Singer, Rüdiger: "Cute monsters and early birds. Foreignness in graphic novels on migration by Shaun Tan and Paula Bulling." In: Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics 11.1 (2020), S. 74–95.
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|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Singer2020
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Keywords: "Im Land der Frühaufsteher", "The Arrival", Australia, Bulling. Paula, Documentary comics, Germany, Interculturalism, Narratology, Tan. Shaun, Themes and motives
Collection: Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics
This paper contrasts two opposite approaches within the presently booming field of comics on migration, namely Paula Bulling's German documentary comic book Im Land der Frühaufsteher (In the Land of Early Birds or Early Risers) and Shaun Tan's wordless fictional narrative The Arrival. Both engage with the topic of migration and aim to (re)create a sense of foreignness and alienation for their readers that mirrors the experiences of the characters portrayed in the comics. However, the paper suggests that The Arrival leaves readers with a sense of strangeness mastered and enjoyed while Im Land der Frühaufsteher elicits a sense of constant confusion. Drawing on research on the rhetorical effects of narrative beginnings, the paper demonstrates that the reader's initial experiences with the text foreshadow the reading experience of the entire graphic novel. It then discusses two aspects of specific relevance to the theme of foreignness: first, the relationship between different points of view and the depiction of communication and second, the use of visual strategies ranging from a visual mode to specific symbols. It also reflects on the autobiographical background of both comics and the ethics behind the authors' different uses of the theme of foreignness.
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