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Dony, Christophe ULg; Habrand, Tanguy ULg; Meesters, Gert

in Dony, Christophe; Habrand, Tanguy; Meesters, Gert (Eds.) La bande dessinée en dissidence : alternative, indépendance, auto-édition / Comics in Dissent: Alternative, Independence, Self-Publishing (2014)

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See detailIntroduction (version française)
Dony, Christophe ULg; Habrand, Tanguy ULg; Meesters, Gert

in Dony, Christophe; Habrand, Tanguy; Meesters, Gert (Eds.) La bande dessinée en dissidence : alternative, indépendance, auto-édition / Comics in Dissent: Alternative, Independence, Self-Publishing (2014)

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See detailLa bande dessinée en dissidence : alternative, indépendance, auto-édition / Comics in Dissent: Alternative, Independence, Self-Publishing
Dony, Christophe ULg; Habrand, Tanguy ULg; Meesters, Gert

Book published by Presses Universitaires de Liège (2014)

This volume investigates the complex notion of dissent as it can be applied to contemporary comics in confronting field and market logic, legitimation strategies, and social, cultural, political and ... [more ▼]

This volume investigates the complex notion of dissent as it can be applied to contemporary comics in confronting field and market logic, legitimation strategies, and social, cultural, political and aesthetic discourses. How do artists and/or publishing structures distance themselves from a certain idea of the established order? In what ways do they challenge the existing systems and environments in which they operate? How can we characterize the many guises and sometimes conflicting objectives of a generally self-conscious (counter-)culture? And what kinds of symbolic exchanges can we observe between artistic and critical discourses? These are some of the questions that the here gathered essays explore in considering the practices and strategies of either so-called and/or selfproclaimed independent or alternative comics artists or publishers. [less ▲]

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See detailReassessing the Mainstream vs. Alternative/Independent Dichotomy or, the Double Awareness of the Vertigo Imprint
Dony, Christophe ULg

in Dony, Christophe; Habrand, Tanguy; Meesters, Gert (Eds.) La bande dessinée en dissidence / Comics in Dissent (2014)

This article examines how the traditional mainstream vs. alternative/independent dichotomy usually employed to characterize the cultural production of comics in the US may have become outdated, and ... [more ▼]

This article examines how the traditional mainstream vs. alternative/independent dichotomy usually employed to characterize the cultural production of comics in the US may have become outdated, and perhaps even obsolete, when considering and analyzing the editorial policies and ideological agenda of Vertigo, DC’s adult-oriented imprint. More specifically, this essay sheds light on how Vertigo engages in a critical, ironic, and sometimes ambiguous discourse with both the history of the medium and staple practices and traditions from the mainstream and alternative wings of the American comics production. In so doing, I maintain that Vertigo is characterized by a hybrid identity and has developed a “double awareness” that allows it to appeal to both mainstream and alternative audiences. Vertigo’s hybridity, however, is not devoid of cultural, political, and even sociological implications that upset the categories of reception and production structuring the field of American comics. These implications underlying both the hybrid character of the label and its concomitant politics of demarcation in regards to the mainstream/alternatve dialectic will first be explored through the label’s obsession with processes of rewriting and recuperation, and second, through a close-reading of some of Vertigo promotional books’ covers. [less ▲]

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See detailThe rewriting ethos of the Vertigo imprint: critical perspectives on memory-making and canon formation in the American comics field
Dony, Christophe ULg

in Comicalités : Études de Culture Graphique (2014)

This essay investigates how and why strategies of rewriting have been central to Vertigo’s poetics and editorial project for over twenty years. Drawing notably on the works of Harold Bloom, Thierry ... [more ▼]

This essay investigates how and why strategies of rewriting have been central to Vertigo’s poetics and editorial project for over twenty years. Drawing notably on the works of Harold Bloom, Thierry Groensteen, and Geoffrey Klock, it first proceeds to establish the relevance of the concept of rewriting as it can be applied to comics (studies), particularly in showing how inter- and hypertextual relations are inherently connected to issues of nostalgia, memory as well as lineage, and therefore to processes of (self-)canonization and discourses of cultural legitimacy. It then moves on to identify some of the label's rewriting trends and discusses how they engage both intro- and retrospectively with the comics form, its history, and its (renewed) perception in the American context. More specifically, in recurrently paying homage to the DC archive, the pulp heritage, as well as to the Gothic tradition, it is my contention that Vertigo has participated in a critical logic of commemoration that distances itself from the mnemonic discourses championed by both the mainstream and alternative poles of the comics industry. In so doing, Vertigo may have attempted to create a canon of its own while certainly challenging Groensteen's claim that comics is an “art without memory”. But perhaps more importantly, the essay concludes that Vertigo's cherishing of specific rewriting strategies has helped it adopt a politics of demarcation in regards to the structuring forces of the American comics field, a politics that not only subverts the field's power relations dynamics but also “writes back” to its practices of domination and exclusion. [less ▲]

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See detailEntre références et irrévérence : 20 ans de bandes dessinées made in Vertigo
Dony, Christophe ULg

