International Journal of Comic Art blog

News about the premier academic journal devoted to all aspects of cartooning and comics -- the International Journal of Comic Art (ISSN 1531-6793) published and edited by John Lent.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Exhibit Review: Beano: The Art Of Breaking The Rules

 Beano: The Art Of Breaking The Rules. Andy Holden. London: Somerset House, October 21, 2021-March 6, 2022. https://www.somersethouse.org.uk/whats-on/beano-art-of-breaking-the-rules

Reviewed by Mark Hibbett

There are two separate exhibitions happening at once in Somerset House's Beano: The Art Of Breaking The Rules, one of which is significantly more successful than the other.

The first is a fascinating retrospective of Beano strips going all the way back to the comic's beginnings in 1938, with original artwork sitting next to vintage comics. The curator, Andy Holden, has done a great job of bringing together rarely-seen originals that still fizz with life decades later. The work of established greats like Leo Baxendale and Dudley Watkins sing with excitement, and Jim Petrie's Minnie The Minx similarly bursts from the pages, even when those pages are browned with age. Seeing the work up close like this is a real thrill, especially when you notice margin notes such as the conversation between Leo Baxendale and his wife about the need to get the page inked and round to DC Thomson offices by the next day.

Throughout the show the original artwork is treated with respect, with artists properly credited and captions which tell the story of how The Beano became such an entrenched part of British life. The discussion on how a "slap-up feast" came to be such a constant of the comic during wartime was especially illuminating, and anyone who has ever been a child in the UK is bound to get a few rushes of nostalgic joy. For me it was seeing original cover art for Plug, a comic I've not thought about for at least 40 years, and the sight of those much-coveted Dennis and Gnasher fan club badges and "smart wallet."

It's also surprisingly funny. Like many, I gave up on The Beano as a surly twelve-year old ready for the more "grown-up" delights of Marvel and 2000 AD, and so was surprised by how many times I laughed out loud. There's a cheeky, mildly subversive sense of humour that is highlighted throughout, in the showcased strips as well as other parts of the exhibition. Favorites here were a handwritten letter to the editor from 1948 ("Will you please stop Lord Snooty") and the caption for a Banksy screen print which says "Banksy declined to be in the show but we ... included him anyway, because Dennis and his pals never accept an authoritative 'no’."

The second exhibition could have done with a lot more of this sort of attitude. As with the Good Grief Charlie Brown show in 2018, Somerset House does not seem to be confident enough to do an exhibition just about comics, and has to drag in some “Proper Art” as well. There are some commissioned works which in theory are responses to The Beano, but mostly it's pre-existing art that only has a very tenuous link with the main theme, and appears to be there as way to guide children away from comics and towards something more culturally acceptable.

Honourable exceptions to this include Horace Panter's answer to David Hockney's Splash and David Litchfield's Lowry-inspired Beanotown, but most of the rest of this part of the exhibit looks rather dull and pompous next to the exciting, dynamic and witty world of the Beano strips. A piece inspired by "The Numbskulls," for instance, looks like a dreary exercise in stating the obvious next to the wild invention of the actual comic, and seeing expensive, ponderous fine art  described as "playful" or "witty" just seems daft in a room full of cheap, accessible, and genuinely funny Beano strips down through the years.

 

Despite all that, this remains a beautifully put together exhibition showing off a wildly inventive part of British culture that does not get anything like enough attention. It's a shame that Teacher had to get involved so much, but in the end Dennis, Minnie and all the others are the real stars of the show.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Book Review - Pulp Empire: The Secret History of Comic Book Imperialism by Paul S. Hirsch

 Paul S. Hirsch. Pulp Empire: The Secret History of Comic Book Imperialism. Chicago:  The University of Chicago Press, 2021. 335 pp. 9780226350554. $30.00. https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/P/bo22868356.html

 reviewed by John A. Lent

“The Secret History of…” subtitles a few recent books in comics scholarship, leaving some of us befuddled as to what is the secret. That is not the total case with Paul S. Hirsch’s Pulp Empire:  The Secret History of Comic Book Imperialism. There are some of us who have researched the political economy of comics--topics such as conglomerate ownership of the comics industries, corporate/government tie-ins to comic/cartoon art, or governmental roles relative to comics of a regulatory, restrictive, and occasionally facilitative nature, all slighted in the corpus of literature. At least Matt McAllister, Kent Worcester, Leonard Rifas, and this reviewer are among scholars dealing with these issues.

However, much of what we believe about the United States government’s use of comic books for propaganda purposes has been based on supposition and a general distrust of agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), United States Information Agency (USIA), Writers War Board (WWB), and State Department. Paul S. Hirsch provides the proof aplenty of government’s active role, after searching thousands of previously classified boxes of documents in the Library of Congress, that he discovered accidentally. Hirsch related how he took laps around the library table (on his robotic legs)1 to express his excitement after finding this trove of “real” secret materials.

Hirsch found ample evidence that during World War II, the Writers War Board and other official agencies encouraged major comics publishing companies (Timely was an exception) to depict all Germans and Japanese (not just the military) as subhuman and not worthy to live; that during the Cold War, the CIA, State Department, and other groups used comic books to promote the U.S. official, clandestine foreign policy and win the hearts and minds of the developing world and Communist bloc, and generally, present the U.S. as a “positive egalitarian country.”

