New Times. Tempo, Acceleration, and the Pluralisation of Temporal Dimensions in Humorous Picture Stories, Cartoons, and Comics between 1900 and 1930 (SP 6)


In the second phase of subproject 6, the focus remains on comparison of caricatures and humorous cartoon strips in German periodicals and American comics. The first phase’s examination of framing experiments forms the basis of the analysis of ways of portraying time, temporality and temporal dimensions in the second phase. The concept of the ‘cascade’ developed in our study of visual satire will be further tested and theorised.

The segmentation and sequencing of narrative units – and hence also of units of time and movement – into individual, separate images that nevertheless also point forward, beyond their frame, is a feature specific to the medium of cartoons and comics. The question as to how they structure their portrayal of time and how they are read has thus received considerable attention from international research, but the discussion has hitherto principally focussed on more recent publications and rarely on the framing provided by journals. Periodic modes of publication in journals, newspapers and comic books relate long-term production and reception to the extramedia passage of time, to real historical events and, especially in the context of newspapers and journals, to their discoursification. Here the subproject examines the media-specific depiction of ‘calendar time’ and ‘event time’.

When (in which historical contexts, apropos of which events), where (in which media context) and how this discoursification and the medium itself are reflected are questions forming the focus on ‘media reflection/multimedia’. The subproject continues with this investigation into the guiding dichotomy between ‘the journal’ and ‘the book’. In the period in question, comics develop as independent media formats with several subgenres under pressure from competing projects with the same format (other newspaper comics, comic book series, Big Little Books etc.) and other competing entertainment media (pulp fiction novels, radio serials etc.). The various research disciplines informing the inquiry are united by their interest in these dichotomies of ‘transience/permanence’ and ‘market/transfer’.