Oxford Comics Network probes The Holocaust in comics, also announces Tom Gauld event

The Oxford Comics Network has announced a new series of events, starting on the 7th May with “Early Holocaust Narratives in Comics”.

Philip Smith of the University of The Bahamas seeks to examine representations of the death camps, particularly in horror comics such as Impact, Voodoo, and Witches Tales. This event will take place at TORCH on Woodstock Road, Oxford.

"Master Race" by Bill Gaines, Al Feldstein and Bernie Krigstein

“Master Race” by Bill Gaines, Al Feldstein and Bernie Krigstein

Traditional narratives of Holocaust literature typically begin in the 1950s with the English-language publication of Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl and, following the Eichmann trial, the outpouring of testimony, fiction, and public discourse. Survivors, such narratives typically suggest, were generally unwilling to talk about their experiences prior to the 1960s and while the fact of the Holocaust was acknowledged in chronicles of World War Two, it did not take a central place.

The one area where the Holocaust was being explored long before the Eichmann trail and the ‘Americanisation’ that was to follow, however, was in horror comics. Titles such as Impact, Voodoo, and Witches Tales all feature comics which, either directly or through allusion, reference the Holocaust.

Philip’s paper seeks to examine representations of the death camps. In many cases these stories anticipate later forms of public discourse of the Holocaust.

Tom Gauld

Eisner Award winner Tom Gauld

On 21st May, events continue with “A Conversation with Tom Gauld”. Tom is a cartoonist and illustrator whose comic strips and illustrations appear weekly in The Guardian and New Scientist and regularly in the New Yorker. He is the author of the comic books Goliath, You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, Mooncop (a New York Times bestseller) and Baking with Kafka (winner of Best Humour Publication at the 2018 Eisner Awards). He’ll be interviewed by Alex Fitch, the presenter of Panel Borders, the UK’s only monthly broadcast radio show about comics on Resonance FM, the Arts Council station in London. This event is co-organised with Blackwell’s.

Last but not least, on 5th July the Network will host an international conference on Comics & Travel. – a programme and registration information will be coming soon.

The Oxford Comics Network is part of TORCH, a nucleus of intellectual energy for the humanities and a place to develop new ideas and collaborations both within and beyond academia. Since its creation, TORCH has raised over £3 million in grants and philanthropy to support researchers to develop research projects and  provides an important opportunity for Oxford’s humanities scholars to collaborate with researchers across other disciplines, and institutions; work with academics across all stages of their academic careers; develop partnerships with public and private institutions; engage with wider audiences; and bring together academic research, diverse industries, and the performing arts.

• Oxford Comic Network is online at www.torch.ox.ac.uk/comics | Facebook | Twitter

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