The City and the Country: Landscapes of Connection and Alienation in the Graphic Novels of Lynd Ward and Frans Masereel

Authors: Steven Schnell*, Kutztown University
Topics: Cultural Geography, Qualitative Research, Urban Geography
Keywords: graphic novels, place, landscape, Lynd Ward, Frans Masereel
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Oakley, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Urban imagery has long played a role in comics and graphic novels, from the early wordless “stories in woodcuts” of Lynd Ward and Frans Masereel from the 1920s and 1930s through the superhero strongholds of Metropolis and Gotham City, to tales as diverse as Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor and Will Eisner’s A Contract With God. In this paper, I examine the use of landscape in the wordless woodcut novels of Ward and Masereel, often seen as early graphic novels. What role do the city and the country, and their associated imagery, play in such work, and what can we learn about human interaction with place from reading, or more accurately, viewing them?

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