Article for general public (2013)

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See detailAutour du super-héro: Variations et réécritures au sein du label Vertigo
Dony, Christophe ULg

Conference given outside the academic context (2013)

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See detailVertigo's Archival Impulse as Memorious Discourse
Dony, Christophe ULg

in Comics Forum (2013)

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See detailThe Rewriting Ethos of Vertigo Comics, or, Critical Perspectives on Memory-Making, Canonization, and the Logic of Fields
Dony, Christophe ULg

Conference (2013, May 25)

Vertigo, DC’s adult-oriented imprint, is often praised for having “fully joined the fight for adult readers” in the early 1990s (Weiner 2010: 10). Yet, little attention has been devoted to how this ... [more ▼]

Vertigo, DC’s adult-oriented imprint, is often praised for having “fully joined the fight for adult readers” in the early 1990s (Weiner 2010: 10). Yet, little attention has been devoted to how this “fight” has been played out. My contention is that Vertigo may have “redefined” the comics medium in developing a specific poetics which can be subsumed, albeit perhaps reductively, under the idea of “rewriting.” Intertextual strategies indeed pervade the Vertigo catalogue. The core titles that launched the label in the early 1990s (The Sandman, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Hellblazer, Shade The Changing Man, and Doom Patrol), for example, are all critical transformations of characters from the DC universe. Other series such as Fables and Preacher critically engage with the revision and challenging of certain genres such as the Western or the fairy-tale. Yet other Vertigo narratives such as Uncle Sam, The Nobody, and Greendale rewrite and reinvent existing icons, stories, and cultural artefacts. This “rewriting ethos” seems pivotal to Vertigo’s development of a critical discourse on the history of the medium, to comics’ renewed perception and search for legitimacy. In exploring the specificities and implications of these intro- and retrospective discourses, I would like to show that Vertigo participates in a logic of commemoration and canon-making. More specifically, I would like to argue that Vertigo has used strategies of rewriting to support a distinctive agenda in the field of comics historiography, acquire “symbolic capital” (honor, prestige) and thereby possibly create a canon of its own which 1. undermines the dynamics of power relations structuring the field of American comics and 2. challenges Thierry Groensteen’s claim that comics is an “art without memory” that “gladly cultivates amnesia” (2006: 67, my translation). [less ▲]

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See detail(In)Visible Bodies: Rewriting the Politics of Passing in Incognegro, a Graphic Mystery by Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece
Dony, Christophe ULg

Conference (2013, January 03)

How can passing across racial lines be described and conveyed in the comics form? Can the medium develop specific strategies to comment on the themes of transgression and crossing inherent to the trope of ... [more ▼]

How can passing across racial lines be described and conveyed in the comics form? Can the medium develop specific strategies to comment on the themes of transgression and crossing inherent to the trope of passing? This paper shows how the graphic novel Incognegro (2008) goes beyond the traditional socio-historical analysis of passing and plays thematically, generically, and visually with the politics of the trope. Incognegro, set in the US in the early 1930s, depicts a light-skinned African American reporter who passes for white in order to investigate lynchings of blacks in the deep South. Because white papers do not consider these events to be news, the reporter condemns these dreadful acts in the column titled “Incognegro” that he writes for a New York-based newspaper, The New Holland Herald. Thus he risks his life using his “passing abilities” to protect the rights of the community he is trying to defend from white hegemony. In this way, Incognegro challenges the conventional tragic mulatto figure that passes for white to avoid racism and violence or to improve his/her social status. In addition, it echoes the common black trickster figure who practices “masking” to outwit his enemies or opponents, and calls into question the biological, social, and cultural representations of race as perceived by the white dominant group. Here the racial passer functions as an “outsider from within” who can challenge the black vs. white binary model. Moreover, the text subverts narrative paradigms from superhero comics and detective fiction to point out the arbitrariness of racial ideologies and the fallibility of notions of justice and truth. This subversion is further complicated by the comic’s “color free” art (black and white, sans halftones or gray tones), which defies essentialist representations of race. In sum, Incognegro argues that the ambiguities of racial categorization are best represented through a similarly ambiguous literary genre—one that not only challenges generic norms and traditions but also “writes back” to both the mainstream and alternative wings of American comics production. [less ▲]

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See detailLe Décalage, Marc-Antoine Matthieu (Delcourt, 2013)
Dony, Christophe ULg

Article for general public (2013)

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See detailTowards a Vocabulary of Displacement and Utopian Possibilities: Reading Shaun Tan's 'The Arrival' as a Crossover Text
Dony, Christophe ULg

in Studies in Comics (2012), 3(1), 83-106

Taking Shaun Tan’s The Arrival as a case study, this article examines how the idea of ‘crossing over’ goes beyond the mere mixing of characters and worlds that currently defines the ‘crossover’ phenomenon ... [more ▼]