Hirsch very effectively covers much ground and is able to provide useful contextual background in a coherent, well-organized fashion, full of fascinating excerpts from the comics, anecdotes, quoted material, and facts and opinions extracted from “secret war records, official legislative documents, and caches of personal papers.” Through textual analyses of the actual comic books and strips, he tells about cartoon characters, such as Little Moe, created by the USIA, to show the grim life of a citizen of an unnamed Communist nation. As Hirsch relates it:

…Moe is shivering in his small hovel. An overweight party functionary barges in and orders Moe to hang a picture of a leading communist over his fireplace. In the next panel, Moe’s dog, pleading to come in from the cold, enters the hovel. In the final panel, the dog sees the grim image above the fireplace and immediately begins pleading with Moe to let him back outside (pp. 226-227).

The author supplements his review of documents with interviews, one of which was with relatives of Malcolm Ater, owner of Commercial Comics, the largest producer of state-sponsored propaganda comic books. Apparently, Ater and the CIA operated together in a hushed manner familiar to devotees of spy movies or comics. Hirsch said:

Whenever the agency needed a run of special comic books, Ater would drive to Dupont Circle in Washington, DC, and stand on the sidewalk until a car driven by CIA employees pulled up. Once Ater entered the car, it drove in endless loops around Dupont Circle. The employees told Ater what sort of comic book they wanted, what languages to use, and when it was needed. They then handed him a large bag of cash and let him out. Once the comic was finished, Ater would return to Dupont Circle. In the car again, he would hand over proofs for agency approval. After he received the go-ahead, he would print the comic book and deliver the copies to the CIA.

Pulp Empire is spiced with interesting tidbits, e.g., that country singer and songwriter Hank Williams admitted to getting lyrics for his songs from reading romance comics, that a 1944 comics story “revealed” that “Filipinos Are People,” or that the atomic bomb was treated for laughs in Donald Duck comics. (On the other hand, EC Comics took a serious approach.)

Much space was given to the anti-comics campaign of the late 1940s and 1950s--how the U.S. government switched from being a proponent of comics during World War II to siding with Dr. Fredric Wertham and others that they were carriers of brutal violence and explicit sex that led to juvenile delinquency; how Wertham ignored scientific principles in conducting his research; how comics fashioned racism, and how they were tamed in 1954 with the creation of the Comics Magazine Association of America and the seal of approval. Chapter Five, cleverly titled, “American Civilization Means Airstrips and Comic Strips,” deals with ensuing anti-comics campaigns outside of the U.S.; unfortunately, it singles out only France and Britain, when, in fact, such campaigns existed in at least a couple dozen countries.

The seven main chapters treat the topics chronologically, with a few diversions backward or forward, and even sideway, that enrich the narrative. Hirsch takes pains to define terms, such as “disposable culture” and “comics as trash,” as well as comic book/government wartime conceptions of the allies, enemies, and race. Documenting his wide range of primary and secondary sources, the author provides 31 pages of information and citation endnotes.

The book is enriched by a higher-than-normal grade of paper, classy design, and 45 brightly-colored illustrations. The end result is a remarkable volume, very rich and unique in the depth of research, attractive in design, highly-revealing and full in content, and crisp and pleasurable in readability.

 1 Hirsch tells readers that he was run over by a hit-and-run truck driver when he was 25 years old and lost both of his legs.

 

A version of this review will appear in the next issue of IJOCA

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Two upcoming presentations by IJOCA writer CT Lim

Conversations  |  General  |  English  |  1 hr

13 Nov Sat, 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Festival Pass  - $16 (Early Bird) | $20 (Regular)
location SISTIC Live

About

Whenever there's an epic failure or event on a global scale, you can be sure that satirical comic authors will soon have their say. How does their brand of dark humour keep us sane, critical, and honest about our society, without trivialising very real concerns? Join these comic creators as we look upon a world on fire with concern, hope, and nervous laughter.

This programme includes a live Q&A towards the end of the session.

Moderator

CT Lim is an educator who writes about history and popular culture. His articles have appeared in the Southeast Asian Journal of Social Science, Journal of Popular Culture, and Print Quarterly.


Conversations  |  SEA Focus  |  English  |  1 hr

10 Nov Wed, 7pm - 8pm
Festival Pass  - $16 (Early Bird) | $20 (Regular)
location SISTIC Live

About

Do popular genres in comics such as horror or superheroes only seek to entertain? How should comics tackling difficult topics and histories regard their reader? This panel considers the guilt and pleasures that we associate with comics, and examine our misconceptions and assumptions towards this storytelling form.

This pre-recorded programme is co-presented with Singapore Book Council.

Moderator

CT Lim is an educator who writes about history and popular culture. His articles have appeared in the Southeast Asian Journal of Social Science, Journal of Popular Culture, and Print Quarterly.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Book Review - Red Lines: Political Cartoons and the Struggle Against Censorship, by George and Liew

reviewed by Leonard Rifas

Cherian George and Sonny Liew. Red Lines: Political Cartoons and the Struggle Against Censorship. MIT Press, 2021. $34.95. ISBN: 97802625430
19 https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/red-lines

Red Lines surveys “21st century restrictions on freedom of expression as experienced by political cartoonists around the world.” The most dramatic cases are of cartoonists who have been assassinated; abducted and presumed killed; arrested and died in custody; assaulted; jailed; threatened; sued; fired; or were forced into exile. In addition to presenting their stories, the authors describe the very ordinary, market-based pressures which result in dissenting cartoons playing a much smaller role than they could in the liberal democracies of the West.

The co-authors briefly include their own backgrounds. Cherian George had served for a few years in the 1990s as art and photo editor of the largest newspaper in Singapore, and Sonny Liew created a rightly-celebrated graphic novel about Singapore’s history. Unlike other nations with strong economies, Singapore lacks press freedom. Liew was responsible for the “scrappy,” very visual treatment of the text, and also contributed portraits of several of the cartoonists.

