Comics and Graphic Novels in a Transnational Perspective

(Panel)


German / Comparative Literature

Julia Ludewig (Allegheny College)

National literatures are not isolated from artistic production in other areas of the world, and graphic narratives are no exception. Either directly through personal relations (transnational artist collectives, teacher-student influences) or through indirect intertextual correspondence (“trends”), graphic narratives register developments beyond their national borders. Books like Stein, Denson, and Meyer’s Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives as well as recent transnational comic panels and conferences testify to an emerging scholarly interest in this field. German graphic narratives, however, are underrepresented within these comparisons.

This panel presents comparative case studies of comics or graphic novels with at least one German-language example. The comparisons can focus on various aspects of the works such as a common genre (e.g. memoir; steam-punk; manga), a common theme (e.g. immigration, women‘s representation, history), as well as formal elements (e.g. wordless graphic art; drawing styles). Possible lines of inquiry include, but are not limited to the following questions:

- How are these works similar or different and which role does language and nationality play in explaining these?

- In which ways did and do German-language comic artists partake in a transnational dialogue? Is there something specific to the way German-language artists have engaged with other national productions or vice versa?

- How do the comparisons question the alignment of language and nationality in the first place?

- How easily can we compare graphic novels from different national backgrounds?

- Which models of intertextuality do the given works support or complicate?

- How valuable is the distinction between transnationalism vs. internationalism (or other alternatives to mono-nationality)?

The panel is intended to add to a growing body of inquiries that explore how transnational perspectives enrich comic studies, particularly in German Studies. It surveys the existing body of artifacts and traces the influences, but also differences between sequential narratives in the German-speaking world and elsewhere.

This panel looks at German-language comics and graphic novels within a transnational framework. It welcomes papers that consider transnational comparisons of, for example, the same genre category, similar themes, or narrative techniques. It seeks to illuminate differences and similarities in the chosen works with specific regard to their linguistic and/or national characteristics.