SJoCA 2: 1 – From the Land of the Midnight Sun: Nordic History and Cultural Memory in Comics

Published: Autumn 2015

Complete Issue (pdf)

Table of Contents

Editorial (pdf)

p. 1-5


David Gudmundsson: The Ghost who Walks Goes North: Early Modern Sweden in The Phantom, 1987–2008 | Article (pdf)

Ever since its first appearance in 1950, the Swedish edition of Lee Falk’s The Phantom (Swe. Fantomen) has been one of the most popular comic magazines in Sweden. Some of the most active contributors to Fantomen in recent decades have been the Swedish and Nordic comics creators who make up the so-called “Team Fantomen.” Characteristic for “Team Fantomen” is their many historical stories. Since the key concept of the Phantom legend is that the role of the Phantom has been inherited in the Walker family since the mid-16th century, history holds a central place in Fantomen’s world. This article is about Fantomen’s depiction of early modern Swedish history. Its approach is that of historiography, cultural memory, and the uses of history. The aim of the article is to analyze how this period is represented in nine issues of Fantomen from 1987 to 2008. How are rulers, wars, religious beliefs, and well known events depicted in Fantomen? How does fiction relate to facts? How are language and images used to create an historical atmosphere?

p. 6-24

Asuka Yamazaki: The Body, Despair, and Hero Worship: A Comparative Study of the Influence of Norse Mythology in Attack on Titan | Article (pdf)

The Japanese comic Attack on Titan has become greatly popular, currently with a circulation of more than forty million. Its worldwide popularity crosses national and generational boundaries, and it has been translated into numerous European and Asian languages. Attack on Titan presents a more than a century long battle between the human race and the Titans, whose ruthless hunting and devouring of human beings has forced the last of humanity into a fortress surrounded by three enormous, concentric walls.

This article studies the influence of Norse mythology on Attack on Titan from an aesthetic and philosophical perspective. It focuses in part on the Titan legend, including Attack on Titan’s unique figure Ymir, who is compared with an important creature in Norse mythology, the giant Ymir. It also focuses on similarities between the motif of the wall in this comic and of the Miðgarðr in Norse myth. Finally, the paper analyzes the structure of hero worship in Attack on Titan in relation to mythological concepts, especially the metaphorical ritual of extracting a warrior’s heart and the image of the damaged body of the warrior.

p. 25-49

Rikke Platz Cortsen: Stockholm/Copenhagen/Oslo: Translation and Sense of Place in Martin Kellerman’s Comic Strip Rocky | Article (pdf)

The Swedish comic strip Rocky has been translated to Danish and Norwegian and, in this process, its protagonist has changed nationality and hometown; Danish and Norwegian readers experience him as someone from their own cultural sphere. This article uses geographer Doreen Massey’s concept of place as progressive and structural comics theory to understand how this transition is possible. The article analyzes how different places in Rocky are constructed through the use of image and text and specifically, how the lack of place-specific visual elements and the strip’s extensive use of text is central to how it can be transformed to fit a different setting. The drawings support a general sense of place, but are rarely Stockholm-specific. However, from time to time, image and text clash, and what readers might think of as Norway or Denmark suddenly looks very Swedish.

p. 50-71


Dan Hassler-Forest: Adrift in the Urban Maze
Ahrens, Jörn and Arno Meteling (eds.). Comics and the City: Urban Space in Print, Picture and Sequence. New York, Continuum, 2010. | Review (pdf)

p. 72-76

Eric Berlatsky: A Review of From Comic Strips to Graphic Novels
Stein, Daniel and Jan-Noël Thon. From Comic Strips to Graphic Novels: Contributions to the Theory and History of Graphic Narrative. Berlin, Walter de Gruyter, 2013. | Review (pdf)

p. 77-84

Fred Andersson: Choosing the Easy Way Out – Neil Cohn and His Visual Lexicons
Cohn, Neil. The Visual Language of Comics: Introduction to the Structure and Cognition of Visual Images. Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2013. | Review (pdf)

p. 85-90



Page 88, second paragraph, fifth row should read: ‘A question mark or a light bulb appearing above a character’s head is called “upfix”; speed indicators replacing body parts or the whole body are called “umlaut” or “suppletion”; a repetition of body parts or contours to indicate movement is called “reduplication.”’

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