Their book’s scope is truly global, with examples from more than sixty nations. They thank such people as the supremely well-connected John Lent, the activist organization Cartoonists Rights Network International, Daryl Cagle, and others for their help in making this possible. For Red Lines, they interviewed over five dozen cartoonists from six continents, and they cite scholarly material from over 200 published sources (all in English.)

The idea of a “political cartoon” has no clear boundaries. For this project, George and Liew define “political cartooning” quickly and simply as “drawn commentary on current affairs.” They also include some examples from “the associated arts of caricature, comic strips, memes, and graphic novels.” Although clearly tangential to the kind of work that they love, the co-authors admit that memes have become “the most prevalent genre of political cartooning today” and credit memes for introducing a more participatory and engaging way of distributing messages (though through a medium, the internet, which has the potential to become the most fully regulated space ever known.) 

The political cartoons that seem closest to the heart of their project could be described more narrowly as single-panel, satirical drawings, published for a mass audience in a newspaper or magazine or posted on the web, which denounce a leader’s wrongdoing and for which the cartoonists paid a penalty. Even using this more restrictive definition, one book could not include every 21st century cartoonist who has encountered serious limits to their artistic freedom.

Red Lines’ chapter on “The Boys’ Club” notes that “Traditional studies of censorship didn’t explore the gender dimension.” Ironically, even in studies of how various voices have been silenced, those “silences resulting from sexual discrimination were often ignored.” Once the issue has been raised, it becomes evident that “gender-based censorship” exists “everywhere” and that gender-based hierarchy and oppression rely on this. 

Red Lines discusses several extreme examples of gender-based censorship, including the persecution of Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani. Her cartoon mocking legislators who had passed a sexist law led to Farghadani receiving a prison sentence of 12 years. (She served two years before being released because of international pressure.) In the United States, some women cartoonists are silenced by the more everyday means of online harassment, which can create what Anita Sarkeesian calls an environment “too toxic and hostile to endure.” 

The focus on 21st century examples keeps the book feeling current and fresh, but the authors also include some well-chosen historical examples for context, particularly in their chapter on racist cartoons. As George and Liew acknowledge, in the battles to promote full rights and respect for the dignity of all groups of people, some cartoonists have taken one side in these conflicts while some cartoonists have worked on the other opposing side.

In addition to the brutal older methods of state repression and the quieter and more effective methods of economic strangulation, increasingly the pressure on cartoonists comes from mob action, either in person or, more commonly, on the web. Internet responses to provocative cartoons can serve positive ends. George and Liew credit such criticism for sometimes helping cartoonists learn to avoid committing unintended offenses with lazy stereotypes, and for contributing to the evolution of society. 

Not all complaints, though, are well-founded or made in good faith. Sometimes political entrepreneurs strategically take offense, manufacture outrage and perform victimhood to advance a political cause. Cartoonists are sometimes caught in the crossfire of “proxy battles” in larger cultural wars. The rhetoric of “victimhood” has been used both by discriminated-against minorities and by majoritarian nationalists. Red Lines advises cartoonists to learn to tell the difference “between surrendering to a mob and adapting one’s work in solidarity with the oppressed.” The simple rule of “punching up and not kicking down,” though, becomes complicated partly because people disagree on which direction is up. For example, Red Lines asks: “Are cartoons about Muslims and terrorism punching up at a global movement of extremists […] or kicking down at marginalized Muslim minorities in the West?”

The long, penultimate chapter focuses on the massacre of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in Paris in 2015. The chapter (while, of course, never condoning the crime) analyzes the offending cartoons from multiple perspectives, and then rather than surrendering to “the Rashomon effect,” intentionally “privileges the perspective of the cartoonists at the center of the controversy.” By this, they mean that they trace the previous decade’s most immediately-relevant events that had led up to their deaths. The book does not simplistically deify the murdered artists as noble martyrs to high principles. The final word goes to a surviving Charlie Hebdo cartoonist, “Luz,” who says “The simple fact is that our friends died.”

Red Lines’ perspective seems more multinational than international, emphasizing each cartoonist’s situation largely within his or her own national context. Several of the nations in which cartoonists have suffered repression have been targets of the US government’s ongoing attempts to weaken their regimes or overthrow their leaders, including Nicaragua, Venezuela, Syria, Cuba, China, and Iran. Nothing brings out the censors like a state of war, and, it would have been appropriate to add, this also applies in nations bedeviled by the CIA’s undeclared wars and the US Treasury Department’s sanctions.  (Possibly no recent study has been written that focuses directly on the historic roles of editorial cartooning in international propaganda campaigns, psychological warfare operations, and destabilization efforts.)

Given recent developments (with most jobs for professional, full-time staff cartoonists still disappearing rapidly), when the authors struggle to end on a hopeful note, they conclude simply that cartooning will not die. Political cartoonists who follow current affairs closely, demonstrate artistic skill, and seek to contribute to civic engagement will continue to struggle onward. Students and others who wish to support those struggles can find in this attractive volume a welcome, wide-ranging and nuanced introduction to the issue of cartoon censorship.

 A version of this review will appear in print in IJOCA 24-1.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Support the Future of the Bonn Online Bibliography (BOBC)

Many comics researchers have been making use of the Bonn Online Bibliography for Comics Studies (BOBC), which Dr Joachim Trinkwitz has built up over many years to be perhaps the most comprehensive resource of this kind for our field.

