Saturday, December 26, 2009
The Kyoto Seika University International Manga Research Center invited me to participate in their conference Comics Worlds and the World of Comics: Scholarship on a Global Scale (December 18-20) of which next year will be published a bilingual anthology (Japanese/English). It was on the whole an interesting dialogue between Japanese scholars (amongst others Fusanosuke Natsume) and their colleagues from abroad (amongst others Thierry Groensteen and Thomas Lamarre). I presented a paper about the necessities of international collaborations for comparative research. The event took place in Japan's first general manga museum Kyoto International Manga Museum, which features not only interesting exhibitions but has also an impressive library and a research center. The museum is run by the Kyoto Seika University, which was moreover the first Japanese university to set up a proper faculty dedicated to manga. Already on a quantative level it seems to be a huge succes with 852 undergraduate students.
Today in the research center of the museum I had a chanche to browse through some early magazines from between 1900 and 1914 (as Nipponchi and Tokyo Puck). From the few copies of Japanese periodicals I could consult I saw quite a variety in publication formats (though always with soft cover), but all sequential works were drawn in a more or less charicatural style with clear contour lines, mostly with one or more additional color(s). All the characters and locations looked Japanese. On the one hand one can see an important role of politics (as the war with Russia), but on the other hand there is also a lot of purely funny material (as mischief gag comics). I didn't see any translations or reprints of European or American comics - though various magazines clearly refer through their title to 'Punch' or 'Puck'.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Two new publications about my continuing research on early comics were recently released.
One is in English and focuses on panel arrangements and page layouts of early comics published in Belgium in the five decades before the start of Tintin in 1929. It investigates the degree of standardisation in this pivotal period, in which the old system of graphic narratives with captions evolved to comics with balloons. The years between 1880 and 1929 boasted a variety of publication formats (broadsheets, illustrated magazines for adults and for children, comic strips, artists’ books), within which one can see both similar and different conventions at work.
- Lefèvre, Pascal, 'The Conquest of Space. Evolution of panel arrangements and page lay outs in early comics’ in European Comic Art, in European Comic Art, Vol. 2, N°2, 2009, p.227-252 .
The other article is in Dutch and gives an overview of the publication formats of sequential graphics in Belgium before the 1930s.
- Lefèvre, Pascal, 'Panorama van het vroege beeldverhaal in België (1870-1929)' in Sint-Lukas Galerie Brussel, p. 12-17.