Comics are getting popular again

comics

Picture history has a long cultural tradition in Germany. The story of the Eneasroman by Heinrich von Veldeke in the "Berliner Manschrift" from around 1220, whose actors communicate with one another in banners, can be regarded as an early visual novel. [1] From Albrecht Dürer, Max Klinger and Käthe Kollwitz to Johann Heinrich Ramberg, Lothar Meggendorfer and Wilhelm Busch to Erich Ohser and Ralf König, a diverse and rich oeuvre of picture stories pervades German culture.

Nevertheless, comics have a difficult time in this country: While a lively comic culture developed in the USA, France and Belgium that still exists today, comics were not taken seriously in Germany for a long time.

Stigma of the dirty booklet

When "Der Spiegel" reported on March 21, 1951 in the article "Comic - Opium in der Kinderstube" about the anti-comic campaign running in the USA, what was especially true of horror comics on the other side of the Atlantic became generalized in this country Broadcast comics. The Volkswartbund, educators and politicians covered comics with a rubbish and filth campaign, burned them at the stake and branded their readers as illiterate and potential criminals. "Demanding" publishers refused to produce comics and left the offer to the import industry or "trivial publishers". [2]

This pejorisation was supported by the fact that most of the comics in the Federal Republic were imported goods and therefore not culturally rooted. In fact, in Germany before the war, comic series of German and foreign origin appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines, such as "Mickey Mouse". In particular, booklets for children, such as "Parrot", "Dideldum" and "Schmetterling", had a rich selection. [3] However, no comic industry of its own had developed in Germany. Thus, comics in this country had only been perceived as a high-circulation mass phenomenon in the post-war newspapers and kiosk magazines with the comic series imported from the USA. A latent hostility towards images that has only been postulated since the 1990s iconic turn slowly dissolved, as well as the reference of the comics to the field of trivial mass entertainment or children's reading had left little chance of cultural acceptance. When the big publishers and the book trade refused to accept comics, there were only comparatively few German in-house productions - the best-known are Rolf Kazier's "Fix und Foxi". In the GDR, on the other hand, as a reaction to the obvious interest in comics, in addition to the series of magazines "Mosaik", from 1955 the magazine "Atze" by the Junge Pioneers appeared, which used picture stories as a means of political-socialist education.

Only in the course of the 1968 movement and supported by a comic exhibition including a conference at the Academy of the Arts in Berlin in 1970 did the perspective change. However, opinions remained divided: If some saw comics as a cultural value, for others they were a manipulative offer from the entertainment industry - "mass drawing goods" [4] in the spirit of Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno's criticism of the entertainment industry with regard to its commodity character and a secret upbringing in the sense of the rulers in the capitalist system.

Despite constant criticism, however, the realization grew that comics are not per se lacking in quality and can also convey positive values. Scientific works and popular guides began to examine the content, aesthetics and history of comics as well as their impact and reception requirements. For the first time, the Institute for Youth Book Research at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main has approved a corresponding DFG research project. [5] Young teachers and scientists opened little windows for comics in teaching, teaching and research and sought to sensitize educators, parents and library employees to this type of reading at specialist conferences. However, this supposed momentum of the 1970s turned out to be a flash in the pan. The revised view was limited to a relatively small circle of interested parties. The presence of the comics in schools and universities was rather marginal; there was hardly any reflection on them in the press, radio and television.