Taking Shaun Tan’s The Arrival as a case study, this article examines how the idea of ‘crossing over’ goes beyond the mere mixing of characters and worlds that currently defines the ‘crossover’ phenomenon in the jargon of comics studies. More specifically, I probe how the term ‘crossover’ is connected to issues of fragmentation, dis/connection and dis/continuity, and thereby argue that it shares similarities with the concepts of dislocation and hybridity that have animated the debates of postcolonial literatures and diasporic scholarship for decades. Following that line of reasoning, then, I explore how in engaging with historical and translinear spatio-temporal relations, The Arrival moves between worlds and genres in order to destabilize fixed or preformatted aesthetic and cultural norms and traditions. Drawing on Françoise Král’s study of contemporary diasporic fiction, Marianne Hirsch’s concept of ‘postmemory’ and Graham Huggan’s exploration of ‘travelling theory’, I show how The Arrival visually and thematically articulates ‘migratory aesthetics’ and ‘diasporic tropes’ in order to reassess how the parameters of memory, time and place overlap and interact. In so doing, I maintain that Tan’s graphic narrative presents a chorus of migrants’ memories and experiences through which the personal, the collective and the historical intersperse. Finally, I conclude that in enacting the ramifications and consequences underlying the concept of ‘crossing over’, Tan’s narrative opens up a new space that not only questions the dogmatic national container, but retains utopian possibilities as well, including how reaching out to the other helps challenge binary models such as us/them, colonizer/colonized and nature/mankind. [less ▲]

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See detail"Notes for a War Story"
Dony, Christophe ULg

in Beaty, Bart; Weiner, Stephen (Eds.) Critical Survey of Graphic Novels: Independents and Underground Classics (2012)

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See detailFreedom, Memory, and Identity: The Paradoxical Individual/Collective Dialectic in Steve Darnall and Alex Ross’s Graphic Novel 'Uncle Sam'
Dony, Christophe ULg

Conference (2012, March)

As his star-spangled costume and his usually firm posturing suggest, Uncle Sam impersonates the United States and symbolically reflects the nation’s most cherished values and ideals such as freedom ... [more ▼]

As his star-spangled costume and his usually firm posturing suggest, Uncle Sam impersonates the United States and symbolically reflects the nation’s most cherished values and ideals such as freedom, exceptionalism, and (masculine) strength. As such, he connects the projects of nationalism and patriotism with the scale of the individual. In other words, he embodies the American motto ‘out of many, one.’ Steve Darnall and Alex Ross’s rewriting of the character, however, strongly contrast with this dominant perception of Uncle Sam in their eponymous 1997 graphic novel. Their narrative shows a distressed and lunatic homeless man wandering the streets of an unknown American city. As he roams the streets, he undergoes an identity crisis that coincides with a crisis of memory, both of which complicate the relation between the symbolic individual body and the collective American unconscious. On the one hand, the character represents the values of freedom and democracy that the US government has strived to implement. On the other, he realizes that the paradigm of the nation cannot be understood as a monolithic entity, and that the plurality of voices that inhabit his persona – and, quite paradoxically, the country – cannot uphold this meta-narrative of American unity. In asking whether or not Uncle Sam is one of U.S., Darnall and Ross comment on the paradoxes of freedom and the myth of the melting pot. [less ▲]

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See detailMoving Between Worlds: 'The Arrival'
Dony, Christophe ULg

in The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship. Year One (2012), 1

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See detailReview of Françoise Kral's 'Critical Identities in Contemporary Anglophone Diasporic Literature'
Dony, Christophe ULg

in South Asian Diaspora (2012), 4(1), 117-119

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See detailL'Association. Une utopie éditoriale et esthétique
Groupe ACME; Dejasse, Erwin ULg; Habrand, Tanguy ULg et al

Book published by Les Impressions nouvelles (2011)

L’Association, Une utopie éditoriale et esthétique est le premier volume d’histoire et d’analyse consacré à ce projet à tous égards exceptionnel. Richement illustré, interrogeant l’économie globale du ... [more ▼]

L’Association, Une utopie éditoriale et esthétique est le premier volume d’histoire et d’analyse consacré à ce projet à tous égards exceptionnel. Richement illustré, interrogeant l’économie globale du collectif, ses auteurs et ses réalisations, mais aussi ses crises de croissance, L’Association, Une utopie éditoriale et esthétique est aussi l’œuvre de passionnés de bande dessinée. Passant d’un chapitre chronologique à une étude sémiotique, d’un article critique à une analyse esthétique, l’ouvrage forme un ensemble généreux et passionnant. Il offre plus de deux cents pages d’images célèbres et de documents rares qui nous donnent envie de (re)découvrir les auteurs et les albums de L’Association. Bel hommage éditorial, ce superbe album donne à voir et à comprendre vingt ans d’édition et de croisades esthétiques. [less ▲]

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See detailComix 2000
Dony, Christophe ULg

in Groupe ACME (Ed.) L'Association: Une utopie éditoriale et esthétique (2011)

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See detailL’image a la parole: 73304-23-4153-6-96-8
Dony, Christophe ULg

in Groupe Acme (Ed.) L'Association: Une utopie éditoriale et esthétique (2011)

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