Organizers: Dr. Iris Haist and Sarah Kühnel M.A., Erich Ohser – e.o.plauen Foundation
The world has been in turmoil since at least 1939, but the political situation in Germany and the rest of Europe was already in disarray well before that. (German) newspapers and magazines printed biting political caricatures, but they also featured short, apolitical pictorial stories with recurring figures. These characters were conceived and drawn with wit and warmth, and usually had both a moralizing and entertaining aspect, distracting readers from the difficult conditions of their reality. In contrast to the satirical caricatures, these “standing figures” in comic strips invoked harmony and well-being.
Erich Ohser, alias E.O. Plauen, created his popular heart-warming “father and son” (Vater und Sohn) picture stories in 1934. Kurt Kusenberg recalled in 1962 the profile the cartoonist had in mind for the main characters of the new strip in the Berliner Illustrirten (sic!) Newspaper:
“They must be created with wit, with love, and they certainly need public opposition to assert themselves. They are well received at once, so strength flows to them; they become more and more self-sufficient, more and more physical, and then live as long as they deserve, months or even years.”
Despite the mandatory neutrality, a certain critique of social and political changes can be inferred from the “father and son” picture stories. Later, these popular characters, (and even their creator, Erich Ohser, and his son), were used for propaganda purposes – such as in advertisements for the “Winterhilfswerk”, or as decoration on fighter jets.
This online conference is intended to bring together individual examples of standing figures and comic strips created between 1930 and 1945, as well as overviews on this topic. In addition to examples from Germany, international comic strip concepts are also welcome. The aim is to achieve a solid contextualization of the origin of these pictorial stories, their reach, their viewers, and instrumentalizations. The meeting is scheduled for July 30, or July 31, 2021. The technical details will be sent to you promptly after the selection of the speakers.
The abstract should have between approx. 300 to 500 characters and present a rough outline of the idea of your contribution. Ideally, but not necessarily, it would have a connection to the work of Erich Ohser. Please send your contribution to Dr. Iris Haist (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Sarah Kühnel M.A. (email@example.com). Submissions can be in German, English, Italian or French. The deadline for submission is May 16, 2021, and feedback will be given by May 23, 2021.
Reference / Quellennachweis:
CFP: Cartoons und Comicstrips zwischen 1930 und 1945 (online, 30-31 Jul 21). In: ArtHist.net, Apr 4, 2021. <https://arthist.net/archive/33743>.