Inkers and Thinkers 2014 – Representations of Violence in Waltz with Bashir: A Lebanon War Story by Jeanne-Marie Viljoen

The second block of presentations at Inkers and Thinkers 2014 focused on Graphic Representations, the way comics can be used to represent violence, creative voice/style, and the landscape. The first presentation in this block was from Jeanne-Marie Viljoen looking at representations of violence in Waltz with Bashir: A Lebanon War Story with comparisons between the graphic novel and animated film.


Abstract –

Exploring comics’ unique combination of art and text allows them to represent what would otherwise be ‘invisible’.

Representing experiences of war and conflict in comics allows depictions of what has escaped from memory and is sometimes considered too horrific to represent. Comics, with their unique combination of words and images, radically blur the boundary between experience and representation. Comics are not the only medium that does this. Just as in film, in comics one is able to simultaneously experience the “‘nowness’ and ‘hereness’” of the self-conscious reading process as well as “the assault” on one’s senses as one experiences the extreme events depicted through the medium (Sobchack 2009: n.p.). This paper will explore this notion by examining Folman and Polonsky’s graphic novel representation of the Lebanese War in 1982 and the infamous ensuing Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camp massacres, Waltz with Bashir: A Lebanon War Story (Folman and Polonsky 2009). This example is used because of the potential of image-rich comics to “intensify and make more self-conscious the ways our eyes and minds interact with whatever’s on the page or screen” ─ comics are both performative texts that construct experience of the moment and simultaneously draw attention to their own construction (Hatfield 2008: 130). This paper will also scrutinize the animated documentary, another representational form which attempts to cross the boundary between experience and representation. The additional power of the animated documentary to show what was hitherto thought of as ‘invisible’ to concealed from live action film – subjective emotions – (Honess Roe 2011:217) is also considered. However, this paper argues that comics, innovatively used as a combination of images, words and sequencing ─ do more because they involve the embodied reader actively in the story-telling. This paper contends that when reading a comic the reader is knowingly constructing the story that he/she is experiencing in an intense image-rich way that is not constrained by the ordinary linear logic of books. In the vein of the pre-eminent cultural critic, Edward Said, this paper will posit a position that urges readers to consider political comics as rich repositories from which to advance their knowledge of the experience of war and conflict. Following Said’s remarks in his memorable introduction to Joe Sacco’s comic Palestine, this paper declares that “[c]omics play[ed] havoc with the logic of a+b+c+d and they certainly encourage[ed] one not to think in terms of what the teacher expects[ed] or what a subject like history demands[ed]” (Said, cited in Sacco, 2003 ii). The reader’s feeling on reading the comic becomes part of the representation itself. Thus, this paper suggests that comics allow one to think beyond what is expected and show what is ‘imperceptible’ in some other representational forms. Comics broaden one’s repertoire of experience and representation in a way that is particularly useful in the representation of war and conflict when trauma has obliterated experience or it has become ‘unrepresentable’ because it is so horrific.


Bio –

Jeanne-Marie Viljoen is a PhD candidate at the University of South Australia at the Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding in the School of Communications, International Relations and Languages.


Inkers and Thinkers 2014 – M3D143N717Y: Letting the Network Take Over by Annick Pellegrin

Annick had the privilege of presenting the very first paper at Inkers and Thinkers 2014. Unfortunately the recording missed the first few minutes of her presentation. Annick’s presentation completes the first block of the Inkers and Thinkers symposium, which focused on the role of technology and digital tools in the consumption, creation and culture of comic books.


M3D143N717Y: Letting the Network Take Over by Annick Pellegrin

Released online in episodes from November 2012, and as a hardcover comic book by éditions Delcourtin August 2013, MediaEntity.01 is the first of four volumes in a series titled MediaEntity.[1] Marketed as a “thriller d’anticipation paranoïaque” (a paranoid science fiction thriller), the series follows the misadventures of the first victim of “mediatic mutation”, Eric Magoni, who must flee when his login is used to cause the bank where he works to lose five billion euros.[2] As is explained in the series trailer, a “mediatic mutation” occurs when an online identity takes on a life of its own and photographs of events that never took place begin appearing on screens.[3]


While the series, the second volume of which is soon to be released, focuses on the dangers of sharing personal information through online social networks and warns readers with statements such as “Switch off your life! Become invisible! The network will take over yout [sic] identity…” it also relies on its readers’ knowledge and use of such networks.[4] Notably the authors invite readers to get involved through a variety of media and by allowing them to copy, modify and redistribute their work under the creative commons licence.