As the technical and logistic demands of this project are rising, and Joachim is facing retirement in a few years' time, the future of the database is currently uncertain. As its co-sponsor, the German Society
for Comics Studies has set up an open letter to Bonn University to call for continued support for this valuable resource. I am attaching the full letter (in German and English).

If you agree that the Bibliography should continue its work, we would ask you to support this letter. You can sign it here:

https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__forms.gle_Y5tuy2AHqaYG3cWy9&d=DwIDaQ&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=U5Unf7-i055iIghwvzEOy_GhsKUG6Ka6XgVTTePa3p8&m=T93iR-c6UeZLHr1q31aPf44Cn93AES89MlWY5v1Nw2g&s=hd9mlG2rYbXziaDZgajGY7j0gm4NsbkD5x0p2YxKbf8&e=

Persons and institutions are equally welcome as signatories.


Thank you for your help, and best wishes,

Stephan Packard


Prof. Dr. Stephan Packard
Institut für Medienkultur und Theater
Universität zu Köln

 ------------------------------------

Securing and maintaining the Bonn Online Bibliography for Comics Research (BOBC),
https://www.bobc.uni-bonn.de

To the Dean of Philosophy and the Chancellor at Bonn University:


The Bonn Online Bibliography for Comics Studies (Bonner Online Bibliographie für Comicforschung,
BOBC) was launched in 2008 under the direction of Dr. Joachim Trinkwitz, research assistant at the
Institute for German Studies, Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at the Rheinische Friedrich-
Wilhelms-Universität Bonn. Initially designed as a tool for teaching, it was later published online as a
service for the research community. Since then, it has been continuously expanded under Trinkiwtz’
direction. Thanks to his tireless effort, it now offers more than 13,500 international entries for
researcher in interdisciplinary comics studies. Particularly noteworthy is the rich indexing of all entries
(the dynamically expanded keyword catalogue now includes almost 4,800 entries, each in English and
German), made possible by Dr. Trinkwitz' decades of expertise and interdisciplinary knowledge.


The BOBC has become an irreplaceable, unique resource for international comics studies: it is a central
point of reference for this growing field. It is acknowledged well beyond the German-speaking world
by renowned researchers as well as international institutions of comics research, who regularly use it
and recommend it to young academics. Every month, up to 150,000 database queries and hundreds
of individual page views are counted by visitors from all over the world (18% of whom come from the
USA and Canada). The bibliography has become an indispensable tool not only in German studies, but
also in art and media studies, cultural studies and multimodal linguistics, as well as for many other
philologies – such as American studies, English studies, Romance studies, Scandinavian studies, and
Japanese studies – which we can no longer conceive their teaching and research into comics without
this tool. Recently, even representatives of seemingly more remote disciplines such as medicine,
religious studies/theology, and geography have become users of the bibliography.


The German Society for Comics Studies (ComFor e.V.) has been supporting the BOBC for almost a
decade with regular sums from its membership fees to finance student staff positions for the initial
recording of the ever more rapidly growing number of relevant new publications in our research fields.
In order to maintain this indispensable resource, however, beyond this continuous technical labour,
there is the need for constant indexing, coherence checking, and qualitative data control, for which an
experienced colleague such as Dr Trinkwitz is needed.


In order to secure the future of this important resource even after the imminent retirement of our
esteemed colleague, we therefore turn to the University of Bonn and its Faculty of Philosophy with
two urgent questions in particular:


1) How can the technical infrastructure for the BOBC be secured?


The BOBC is currently running on a server of the Bonn Institute under the open source
database software "WIKINDX", which is currently maintained steadily and with commitment,
but only through the efforts of a few individuals worldwide. Sooner or later, therefore, it will
be necessary either to make a switch to a more expensive alternative database system that is
professionally maintained, or to set up a (half-time) IT and information technology position
that can continue to update and maintain WIKINDX.


2) How can the professional maintenance of the BOBC be secured?


Quality control, maintenance, and indexing of new entries require the continued work of a
fully employed academic at no less than postgraduate level. Additional support by auxiliary
staff for data entry can still be ensured through partner institutions such as the German
Society for Comics Studies.


We would therefore like to invite you to enter into a dialogue with the German Society for Comics
Studies to discuss these needs in order to ensure the continued availability of this internationally and
interdisciplinarily renowned research resource at the University of Bonn.

Signatories:
Dr. Joachim Trinkwitz for the BOBC
PD Dr. Christina Meyer, Dr. Lukas R.A. Wilde and Dr. Vanessa Ossa
for the Society for Comics Research (ComFor)

Supporting Institutions:
AG Animation, Gesellschaft für Medienwissenschaft (GfM), Dr. Erwin Feyersinger
Arbeitsstelle für Graphische Literatur (ArGL), Universität Hamburg, Prof. Dr. Astrid Böger
Institut für Jugendbuchforschung, Universität Frankfurt am Main, Dr. Felix Giesa
Interdisziplinäres Comicforschungsnetzwerk Düsseldorf (icon), Nicolas Gaspers
Netzwerk Comicforschung an der Universität zu Köln, Prof. Dr. Stephan Packard

