Comics and the City: Urban Space in Print, Picture and Sequence

Comics and the City: Urban Space in Print, Picture and Sequence


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Comics and the City: Urban Space in Print, Picture and Sequence by Jörn Ahrens

Comics and the City deals with possibly the most important aspect of the aesthetics and narratives of comics-urban topography and environment. This collection of essays covers a variety of international approaches to the medium of comics.

Not only is the city depicted repeatedly in comic books, but it also serves as a major structural and aesthetic influence, on them. Comics emerged parallel to, and in several ways intertwined with the development of modern urban mass societies at the turn of the 20th century. On the one hand, urban topoi, self-portrayals, forms of urban cultural memories, and variant readings of the city (strolling, advertising, architecture, detective stories, mass phenomena, street life, etc.) are all incorporated into comics. On the other hand, comics have unique abilities to capture urban space and city life because of their hybrid nature, consisting of words, pictures and sequences. These formal aspects of comics are also to be found within the cityscape itself: one can see the influence of comic book aesthetics all around us today.

With chapters on the very earliest comic strips, and on artists as diverse as Alan Moore, Carl Barks, Will Eisner and Jacques Tardi, Comics and the City is an important new collection of international scholarship that will help to define the field for many years to come.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780826440198
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date: 03/11/2010
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Jörn Ahrens teaches cultural sociology at Giessen University, Germany.

Arno Meteling teaches literature at the Westfalian Wilhelms-University Muenster in Germany.

Table of Contents

Notes on the Contributors vii

Introduction Jörn Ahrens Arno Meteling 1

I History, Comics, and the City

1 “Hully Gee, I'm a Hieroglyphe” — Mobilizing the Gaze and the Invention of Comics in New York City, 1895 Jens Balzer 19

2 Every Window Tells a Story: Remarks on the Urbanity of Early Comic Strips Ole Frahm 32

3 The City as Archive in Jason Lutes's Berlin Anthony Enns 45

II Refrofuturistic and Nostalgic Cities

4 “The Tomorrow That Never Was”—Retrofuturism in the Comics of Dean Motter Henry Jenkins 63

5 Remembrance of Things to Come: François Schuiten and Benoît Peeters's Cities of the Fantastic Stefanie Diekmann 84

6 Paris au pluriel: Depictions of the French Capital in Jacques Tardi's Comic Book Writing Michael Cuntz 101

III Superhero Cities

7 The Batman's Gotham City&Trade;: Story, Ideology, Performance William Uricchio 119

8 A Tale of Two Cities: Politics and Superheroics in Starman and Ex Machina Arno Meteling 133

9 The Radiant City: New York as Ecotopia in Promethea, Book V Anthony Lioi 150

10 “I Am New York”—Spider-Man, New York City and the Marvel Universe Jason Bainbridge 163

IV Locations of Crime

11 Will Eisner, Vaudevillian of the Cityscape Greg M. Smith 183

12 “A Fiction That We Must Inhabit”—Sense Production in Urban Spaces according to Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's From Hell Björn Quiring 199

13 The Ordinary Urban: 100 Bullets and the Clichés of Mass Culture Jörn Ahrens 214

V The City-Comic as a Mode of Reflection

14 Seeing the City through a Frame: Marc-Antoine Mathieu's Acquefacques Comics André Suhr 231

15 Calisota or Bust: Duckburg vs. Entenhausen in the Comics of Carl Barks Andreas Platthaus 247

16 Enki Bilal's Woman Trap: Reflections on Authorship under the Shifting Boundaries between Order and Terror in the City Thomas Becker 265

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