To what extent does the series fit its label as a “paranoid” thriller? What is the place of social media in this series? To what extent does the use of digital and online media in this series contribute to innovate francophone comics? To what extent can the series be said to be a participative one?


[1]Emilie & Simon, MediaEntity. 01, MediaEntity, vol. 1, Paris: Delcourt, 2013; Emilie & Simon, “Episodes”, (06/01/2014); Emilie & Simon, MediaEntity, Emilie & Simon l’interview vidéo, Interview by Jacques Viel, 10/10/2013, (05/01/2014).

[2]MediaEntity: 1er Dossier de presse en Réalité Augmentée!, Paris: Delcourt, 2013; Emilie & Simon, “Episode 1”, (06/01/2014); Emilie & Simon, “Episode 2”, (06/01/2014).

[3]MEDIAENTITY, “Bande Annonce”, (26/10/2012), (06/01/2014).

[4]Emilie & Simon, MediaEntity. 02, MediaEntity, vol. 2, Paris: Delcourt, 2014; Emilie & Simon, “Home”, (06/01/2014).



Annick graduated from The University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts (Languages) (Honours) in 2009, with majors in French, Spanish, Italian and Linguistics. Her Honours thesis was completed under a joint supervision between the Department of French Studies (Associate Professor Bronwyn Winter) and the Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies (Dr. Vek Lewis) and she was the first student to complete the honours program in the latter department. “Tintin and the Secret of Satire”, her thesis, was a study of the satire and the parody in Tintin et les Picaros, by the Belgian Hergé. Annick returned to The University of Sydney as a PhD candidate and recently completed her thesis “(Not) Looking Together in the Same Direction”, a comparative study of “Latin American” self-representation and the Franco-Belgian gaze on “Latin America” in a selection of “Latin American” and Franco-Belgian comics. Her full biogrpahy and list of publications can be found here.

Inkers and Thinkers 2014 – Deviants’ Art and Fanzinshi: The Quiet Riots and Pixellated Protests in Russia’s SNS- enabled Manga by Antonija Cavcic

Our second presentation from the Inkers and Thinkers Symposium comes from Murdoch University’s Antonija Cavcic. Antonija could not attend the event in person as she was away in Japan on research but we were able to arrange for this YouTube presentation and then a Skype call afterwards.


Deviants’ Art and Fanzinshi: The Quiet Riots and Pixellated Protests in Russia’s SNS- enabled Manga by Antonija Cavcic

In the wake of the Pussy Riot trial, it is fair to assume that anti-establishment sentiment has lingered even after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Such phenomena as the seminal samizdat works produced under KGB scrutiny, the current IT-enabled dissemination of explicit content in Russian original, parodic, and scanlated manga (based on the Japanese tradition of self-published homoerotic manga known as yaoi), and the plethora of networks where Russian fans can share files and content ordinarily filtered out by Russian ISPs, indicate a relentless desire to produce and proliferate content unfit for Orthodox ideological frameworks in Russia. By examining several web-enabled avenues of expression, file-sharing, and interaction amongst avid Russian manga artists, this paper will attempt to demonstrate the extent to which these practices have evaded Russian censors, and thus illustrate how the ideological hammer enmeshed in identity politics inevitably became entangled in the World Wide Web.



Currently a PhD candidate at Murdoch University, her research interests include the parallels between women’s progressive publishing practices in Victorian Britain and contemporary Japan, food media and celebrity chef culture, and gender and sexuality in Japanese culture.

Proudly powered by WordPress
Theme: Esquire by Matthew Buchanan.