Supporting Colleagues:
Prof. Dr. Jörn Ahrens, Kultursoziologie, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen & Extra Ordinary Professor of Social Anthropology, North-West University, South Africa
Prof. Dr. Bart Beaty, Department of English, University of Calgary, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
Prof. Dr. Jaqueline Berndt, Department of Asian Studies, Stockholm University
PD Dr. Juliane Blank, Germanistik, Universität des Saarlandes
Prof. Dr. Prof. Dr. Stephan Köhn, Japanologie, Universität zu Köln
Prof. Dr. Irmela Marei Krüger-Fürhoff, Deutsche und Niederländische Philologie, Freie Universität
Berlin
Dr. Pascal Lefèvre, Comics Studies LUCA School of Arts, Campus Sint-Lukas, Brussels
Prof. Dr. Markus Oppolzer, Englische Literaturwissenschaft und Fremdsprachendidaktik, Universität
Salzburg
Prof. Dr. Stephan Packard, Medienkultur und Theater, Universität zu Köln
Prof. Dr. Marie Schröer, Kultursemiotik und Kulturen romanischer Länder, Universität Potsdam
Prof. Dr. Daniel Stein, Seminar für Anglistik, Universität Siegen
Dr. Brett Sterling, Dept. of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of Arkansas

Prof. Dr. Jan-Noël Thon, Medienwissenschaft, Technisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Universität
Norwegens
Assistenzprofessorin Dr. Janina Wildfeuer, Chair Group Multimodal Communication, Communication
and Information Studies, University of Groningen 

German language:

Sicherung und Erhalt der Bonner Online-Bibliographie zur Comicforschung (BOBC),
https://www.bobc.uni-bonn.de

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, liebe Kolleg*innen, die Bonner Online-Bibliographie zur Comicforschung (BOBC) wurde 2008 unter der Regie von Dr.Joachim Trinkwitz, Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter des Instituts für Germanistik, Vergleichende Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft der Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, zunächst als Instrument für die Lehre ins Leben gerufen, später als Angebot für die Forschungsgemeinde online gestellt und seither fortwährend in Eigenregie ausgebaut. Durch diesen unermüdlichen Einsatz umfasst sie derzeit über 13.500 internationale Einträge zur Literaturrecherche für die interdisziplinäre Comicforschung. Besonders hervorzuheben ist die reiche Verschlagwortung aller Einträge (der dynamisch erweiterte Schlagwortkatalog umfasst mittlerweile fast 4.800 Einträge, jeweils in englischer und deutscher Sprache), die durch Dr. Trinkwitz‘ jahrzehntelange Expertisen und disziplinübergreifende Fachkenntnisse ermöglicht wird.


In der internationalen Comicforschung ist die BOBC eine unersetzliche, einzigartige Ressource
geworden: sie ist die zentrale Anlaufstelle für die Bibliographie des jungen Forschungsfelds. So wird sie – weit über den deutschen Sprachraum hinaus – von renommierten Forschungskolleg*innen ebenso
wie internationalen Institutionen der Comicforschung wahrgenommen, rege genutzt und dem
wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchs empfohlen. Pro Monat werden bis zu 150.000 Datenbankanfragen und
hunderte individuelle Seitenaufrufe von Besucher*innen aus aller Welt (davon zu 18% aus USA und
Kanada) gezählt. Die Bibliographie ist so zu einem unverzichtbaren Werkzeug nicht nur in der
Germanistik, sondern auch in Kunst- und Medienwissenschaft, in Cultural Studies und der
multimodalen Linguistik sowie für viele weitere Philologien – wie Amerikanistik, Anglistik, Romanistik, Skandinavistik oder Japanologie – avanciert, welches aus unseren Lehr- und Forschungstätigkeiten nicht mehr wegzudenken ist. Neuerdings zählen selbst Vertreter*innen scheinbar entlegenerer Fachgebiete wie Medizin, Religionswissenschaft/Theologie oder Geographie zu den Nutzern der Bibliographie.


Die wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft für Comicforschung (ComFor) e.V. unterstützt die BOBC seit knapp
einem Jahrzehnt mit regelmäßigen Summen aus ihren Mitgliedsbeiträgen, um studentische
Mitarbeitsstellen zur Erstaufnahme der immer rapider anwachsenden Zahl von einschlägigen
Neuerscheinungen in unseren Forschungsbereichen zu finanzieren. Um diese unverzichtbare
Ressource zu erhalten, bedarf es jedoch jenseits dieser ständigen, technischen Arbeitsschritte auch
der steten und kontinuierlichen Verschlagwortung, Kohärenzprüfung und Kontrolle der Daten durch
eine/n ausgewiesene/n Kolleg*in wie Dr. Trinkwitz.


Um die Zukunft dieser unverzichtbaren Ressource auch über den mittelbaren Ruhestand des
geschätzten Kollegen hinaus zu sichern, wenden wir uns daher insbesondere mit zwei drängenden
Fragen an die Universität Bonn und ihre Philosophische Fakultät:


1) Wie soll der Erhalt der BOBC technisch sichergestellt werden?
Die BOBC läuft derzeit auf einem Server des Bonner Instituts mit der Open Source-
Datenbank-Software „WIKINDX“, die zurzeit weltweit zwar stetig und engagiert, aber nur
durch den Einsatz weniger Einzelpersonen gepflegt wird. Hier bedarf es also über kurz oder
lang entweder einer aufwändigeren Umstellung auf ein kostenpflichtiges alternatives
Datenbanksystem, welches professionell betreut wird, oder aber der Einrichtung einer
(halben) IT- und Informatik-Stelle, durch welche WIKINDX weiterhin aktualisiert und gepflegt
werden kann.

2) Wie soll der Erhalt der BOBC personell sichergestellt werden?


