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1os [Protos] katalogos Hellenikon ekdoseon komiks: apo to 1939 eos to 2010 [A First Catalog of Greek Comics Publications: From 1939 to 2010]. Ed. Giorgos Georgelos. [De Rijp]: Esperos Comics, 2011. 507 p. ill. 24 cm. ISBN 978-90- 73808-00-3: EUR 42

An RREA Original Review by George I. Paganelis (California State University, Sacramento)

In the firmament of comics and “illustrated sequential panel art,” Greek content would seem to be a dim, distant star of which most observers would be totally unaware. The publication of this catalog has changed that situation by bringing greater visibility to the output of comics in Greek of both Greek and foreign origin.

This compilation is the first of its kind to attempt a comprehensive register of all known comics appearing in Greek, though the main criterion for inclusion is that each title must consist of at least 50 percent comics content. Thus, certain popular magazines not meeting this threshold (e.g., To Hellenopoulo [The Greek Boy]) are excluded; for a survey of more of these titles and an informative study contextualizing comics within the sphere of Greek pulp literature, readers are directed to Kyriakos D. Kasses’s Hellenike paralogotechnia kai komiks (1598-1998) [Greek Pulp Literature and Comics (1598-1998)] (2d ed., Athena [Athens], 1998).

The more than 2,000 records of this weighty catalog were compiled over five years by a team of more than 200 members of the Lesche Philon Komiks [Comics Fan Club] from all over Greece via the Greek Comics (http://www.GreekComics.gr) web environment. Georgelos notes the particular difficulty of the task, given the dearth of available source material even from publishers themselves, and the way that information was gleaned in addition from private collections, libraries, and antiquarian book shops.

Entries are arranged such that titles beginning with symbols or numbers come first, followed alphabetically by comics whose titles appear in Latin characters (for example, Iron Man), then by a considerably longer section with titles appearing in Greek characters, such as Miky Maous [Micky Mouse]. Each entry includes a cover image of the first (or earliest available) issue of the title and as many of the following fields of information as are known or apply: title; publisher; date(s); category (one-off or series); total issues; dimensions; pages; illustrations in color, black-and-white, or both; format of publication (issue, album, etc.); type of content (humor, erotic, superhero, etc.); layout director; artist(s); country of origin; translator; previous title; and annotation. Annotations are brief and run between one and eight lines. The lack of particular publication details indicates that they are not known.

Though the termini of the work are 1939-2010, few titles date before the 1970s. The first comic to appear in Greek, To periodiko mas [Our Magazine], began in 1939 in newspaper format and featured Laurel and Hardy, illustrated William Tell, and science fiction adventures, among other content, during its run of 25 issues. The year 1961 marked a milestone for both comics and the genre of science fiction in Greece with the publication of Ta kalytera komiks [The Best Comics], which showcased DC Comics heroes in several series, some of which were later published in a six-volume compendium of issues in 1968.

While the catalog records the standard older comics mainstays (e.g., Popeye, Superman, and Spiderman), it is heavily weighted toward newer titles published since the 1990s, mirroring the dramatic rise in output since then. Examples include illustrated classic fiction (i.e., graphic novels) such as versions of Huckleberry Finn and Oliver Twist in Greek, some titles on ancient Greece (for example, Greek myth, Homer, and Aristophanes), and much more contemporary fare (e.g., World of Warcraft, Transformers, and manga). Examples of short-lived comics of just a few issues—or even a single issue—abound, many clearly fanzines or of that ilk.

As a whole the work paints a thematic panorama of humor, adventure, fantasy, science fiction, superheroes, and erotica. Among these categories, the last four are the most prevalent. Notably one of the few politically oriented comics is Kyriakos Rokos’s selfpublished Apotypomata 1967-1975 [Printings 1967-1975] (Athens?, 1978), on the Junta years in Greece, first exhibited in Paris in 1976. Titles of foreign origin come mostly from the United States, France, and Italy, yet the number of titles from Greece is surprisingly high.

The evolution and growth of comics in popularity has on the one hand elevated a former cottage industry to the level of big business, fueled by collateral publications, merchandising, television and movie adaptations, and conventions, and on the other hand prompted the serious appreciation and study of comics as both artistic works and sociological artifacts. As such, this volume will be useful for fans and researchers alike, offering the former valuable information about old favorites and new reading material while demonstrating the appeal and breadth of the medium for a niche market to the latter.

