanding between peoples. Rouvière contends that the Astérix series encourages the French to question the myths of their own national identity, and satirises their stereotyping of their neighbours (the French image of the British, the Belgians, the Swiss, etc.). He concludes that Astérix runs counter to a world based on the ‘clash of civilisations’ model famously employed by Samuel Huntington.

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The Editors

The modest landmark of the fifth edition of European Comic Art (ECA) entitles us to a mini-retrospective: thus far, we have devoted the journal to explorations of comic art as: innovatory medium in relation to form and subject matter (1.1); expression of national identities (1.2); associated with the development of caricature (2.1); part of a text/image current that underwent significant development in the nineteenth century (2.2). We now move on, in 3.1, to consider the internal workings of comics as an art form, and in particular the question of narration, by means of both theoretical overview and detailed examination of works that display the narrative resources of the medium in striking ways. From their earliest days, comics have been an inexhaustible source of narrative invention, as a deceptively simple mechanism – based on discontinuous frames and on interplay between text and image – has been manipulated to dazzling creative effect. The virtuosity and metanarrative awareness of practitioners, from Rodolphe Töpffer to Marc-Antoine Mathieu, have challenged critics to find theoretical discourses capable of accounting for the complexity and subtlety of comics as a narrative art form. This issue of ECA aims to take the debate forward.

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Introduction

Comics, the Social World and Challenging Consensus

The Editors

Comics, and in particular European comics, has always engaged with the social world, whether to contest or to uphold its norms. From its antecedents in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century caricature, it inherited a strong current of satire and critique. In the adventure genre that marked the emergence of European comics in its modern form in the first part of the twentieth century, engagement with the world was no less evident, but most often served, rather, to defend the dominant order, colonial or anti-communist, as heroes set off to right wrongs in far-flung places.

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Editorial

Perspectives on Authors, Perspectives from Authors

The Editors

Creation and criticism, in comics, as in all types of artistic expression, become intertwined, and all the more so as the form develops self-awareness and seeks defi nition. One of the main precursors of the tradition of graphic storytelling, William Hogarth (1697–1764), told of the social tribulations of the London in which he lived via multi-image series such as A Rake’s Progress (c. 1735) and A Harlot’s Progress (c. 1732), but was also known for his Analysis of Beauty (1753), in which he elaborates the notion of the central S shape as key to the visual expression of attractiveness; this serpentine ‘line of beauty’ can still be detected in the characters of comic books today.