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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

As we launch this journal, we think of the scene in Citizen Kane when Orson Welles, as the young Kane, reads the “Declarations of Principle” he has just written for his newspaper The New York Daily Enquirer. We do not claim the same aims—nor anticipate the same future—but we feel something of the same excitement. Journals are not easy to get started, but this one came into being in a short amount of time after we conceived its goals. A number of very fine journals are already published on film, but none, we feel, puts film (and the visual arts in general) into the dynamic and developing intellectual current of our time.

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The Editors

As we complete our second year of publication, we notice how international our journal has become. We now receive submissions and publish writing from France, Italy, England, Scotland, Israel, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Australia, and the United States. We imagine that this list will continue to grow because of the ubiquitous nature of both film and the disciplines we bring to bear on the subject of the motion picture. This internationalism is made possible by new technologies in communication, and also by the continuing internationalism of the English language. Film has been the most international of art forms since its origins and it seems only fitting that film studies should be a joint collaboration of writers from around the globe.

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The Editors

Our journal did not come into the world with authority and certainty but did so, instead, with some hesitation and tentativeness. The narrator of Jonathan Swift’s eighteenth-century satire on modern learning, A Tale of a Tub (1704) claims for himself “an absolute authority in right” as the “last writer” and “freshest modern.” We make no such claim. At this point we may be both new and fresh, but we need to feel our way, to discover what is out there and what we might realistically expect to come into our own purview. But tentativeness is good. It allows us to be responsive to a variety of articles so long as they satisfy our goal of exploring film and mind. Tentativeness also allows us a sustained and continuing debate.

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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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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

As preparations get under way for the celebration, in 2009, of the eightieth anniversary of Tintin and the fiftieth of Astérix, it seems strange that, until now, there has been no journal in English dedicated to European comic art. In France recent Astérix albums have outsold Harry Potter and The Da Vinci Code put together. The movie Astérix aux jeux olympiques [‘Asterix at the Olympic Games’], released on 13 January 2008, is one of the two most expensive French film productions of all time (with Le Cinquième élément [‘The Fifth Element’], on which cartoonists Jean Giraud and Jean-Claude Mézières collaborated), and has topped box office charts in Spain. Like Astérix in Paris, Belgian Schtroumpfs [‘Smurfs’] have their own theme park, and Italy’s Corto Maltese is popular enough to appear on scratchcards, Swatch watches and TV programmes across Europe.

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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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Introduction

The Nineteenth Century and Beyond

The Editors

If comic art were to have its equivalent of the Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes [‘Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns’], it would be the polemic that developed in 1996 as an ‘add-on’ to the centenary celebrations of the invention of cinema of a year earlier. Following the assertion that the first comic strip was R. F. Outcault’s Yellow Kid of 1896, French reaction was indignant. Speaking at a high-profile conference in Angoulême, Yves Frémion, media personality and Euro-politician, made a lengthy tongue-in-cheek attack on perceived American usurping of credit for key cultural creations (cinema, science-fiction, bluejeans, AIDS, the Olympics…) before arriving at the following conclusion: Il me revient l’honneur, en commençant ce colloque, d’orienter le débat clairement pour éviter qu’il ne dévie vers un résultat mitigé, et pour que cette imposture soit démasquée sans ambiguïté. En réalité, tout ce que nous pouvons fêter cette année, c’est le cent-cinquantenaire de la mort de l’inventeur de la BD, Rodolphe Töpffer. (6) [In opening this conference I have the honour of setting the debate clearly in the right direction so as to avoid it going off on a dubious tangent, and in order for such impostures to be well and truly outed. In truth, all that is to be celebrated this year is the 150th anniversary of the death of the inventor of the BD, Rodolphe Töpffer.]

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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.