2018 – My publications

2018: The year most of my projects bloomed, when I finished my PhD, when I reworked my PhD thesis into a book (added 2 chapters, took one away) (to be published in 2020). In terms of non-academic achievements, I organized (almost alone) the comics festival in May, co-curated a major exhibition on comics in the National Széchényi Library, opened Hungary’s first community comics library. Basically a year when I worked my arse off.

1.Books I Edited

Turning The Page. Gendered Identities in Contemporary Literary and Visual Cultures. Ed. Kata Gyuris, Eszter Szép and Dóra Vecsernyés. L’Harmattan, Budapest. Download link.

2018 [Exhibition catalog, bilingual] Kép-regény-történet: A kilencedik művészet ikonjai Magyarországon. Ed. Eszter Szép. Országos Széchényi Könyvtár, Budapest, 2018.

2. Articles and Reviews in English

“Kids’n’Comics: An Equation with Variables to Rearrange.” Kids’n’Comics Exhibition Catalog, D17 Gallery, 2018. pp. 10-12.

“A review of Simon Grennan: A Theory of Narrative Drawing. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. 277 pp, 96,29 €.” INKS – The Journal of the Comics Studies Society, Summer 2018, pp. 261-264.

“A review of The Materiality of Writing. A Trace-Making Perspective. Edited by Christian Mosbæk Johaannessen and Theo van Leeuwen.” Image & Narrative. online.

“A review of Unflattening, Nick Sousanis (2015), Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 208 pp., ISBN: 9780674744431, p/bk, £18.95.” Studies in Comics 8.2. 262-264.

“Ben Katchor: A képregény túllép a próza kifejezési lehetőségein” [The title is in Hungarian, but the interview is in English] Ben Katchor: Conversations. Ed. Ian Gordon. University Press of Mississippi, 2018, pp. 152-154.

3. Articles and Reviews in Hungarian

“Metacomics: Poetics of Self-Reflection in Comics” [Metaképregény: Az önreflexivitás képregényes poétikái”][This is the Hungarian version of my article in Studies in Comics featuring examples taken from H. comics.]Intézményesülés, elbeszélések, médiumok: Tendenciák a kortárs magyar képregényben és képregénykutatásban II. ed. Ferenc Vincze, Szépirodalmi Figyelő Alapítvány, 2018, pp. 95-119. 

“Kölykök + képregények: egy régóta rendezésre váró egyenlet.” Kölykök + képregények kiállításkatalógus, D17 Galéria, 2018, pp. 7-9.

“Setting a Limit on Fantasy.” [in Hungarian. Original title: “A fantáziának határt szabni.”] Szépirodalmi Figyelő no. 3, 2018, pp. 100-104.

“Comics on the Power of Poetry: Nyugat + Zombik by Olivér Csepella.” [in Hungarian. Original title: “Képregény a költészet hatalmáról: Csepella Olivér: Nyugat + zombik.”] Alföld, vol. 69, no. 4, 2018, pp. 96-101.

“Comics Around the Globe Today: A Review of Gyula Maksa’s Comics in Intercultural Currents,” [ “A képregényről globálisan, ma: Maksa Gyula Képregények kultúraközi áramlatokban című könyvéről.”],
Médiakutató vol. 19, no. 1, 2018, pp. 97-99.

4. Non-Academic Writings on Comics in Hungarian

“Történetváz a fiókból – Michael Crichton: Dragon Teeth.kilencedik.hu/tortenetvaz-a-fiokbol-michael-crichton-dragon-teeth/

“Brit istenek – Gillen & McKelvie: The Wicked + The Divinekilencedik.hu/brit-istenek-gillan-mckelvie-the-wicked-the-divine/

“Hogyan került a szövegbuborék a képregénybe?” kilencedik.hu/szovegbuborek/

“A magyar képregény 2017-ben, kilenc pontban.” kilencedik.hu/a-magyar-kepregeny-2017-ben-kilenc-pontban/

“Mellékszereplők reflektorfényben: Paper Girls 1-4.” kilencedik.hu/paper-girls/

“Jessica Jones és a sötét.” kilencedik.hu/jessica-jones-es-a-sotet/

5. Extras

  • I co-curated a major comics exhibition
  • I co-founded the first comics library in Hungary

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Community Comics Library Opened on 13 Dec

Around two months ago Adam approached me with the idea of establishing a comics library. He had a vision of a bookshelf of comics donated by nice people. I immeditely loved the idea. We worked on it for two months. Discussed stuff. Made a Facebook page. The next thing we realized was that there are so many comics donated that there is no more place on our bookshelf and we need a new one. And within two days, someone donated a new bookshelf. This is how Hungary’s first comics library opened on 13 Dec.

