Sixth meeting: To Seize the Fright. Panels, Gaps & Animal-headed Characters in Trauma-related Graphic Novels

«“I shall become a bat!” says a young and committed Bruce Wayne, remembering his parents’ murder. For the past 75 years, his choice to wear a chiroptera costume to render justice might have seemed odd. Yet, as French comic book artist Joann Sfar states, “one takes the form of an animal when he’s deprived of his right to speak as a human being, when he isn’t heard or considered as one”. With the rise of underground and autobiographical comic books in the 70’s, Comics Art developed new formal and content approaches, but the animal-headed figure remained. From the mouthless mice-headed Jews in Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” to the rabbit-headed teenager in Jason’s “Hey Wait…” and to an owl-headed Craig Thompson in his “Barnyard Animals” short story, therianthropic characters externally reveal how they had been made prisoners of a muted (and mutated) body, by the burden of a family secret, the threat of a sexual abuser or an unutterable traumatic event. Comics Art has the ability to visually enunciate the unpronounceable words as it might, by its specific nature, depict the rugged landscape of a psyche both paralyzed and shattered while experiencing the Fright.»

The sixth meeting of our research group will take place next Wednesday, the 23rd of July, at 16:00 GMT.
This time around, Pedro Moura will be our host, and we will follow Nicolas Verstappen’s presentation, entitled To Seize the Fright. Panels, Gaps & Animal-headed Characters in Trauma-related Graphic Novels.
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Comics in Italy under the fascist regime: General outlook and remarks

Comics in Italy under the fascist regime: General outlook and remarks

Italian comics production has been rich and substantial since the last years of the XIXth century. The development of Italian comics began properly, as an important sector of mass culture, since the early XXth century; and comics were one of the media more involved in the propaganda before and during the Second World War. In this presentation a general outlook will be proposed of the ways fascist ideas and ideologies were circulated in Italian comics for children and youths: magazines, stories, publishing houses, authors, were all involved, at different degrees and from different perspective, either in seconding or opposing the directives of the dictatorial regime (1922-1943). In this presentation I identify a classification of major themes and attitudes in the pro-fascist, pro-war and often xenophobic comics published in those years. This presentation derives from a paper I presented in 2011 at an international workshop in Israel (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in Be’er Sheva) and is also the initial draft of my part for a longer essay I am writing together with another Italian scholar, historian Nicola Spagnolli, for future submission to a British academic journal.

Marco Pellitteri
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Conference World War 1 in Children’s Literature and Comics

By following the link below, you will arrive at the conference planning of a conference on World War 1 Children’s literature and comics at the University of Namur. The conference, as is the program, is in French and will take place on June 3-4.

Link to conference program

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Meeting 5: Italian World War II Comics presentation by Marco Pellitteri

The fifth meeting of the History, Trauma, and Comics Research Circle will take place June 17 16:00 GMT. During this online meeting, Marco Pellitteri will give a presentation on Italian World War II comics. More information about this presentation will be posted on this website soon.

If you want to attend the meeting, you can mail us at Please send your skype username to this address before the meeting so you can be included in the group call.



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Cartoons and the National Remembrance of the Japanese Occupation of Singapore

On the seventh of may 16:00 GMT, the fourth meeting of the History, Trauma & Comics Research Circle will take place on Skype. This meeting, Cheng Tju Lim will present on comics and the occupation of Signapore.

You can find information on his presentation below:

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Third Meeting (10 April 16:00 GMT): Immigration Comic Discussion

asylum seekerIn order to free up some preparation time for the coming presenters we have decided to organize the third meeting of the History, Trauma & Comics Research Circle around a comic produced by the Australian Immigration Agency.

This comic, which aims to inform possible Afghan immigrants about the realities of immigration to Australia, has caused quite a controversy in news media from around the world. It is our aim to organize a roundtable discussion on the comic during the third meeting on the 10th of April 16:00 GMT.

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Protected: Rik Spanjers’s Notes for his presentation on the 26th of February

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