Für die Kontrolle, Pflege und Verschlagwortung neuer Einträge ist mittelfristig eine (halbe)
Stelle notwendig, für die Expertise auf Postgraduierten-Niveau (mindestens
Doktorand*innen) unverzichtbar erforderlich sind. Zuarbeit durch studentische
Mitarbeitende zur Datenerfassung kann weiterhin über Partner-Institutionen wie die
Gesellschaft für Comicforschung sichergestellt werden.


Wir möchten Sie daher zu einem Austausch mit der Gesellschaft für Comicforschung über diese beiden
drängenden Desiderate einladen, um eine langfristige Sicherung dieser Forschungsressource der Uni
Bonn für die internationale und interdisziplinäre Comicforschung zu gewährleisten.

Unterzeichnende:
Dr. Joachim Trinkwitz für die BOBC
PD Dr. Christina Meyer, Dr. Lukas R.A. Wilde und Dr. Vanessa Ossa
für die Gesellschaft für Comicforschung (ComFor)

Unterstützende Institutionen:
AG Animation, Gesellschaft für Medienwissenschaft (GfM), Dr. Erwin Feyersinger
Arbeitsstelle für Graphische Literatur (ArGL), Universität Hamburg, Prof. Dr. Astrid Böger
Institut für Jugendbuchforschung, Universität Frankfurt am Main, Dr. Felix Giesa
Interdisziplinäres Comicforschungsnetzwerk Düsseldorf (icon), Nicolas Gaspers
Netzwerk Comicforschung an der Universität zu Köln, Prof. Dr. Stephan Packard

Erstunterstützende Kolleg*innen:
Prof. Dr. Jörn Ahrens, Kultursoziologie, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen & Extra Ordinary Professor of Social Anthropology, North-West University, South Africa
Prof. Dr. Bart Beaty, Department of English, University of Calgary, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
Prof. Dr. Jaqueline Berndt, Department of Asian Studies, Stockholm University
PD Dr. Juliane Blank, Germanistik, Universität des Saarlandes
Prof. Dr. Prof. Dr. Stephan Köhn, Japanologie, Universität zu Köln
Prof. Dr. Irmela Marei Krüger-Fürhoff, Deutsche und Niederländische Philologie, Freie Universität
Berlin
Dr. Pascal Lefèvre, Comics Studies LUCA School of Arts, Campus Sint-Lukas, Brussels
Prof. Dr. Markus Oppolzer, Englische Literaturwissenschaft und Fremdsprachendidaktik, Universität
Salzburg
Prof. Dr. Stephan Packard, Medienkultur und Theater, Universität zu Köln
Prof. Dr. Marie Schröer, Kultursemiotik und Kulturen romanischer Länder, Universität Potsdam
Prof. Dr. Daniel Stein, Seminar für Anglistik, Universität Siegen
Dr. Brett Sterling, Dept. of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of Arkansas
Prof. Dr. Jan-Noël Thon, Medienwissenschaft, Technisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Universität
Norwegens
Assistenzprofessorin Dr. Janina Wildfeuer, Chair Group Multimodal Communication, Communication
and Information Studies, University of Groningen

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Asegurar y mantener la Base Bibliográfica en línea de Bonn para la Investigación de Cómics (BOBC), https://www.bobc.uni-bonn.de


Al Decano de Filosofía y Rector de la Universidad de Bonn:


La Base Bibliográfica en línea de Bonn para la Investigación de Cómics (Bonner Online Bibliographie für Comicforschung, BOBC) se lanzó en 2008 bajo la dirección del Dr. Joachim Trinkwitz, asistente de investigación en el Instituto de Estudios Alemanes, Literatura Comparada y Estudios Culturales en el Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms- Universität Bonn. Diseñado inicialmente como una herramienta para la enseñanza, luego se publicó en línea como un servicio para la comunidad de investigadores. Desde entonces, se ha expandido continuamente bajo la dirección de Trinkiwtz. Gracias a su incansable esfuerzo, ahora ofrece más de 13.500 entradas internacionales para investigadores en estudios interdisciplinarios del cómic. Particularmente digno de mención es la rica indexación de todas las entradas (el catálogo expandido dinámicamente de palabras clave ahora incluye casi 4.800 entradas, cada una en inglés y en alemán), que fue posible gracias a las décadas de experiencia y conocimiento interdisciplinario del Dr. Trinkwitz.


El BOBC se ha convertido en un recurso único e insustituible para los estudios internacionales del cómic: es un punto de referencia central para este campo en crecimiento. Es reconocido más allá del mundo de habla alemana por investigadores de renombre, así como por instituciones internacionales de investigación del cómic, que lo utilizan regularmente y lo recomiendan a los jóvenes académicos. Cada mes, visitantes de todo el mundo suman hasta 150.000 consultas de bases de datos y cientos de páginas vistas individuales (el 18% de las cuales provienen de EE. UU. y Canadá). La bibliografía se ha convertido en una herramienta indispensable no solo en los estudios alemanes, sino también en los estudios de arte y medios, estudios culturales y lingüística multimodal, así como para muchas otras filologías, como estudios estadounidenses, estudios ingleses, estudios románicos, estudios escandinavos y estudios japoneses – de manera que ya no podemos concebir su enseñanza e investigación sobre el cómic sin esta herramienta. Recientemente, incluso representantes de disciplinas aparentemente más remotas como la medicina, los estudios religiosos / teología y la geografía se han convertido en usuarios de la base bibliográfica.