Here are three things I particularly like about this project and that make me proud:

  1. It is a community initiative. For me, this means two things: everything is done on a voluntary basis, and this initiative has the potential to create a community around comics. If you have followed the news about Hungary recently, you could not have missed the political dissatisfaction that is shared by most Hungarians, even by those who do not protest. The biggest challenge in living in Hungary now, the way I see it, is that communities have been eroded. People do not work together, do not discuss stuff. Everyone is an island, alone (as in Houellebecq’s novel), isolated by what he or she presumes about others, but has never discussed. Moreover, in Hungary people are often suspicious about causes: politics has way to often preyed on causes and gutted them. I have high hopes that this library can be a place for some people to be part of a community and that we can transform the cause of making this library happen into maintaining this library.
  2. The library is located at Nem adom fel café, which translates as I don’t give up café. This is a special place, a community in itself: it is the first café of Budapest run by people with disabilities. They have been extremely welcoming from the first minute. Just like us, they would not have expected that we would open with nearly 400 copies of comics, really good ones, all donated. When it turned out that we need a second bookshelf, they immediately offered extra space for us to place it. I see a parallel between the perception of comics in Hungary and the perception of people. As comics are not visible (few bookshops sell them), people have only stereotypes about them: they are presumed to be non-serious and childish. But comics is more diverse than that. It is rich and interesting and multivocal. Just like people — and this is what Nem adom fel café shows to the world so perfectly. Get rid of your stereotypes, get to know the people and comics around you!
  3. The third thing I like is personal: the experience of working with Adam. He has more experience of community initiatives than I do. I learn a lot about trust. And about the risk involved in trusting a community with making something happen: they might not take part, or some comics might mysteriously disappear. But so far everyone has been positive: we had a lot of shares and positive comments on social media, 3 major news sites shared news about us. And, the best of all, the people who came to the opening really understood what this thing is about: they stayed for hours, they were browsing the collection, and strangers started discussing comics. It was an amazing experience.

We are planning to have some programs, but I think just to announce some dates of silent reading together is as much fun as a more organized program.

Here is our Facebook page, link. You can also find a lot of photos of the opening ceremony, or, rather, opening comics reading.

Here is our online catalog, link.

I would like to show you our logo and promo picture. The logo is the work of Gyula Németh, a Hungarian comics artist, and the promo pic is by Canadian Michael DeForge. Thank you, guys!

Catalog of Hungarian Comics I edited has been published

The bilingual catalog on the history of Hungarian comics that I edited in June has been published! And it is beautiful! Thanks to Judit Vincze for the amazing design!

The catalog is based on the material of our Comics as Narrative exhibition in the National Széchényi Library (14 May – 28 July 2018), and it provides a richly illustrted survey on Hungarian comics on 84 pages. The book is divided into two major sections, one on the history, and another one on the current tendencies of Hungarian comics. The short supporting texts were written by the curators of the exhibition, Ágnes Anikó Patonai, Rita Szűts-Novák, and myself.

katalc3b3gus-pc3a9ldc3a1nyok.jpg

On the structure of the volume:

Our introduction reaches back to word and image relations in the baroque emblem, and we also show the beginnings of Hungarian comics in 19th century magazine culture.

Literary adaptation comics were a defining tendency in the history of our comics, and several subchapters are devoted to this characteristic tendency that started in the 1950s. I really like the subchapter when different versions are placed next to each other: adaptations of the same novels by different artists are in dialogue, and so are draft and printed versions of the same page. We also devote a section to one of the most celebrated original author behind these adaptations, Jenő Rejtő, and to the afterlife of adaptation comics in the 1980s and onwards.

Literature is an important inspiration for contemporary Hungarian comics, and so is the quality of self-expression, which is most often associated with poetry (at least in Hungary). The subsections focus on two significant topics in the contemporary scene, alternative realities as in dreams, nightmares and fantasy, and metacomics.

And, as I have said, everything is available in English, not only in Hungarian. 🙂

Thanks for the artists and colleagues who made this amazing catalog possible!

 

Guest lecture on comics and the body

I am honored to be invited to talk at the next meeting of the Popular Culture Research Group at the School of English and American Studies at ELTE, Budapest (EASPop for short).