The main criticism of the work lies in its limited introduction. A fuller exposition providing some historical context on comics in Greece as “subaltern” popular literature or at least references for further reading and some facts and figures about the catalog— for example, number of entries by year and decade, number of titles of Greek origin, or number of one-off titles—would have been helpful. Despite this shortcoming, which can be addressed in a subsequent edition, 1os katalogos Hellenikon ekdoseon komiks stands as a major achievement in the ongoing quest to document the universe of Greek comics. It is recommended for general collections in comics and popular culture, particularly those with an international flavor, and for Modern Greek studies collections with holdings on popular literature.

Kinder- und Jugendliteratur der Gegenwart: ein Handbuch [Children‘s and Young Adult Literature: A Handbook]. Ed. Günter Lange. Baltmannsweiler: Schneider-Verlag Hohengehren, 2011. viii, 544 p. ill. 23 cm. ISBN 978-3- 8340-0788-9: EUR 36 [11-2]

This handbook is conceived as a follow-up project to Lange’s two-volume publication from 2000, Taschenbuch der Kinder- und Jugendliteratur (see IFB 01-2-225). More than just a new edition, it is a conceptually rethought work; most entries have been rewritten by new authors or substantially updated and revised by the original authors. The organization has been tightened, and content has been focused on the post-1945 period.

[Ed. note: Related multi-volume works published by Metzler include Kinder- und Jugendliteratur in Deutschland: 1840-1950 (1990-2000: see RREA 1:254 and RREA 7:14) and Kinder- und Jugendliteratur 1933-1945 (2001-2005: see RREA 8:13).

The introductory section on the terms of the discipline contains English-language terminology for some key concepts, and there are partially revised sections on the development of children’s and YA literature in the the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic. The longest section, on genres, is also the most updated. In the Media section, only the chapter on magazines has been substantially reworked. The final section, on reader socialization and teaching, has been substantially refocused and no longer contains a chapter on “thematic and poetic aspects,” chapters listing mainly primary literature, or a chapter on the children’s book market. Each entry contains a bibliography.

This book is recommended as a successor work to the Taschenbuch, especially for education students and teachers, the audience for whom the updated work was explicitly intended. [mmk/rb]

Zwei Jahrzehnte ungarische Literatur in deutscher Übersetzung: 1988-2008; eine kommentierte Bibliografie [Two Decades of Hungarian Literature in German Translation: An Annotated Bibliography]. Comp. Christine Schlosser. Budapest: Magyar Könyv Alapítvány, 2008. 88 p. 24 cm.

Quo vadis Kinderbuch? Gegenwart und Zukunft der Literatur für junge Leser [Quo vadis Children‘s Book? The Present and Future of Literature for Young Readers]. Ed. Christine Haug and Anke Vogel. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2011. 236 p. ill. 24 cm. ISBN 978-3-447-06473-6: EUR 36 [11-4]

In this volume, the editors Christine Haug and Anke Vogel present a collection of contributions to the ranking and current positioning of the children’s book in the book market. The collection is a result of a university lecture series which turned into a national conference theme of the International Buchwissenschaftliche Gesellschaft [International Book Studies Society]. The main sections deal with the phenomenon of cross-reading and all-age literature, trends in marketing and literary criticism, children’s and young-adult literature as steady sellers, and the promotion of reading and reading projects for children.

The editors have produced a very good overview of the current situation of the children’s book, always with an eye on potential developments. The attempt to connect theory with practice must be regarded as successful, with different perspectives on the subject providing a very comprehensive picture grounded in research. The only criticism: new media developments and their meaning, also for the actual content of children’s and YA literature, could have received more emphasis. [nw/rb]

Die tschechische Rezeption deutscher Belletristik 1900-1945 [The Czech Reception of German Belles Lettres, 1900-1945]. Peter Drews. München; Berlin: Sagner, 2011. 249 p. 21 cm. + 1 CD-ROM (464 p.) (Slavistische Beiträge, 480). ISBN 978-3-86688-125-9: EUR 38 [11-3]

This is the latest publication in a string of works on the Slavic reception of German literature appearing as part of the Sagner series Slavistische Beiträge. The printed volume provides an overview of the literature of the period by genre. The actual bibliography of translated works, containing about 10,000 titles, appears on the accompanying CD-ROM. Not only does this save space, but it allows the user easily to manipulate the data. The main portion of the bibliography is ordered alphabetically by author, followed by sections on anonymous works and those incorrectly identified as translations from German. The bibliography concludes with an index of Czech-language titles and a personal name index. [sh/as]

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Last update: November 2013 [RT]
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