La Sociedad Alemana de Estudios de Cómics (ComFor e.V.) ha estado apoyando a la BOBC durante casi una década con sumas regulares de sus cuotas de membresía para financiar puestos de personal estudiantil para la grabación inicial del número cada vez mayor de nuevas publicaciones relevantes en nuestros campos de investigación. Sin embargo, para mantener este recurso indispensable, más allá de este trabajo técnico continuo, existe la necesidad de indexación constante, verificación de coherencia y control de datos cualitativos, para lo cual se necesita un colega experimentado como el Dr. Trinkwitz.
Para asegurar el futuro de este importante recurso incluso después de la inminente jubilación de nuestro estimado colega, nos dirigimos a la Universidad de Bonn y a su Facultad de Filosofía con dos preguntas urgentes en particular:


1) ¿Cómo se puede asegurar la infraestructura técnica del BOBC? El BOBC se está ejecutando actualmente en un servidor del Instituto de Bonn bajo el software de base de datos de código abierto "WIKINDX", que actualmente se mantiene de manera constante y con compromiso, pero solo gracias a los esfuerzos de unas pocas personas en todo el mundo. Tarde o temprano, por lo tanto, será necesario cambiar a un sistema de base de datos alternativo más costoso que se mantenga profesionalmente, o establecer un puesto de (medio tiempo) de IT, así como tecnología de la información que pueda continuar actualizando y manteniendo WIKINDX.


2) ¿Cómo se puede asegurar el mantenimiento profesional del BOBC? El control de calidad, el mantenimiento y la indexación de nuevas entradas requieren el trabajo continuo de un académico empleado a tiempo completo en no menos de un nivel de posgrado. Aún se puede garantizar el apoyo adicional del personal auxiliar para la entrada de datos a través de instituciones asociadas como la Sociedad Alemana de Estudios del Cómic.


Por lo tanto, nos gustaría invitarlo a entablar un diálogo con la Sociedad Alemana de Estudios del Cómic para discutir estas necesidades a fin de garantizar la disponibilidad continua de este recurso de investigación de renombre internacional e interdisciplinar en la Universidad de Bonn.
Signatarios:


Dr. Joachim Trinkwitz ppr el BOBC
PD Dra. Christina Meyer, Dr. Lukas R.A. Wilde y la Dra. Vanessa Ossa para la Society for Comics Research (ComFor)


Instituciones de apoyo:
AG Animation, Gesellschaft für Medienwissenschaft (GfM), Dr. Erwin Feyersinger
Arbeitsstelle für Graphische Literatur (ArGL), Universität Hamburg, Prof.Dr. Astrid Böger
Institut für Jugendbuchforschung, Universität Frankfurt am Main, Dr. Felix Giesa
Interdisziplinäres Comicforschungsnetzwerk Düsseldorf (icono), Nicolas Gaspers
Netzwerk Comicforschung an der Universität zu Köln, Prof.Dr. Stephan Packard
Compañeros de apoyo:
Prof.Dr. Jörn Ahrens, Kultursoziologie, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen y profesor extraordinario de antropología social, North-West University, Sudáfrica
Prof.Dr. Bart Beaty, Departamento de Inglés, Universidad de Calgary, miembro de la Royal Society of Canada
Prof. Dra. Jaqueline Berndt, Departamento de Estudios Asiáticos, Universidad de Estocolmo
PD Dra. Juliane Blank, Germanistik, Universität des Saarlandes
Prof. Dr. Prof. Dr. Stephan Köhn, Japanologie, Universität zu Köln
Prof. Dr. Irmela Marei Krüger-Fürhoff, Deutsche und Niederländische Philologie, Freie Universität Berlin
Dr. Pascal Lefèvre, Comics Studies LUCA School of Arts, Campus Sint-Lukas, Bruselas
Prof. Dr. Markus Oppolzer, Englische Literaturwissenschaft und Fremdsprachendidaktik, Universität Salzburg
Prof. Dr. Stephan Packard, Medienkultur und Theatre, Universität zu Köln
Prof. Dra. Marie Schröer, Kultursemiotik und Kulturen romanischer Länder, Universität Potsdam
Prof.Dr. Daniel Stein, Seminario für Anglistik, Universität Siegen
Dr. Brett Sterling, Departamento de Idiomas, Literaturas y Culturas del Mundo, Universidad de Arkansas
Prof. Dr. Jan-Noël Thon, Medienwissenschaft, Technisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Universität Norwegens
Assistenzprofessorin Dra. Janina Wildfeuer, Presidenta del Grupo de Estudios de Comunicación, Comunicación e Información Multimodal, Universidad de Groningen
---------


Préservation et maintien de la Bibliographie en ligne de Bonn sur la recherche en bandes dessinées (BOBC)
https://www.bobc.uni-bonn.de