The talk will be in Hungarian, and it addresses my favourite topic, comics and the body. And behold the amazing poster that the group members have made for me based on a Winsor McCay page that I adore!

képregény és test easpop poszter

 

“Postmortemistical” Look: The Memory of Things and the Traces of Personhood in Roz Chast and Ben Katchor — Abstract

Here is the abstract of the paper I’m going to present at the Ninth International Graphic Novel and Comics Conference, Retro! Time, Memory, Nostalgia, @Bournemouth University, UK, 27-29 June 2018
“Postmortemistical” Look: The Memory of Things and the Traces of Personhood in Roz Chast and Ben Katchor

The paper investigates the ways personal relationships and memories are organized around objects and things, and how these are rearranged once the object/thing is no longer possessed by a person (due to death in Chast’s memoir, and due to abandonment in Katchor’s strips). Objects are represented in both examined comics, that is, in Roz Chast’s memoir about her last years with her parents and their deaths, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (Bloomsbury, 2014) and Ben Katchor’s collection of strips, Julius Knipl Real Estate Photographer: Stories (Little, Brown and Company 1996), as sites of a conflict between personal memory and an apersonal and atemporal existence.

In the paper I argue that in both Chast’s and Katchor’s comics, things and objects (cf. thing theory) exist in a limbo, and are used to investigate personality and personhood in scenarios of absence. Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? introduces the idea that objects, such as hairbrushes, bankbooks, photographs, and forgotten everyday objects play important and multiple roles in facing the frailty of memory, dementia and death. Things, for example old color pencils found in a drawer, represent both the past and the present, they simultaneously stand for deep personal connections and fond, and are accumulated junk the existence of which indicates future problems (can it be touched? can it be thrown away?). Likewise, Ben Katchor’s Julius Knipl Real Estate Photographer asks questions about the meaning of objects/things left behind: they exist simultaneously in a vacuum of interpretation and in the actuality of physical space. The things and objects are left behind, forgotten, stored, reserved, measured, bulked and sold, but most importantly, they are looked at and represented. The paper investigates the “postmortemistical” look (Chast) that frames these objects for the reader of the comics.

The paper utilizes questions raised by thing theory (Bill Brown and Jane Bennett), and it also builds on the materiality of living and the idea that even everyday and banal places preserve memory (reflecting on Pierre Nora’s concept). As far as methodology is concerned, I use close reading and compare recurring tropes.

knipl

 

Public lecture in Hungarian

I am going to give a public lecture tomorrow (4 Dec 2017) about the body and comics. It is partly based on my dissertation, but most of it is about my ongoing new project on the ways in which the body is involved in reading and interpreting comics. The lecture is aimed at the general public, and it will be in Hungarian. It is part three of a four-part lecture series at the Open Academy of Humanities, Budapest, given by members of the research group I am a founding member of (cf. Narratives of Culture and Identity Research Group.) Each talk is given by a different group member, and we focus on the body in space in as diverse media as computer games, distopic fiction, comics, narratology.

Here is the description of my talk in Hungarian:

III. 2017. december 4., hétfő 18.00 Képregényolvasás és testi referencia
Előad: Szép Eszter.
A képregényt nemcsak nézzük és olvassuk: az értelmezésbe az egész emberi test bevonódik. Az előadás olyan képregényeket vizsgál (főleg Katie Green, Miriam Katin és Joe Sacco műveit), amelyekben az alkotók reflektálnak a képregényolvasás taktilis és testi részére, és ráébresztik az olvasót, hogy mennyire nagy mértékben hagyatkozik testi tapasztalataira.
Helyszín, Pesti Bölcsész Akadémia, ELTE BTK, Múzeum krt. 4-6. Ifjúsági épület, III. em.

Exhibition Opening

Márton Hegedűs, author of what is called the first Hungarian graphic novel, will exhibit his work in his home town, Göd. (Göd is displayed as God in the English-speaking Internet, but that is just a coincidence. Residents of the place do not have any privileges in the afterlife.) I’ve known Márton for a year now, we took part and travelled to a comics conference in Cluj, Romania /Transylvania together. It was soooo much fun!
I love the humor of Márton’s illustration for children, and the complex ideas behind his comics for adults. So it is an honour that I can open this exhibition, though I’ve been warned that it will be a small one. But, seriously, who cares? 🙂

Here are some of Márton’s works:

A Series of Encyclopedia for Children called Ablak Zsiráf, which hints that the entirety of knowledge between letter A and letter Z are covered in the books. Literally, ablak means window, and zsiráf means giraffe, so the two protagonists of the series and returning characters of the illustrations are a window and a giraffe. They are really funny! They try everything out, they make fun of everything, and they are curious.

figura-ablak-suly figura-zsirafablakAZS_Jarmuvek_borito.indd

Illustration for Hungarian magazines >>> here is a link to Márton’s homepage for a lot of images: http://www.martonhegedus.com/illustrations

Comics: well, I can clearly identify with this one, as they are drinking coffee all the time 🙂 🙂

slussz01fent

slussz kulcs klan.indd

Extra: Animation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLFddpLrUug