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Simonetti, Paolo. "Why Are Comics No Longer Comic? Graphic narratives in contemporary america." Democracy and Difference. The US in Multidisciplinary and Comparative Perspectives. Eds. Giovanna Covi and Lisa Marchi. Labirinti. Trento: Università degli Studi di Trento, 2012. 289–99. 
Added by: joachim (12/2/14, 2:54 PM)   
Resource type: Book Chapter
Language: en: English
BibTeX citation key: Simonetti2012
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Categories: General
Keywords: "ACME Novelty Library", "In the Shadow of No Towers", Humor, Spiegelman. Art, USA, Ware. Chris
Creators: Covi, Marchi, Simonetti
Publisher: Università degli Studi di Trento (Trento)
Collection: Democracy and Difference. The US in Multidisciplinary and Comparative Perspectives
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In 2004 Art Spiegelman remarked that “Comics may no longer be the ‘real name’ for a narrative medium that intimately intertwines words and pictures but isn’t necessarily comic in tone.” Though he was specifically referring to the ongoing dispute over the appropriateness of the term “graphic novel,” he was also underlining a rising trend in recent comics, namely, their increasing seriousness. It seems that, in order to write memoirs, historical reconstructions, and family dramas, comics artists are no longer allowed to convey the fun that they originally expressed through ‘funnies.’ Spiegelman himself, the author of Maus and In the Shadow of no Towers, said that he was “shocked” by Roberto Benigni’s movie La vita è bella, because it banalizes and trivializes the Holocaust. Something similar happened in the aftermath of 9/11, with comedians and journalists arguing for weeks over when (and whether at all) it was safe to laugh and joke again. It seems that after such tragedies, writing (comic) comics is “barbarious.” Though critics dismiss political comedy because it trivializes serious issues and fuels public cynicism, comedy and democracy are inextricably connected, as American writers have always known. Supporters argue that, being such a powerful tool for criticism, historical and political satire is the basis of any democracy, because it fosters interest in political issues and in historical crucial events among otherwise apathetic audiences, while helping people to understand the world around them. The aim of my paper is to investigate such a trend by analyzing some of the most representative historical graphic novels published in the last years, in order to show how history and democracy are visually represented after the demise of postmodernism, in the shadows of 9/11 and at the beginning of what President Obama has saluted as a new age of responsibility.
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