Mesdames, Messieurs, chères collègues, chers collègues,

En 2008, la Bibliographie en ligne de Bonn sur la recherche en bandes dessinées (BOBC) fut fondée sous la direction de Joachim Trinkwitz, assistant de recherche à l’institut de germanistique, littérature et culture comparée de la Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn. Elle fut d’abord instaurée comme moyen d’enseignement, puis elle fut digitalisée pour la communauté scientifique. Au cours des années suivantes, la Bibliographie a été élargie d’une façon très remarquable par Dr. Trinkwitz. Grâce à son engagement inlassable, elle contient actuellement plus de 13.500 entrées internationales pour la recherche interdisciplinaire dans le domaine des bandes dessinées. La riche indexation de toutes les entrées (le fichier par mots-clés contient entretemps presque 4.800 entrées, en anglais comme en allemand) représente un grand atout de la BOBC. Cette indexation a été rendu possible grâce à l’excellente expertise de Dr. Trinkwitz et particulièrement grâce à ses connaissances interdisciplinaires.
Dans la recherche internationale sur la bande dessinée, la BOBC est devenue une ressource irremplaçable et unique, voire le point de référence central. Grâce à ce fait, elle est utilisée – au-delà des pays germanophones – par des chercheurs renommés, des institutions internationales spécialisées dans la recherche de bandes dessinées et la jeune génération de scientifiques. Chaque mois, il y a jusqu’à 150.000 demandes sur les banques de données et une centaine de visites individuelles provenant du monde entier (18% d’entre elles des États-Unis et du Canada). La bibliographie est devenue un outil indispensable pour l’enseignement et la recherche, non seulement dans la germanistique mais aussi dans les sciences de l’art et des médias, dans les Cultural Studies et dans la linguistique multimodale, ainsi que pour beaucoup d’autres philologies comme la philologie américaine, anglaise, scandinave, japonaise et les philologies romanes. Depuis un certain temps déjà, la bibliographie est même utilisée par des chercheurs d’autres domaines scientifiques comme la médecine, la théologie ou la géographie.
La Société allemande pour la recherche sur la bande dessinée (ComFor e.V.) patronne la BOBC régulièrement avec des sommes de cotisation depuis presque une décennie. Cet argent rend possible le financement des assistants étudiants qui s’occupent de l’enregistrement de nouvelles publications qui augmentent constamment. Afin de pouvoir préserver cette ressource indispensable, il est nécessaire – à part du travail technique continuel – qu’un(e) collègue, riche en expérience comme Dr. Trinkwitz, assure la réalisation de l’index, examine la cohérence des entrées et contrôle les données.
Afin d’assurer le maintien de cette ressource indispensable après la retraite du collègue estimé, nous nous adressons à l’Université de Bonn et à sa Faculté de Sciences Humaines avec deux questions urgentes :


1) Comment assurer le maintien de la BOBC sur le niveau technique ?


En ce moment, la BOBC est installée sur un serveur de l’institut de Bonn avec la banque de données « WIKINDX » qui est maintenue continuellement à niveau mondial, mais seulement par quelques peu de volontaires engagé(e)s. Il est donc nécessaire, soit de changer le système de banque de données – on pourrait penser à une alternative payante, maintenue professionnellement – soit de mettre en place un poste à temps partiel (50%) ou à temps plein avec une spécialisation en informatique, qui s’occuperait de l’actualisation et du maintien de « WIKINDX ».


2) Comment assurer le maintien de la BOBC sur le niveau du personnel ?


Pour le contrôle, la maintenance de la banque de données et l'indexation des nouvelles entrées, un (demi) poste est nécessaire à moyen terme, pour lequel une expertise à un niveau post-gradué (au moins des doctorants) est indispensable. Le support d’assistants étudiants pour la saisie de données peut être assuré dans l’avenir par des institutions partenaires comme la Société allemande pour la recherche sur la bande dessinée.


Nous voudrions donc vous inviter à un échange avec la Société allemande pour la recherche sur la bande dessinée sur ces deux impératifs, afin d'assurer la sauvegarde à long terme de cette ressource prestigieuse de l'Université de Bonn pour la recherche internationale et interdisciplinaire sur la bande dessinée.


Signé par :
Dr. Joachim Trinkwitz für die BOBC
PD Dr. Christina Meyer, Dr. Lukas R.A. Wilde and Dr. Vanessa Ossa für die Gesellschaft für Comicforschung (ComFor)


Institutions soutenantes :
AG Animation, Gesellschaft für Medienwissenschaft (GfM), Dr. Erwin Feyersinger
Arbeitsstelle für Graphische Literatur (ArGL)Universität Hamburg, Prof. Dr. Astrid Böger
Institut für Jugendbuchforschung, Universität Frankfurt am Main, Dr. Felix Giesa
Interdisziplinäres Comicforschungsnetzwerk Düsseldorf (icon), Nicolas Gaspers
Netzwerk Comicforschung an der Universität zu Köln, Prof. Dr. Stephan Packard
Collègues soutenants :
Prof. Dr. Jörn Ahrens, Kultursoziologie, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen & Extra Ordinary Professor of Social Anthropology, North-West University, South Africa
Prof. Dr. Bart Beaty, Department of English, University of Calgary, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
Prof. Dr. Jaqueline Berndt, Department of Asian Studies, Stockholm University
PD Dr. Juliane Blank, Germanistik, Universität des Saarlandes
Prof. Dr. Prof. Dr. Stephan Köhn, Japanologie, Universität zu Köln
Prof. Dr. Irmela Marei Krüger-Fürhoff, Deutsche und Niederländische Philologie, Freie Universität Berlin
Dr. Pascal Lefèvre, Comics Studies LUCA School of Arts, Campus Sint-Lukas, Brussels
Prof. Dr. Markus Oppolzer, Englische Literaturwissenschaft und Fremdsprachendidaktik, Universität Salzburg
Prof. Dr. Stephan Packard, Medienkultur und Theater, Universität zu Köln
Prof. Dr. Marie Schröer, Kultursemiotik und Kulturen romanischer Länder, Universität Potsdam
Prof. Dr. Daniel Stein, Seminar für Anglistik, Universität Siegen
Dr. Brett Sterling, Dept. of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of Arkansas
Prof. Dr. Jan-Noël Thon, Medienwissenschaft, Technisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Universität Norwegens
Assistenzprofessorin Dr. Janina Wildfeuer, Chair Group Multimodal Communication, Communication and Information Studies, University of Groningen