Comics! Mangas! Graphic Novels!

7 May to 10 September 2017

With more than 300 exhibits from the United States, Europe and Japan, Comics! Mangas! Graphic Novels! is the most comprehensive exhibition about the genre to be held in Germany. Although the history of European comics is often traced back to illustrated stories by artists such as Rodolphe Toepffer, Gustave Doré and Wilhelm Busch – none of whom used speech bubbles – it was in New York that comics emerged at the end of the nineteenth century. Drawing on the richly diverse immigrant cultures of the metropolitan melting pot, they were the first visual mass medium. Separate sections of the exhibition are devoted to Europe and Japan, where modern comics belatedly took off after the end of the Second World War, developing an intriguing range of highly distinctive national traditions. While cartoonists in Europe tightened and concentrated the visual language of comics, manga artists expanded it, introducing cinematic, multi-perspectival modes of representation and narrative that embedded themselves deeply in the current global youth culture.

«Comic artists are normal people. Just a little different.»Popeye

By the early twentieth century, the major American daily newspapers brought comic strips to millions of readers – day in, day out, and in colour on Sundays. They were primarily targeted at the papers’ adult readership rather than children and teenagers. Series like Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland or George Herriman’s Krazy Kat continue to captivate audiences with their exquisite draughtsmanship and signal the cultural significance of the medium. With the rise of the comic book and the superheroes in the second half of the 1930s, comics became an integral part of the first media-related youth culture – long before the advent of Bill Haley and rock ‘n’ roll.

As such, comics were soon singled out as the root cause for the rise in juvenile delinquency and illiteracy. A United States Senate Subcommittee hearing on the potential corruption of minors through comic books took place in 1954 and was televised nationwide. To forestall government regulation, publishers decided to form a self-regulatory body. Compliance with its rules, commonly called the Comics Code, was certified with a seal on the cover of the comic book. As a result, comics lost much of the bite and subversiveness that had previously distinguished them and actually turned into the ‘trivial pap for illiterates’ they had always been derided as.

In the 1960s, thanks to artists like Robert Crumb or Will Eisner and figures like Asterix or Barbarella, comics once again began to attract an older readership. In the wake of the cultural upheaval of 1968, comics came to be seen as the ‘ninth art’, and with the phenomenon of the graphic novel, we now witness the discovery of its hitherto ignored literary potential. At the same time, manga has established itself as a global phenomenon.

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Admission tickets

€10 / €6.50 (concessions), Family ticket €16

School groups enjoy free admission to the exhibition on Fridays (booking necessary)
Happy-Hour-Ticket: 7 € (available two hours before the museum closes; individual visitors only, all exhibitions.) Combined ticket for all exhibitions available. More information

Show bibliography
Illustrations
  1. Lucky Luke © Achdé, Lucky Comics 2017Lucky Luke © Achdé, Lucky Comics 2017
  2. Winsor McCay (1871–1934), Little Nemo in Slumberland, Sonntagsseite The New York Herald, 23. September 1906CC0 Public DomainWinsor McCay (1871–1934), Little Nemo in Slumberland, Sonntagsseite(Ausschnitt) The New York Herald, 23. September 1906, CC0 Public Domain
  3. Mawil, Kinderland, Seite 44 (Ausschnitt), 2016© Mawil / ReproduktMawil, Kinderland, Seite 44, 2016 © Mawil / Reprodukt
  4. Garfield© Paws. All Rights Reserved
  5. Ralf König (geb. 1960), Prototyp (Ausschnitt). Erschienen im Rowohlt Verlag, 2008© Ralf König / Rowohlt VerlagRalf König (geb. 1960), Prototyp. Erschienen im Rowohlt Verlag, 2008 © Ralf König / Rowohlt Verlag
  6. Osamu Tezuka (1928), Buddha (Ausschnitt), 1989© Tezuka Productions Co., LtdOsamu Tezuka (1928),Testuwan Atomu/Astro Boy (Ausschnitt), 1989 © Tezuka Productions Co., Ltd
  7. George Herriman (1880–1944), Krazy Kat, Sonntagsseite 6. Februar 1938,CC0 Public DomainGeorge Herriman (1880–1944), Krazy Kat, Sonntagsseite 6. Februar 1938, CC0 Public Domain
  8. Rube Goldberg (1883–1970), The Inventions of Professor Lucifer G. Butts, A.K., Tagesstreifen, späte 1920er Jahre© Heirs of Rube GoldbergRube Goldberg (1883–1970), The Inventions of Professor Lucifer G. Butts, A.K., Tagesstreifen, späte 1920er Jahre © Heirs of Rube Goldberg
  9. Keiko Takemiya (geb. 1950), Kanon,Sammlung der Kyoto Seika University International Manga Research CenterKeiko Takemiya (geb. 1950), Kanon, Sammlung der Kyoto Seika University International Manga Research Center
  10. Keiji Nakazawa (1939–2012), Barfuß durch Hiroshima, Seiten 29 und 30, 1980© Keiji Nagazawa, Courtesy of Hiroshima Peace Memorial MuseumKeiji Nakazawa (1939–2012), Barfuß durch Hiroshima (Ausschnitt), Seiten 29 und 30, 1980 © Keiji Nagazawa, Courtesy of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
  11. Ausstellungsansicht: Visual Reality Erlebnis © Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland GmbH

Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Museumsmeile Bonn
Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 4
53113 Bonn
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Opening hours

Mondays closed
Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.
Thursdays–Sundays, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
(including public holidays even those which fall on Mondays)

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