Media Arts


Comics & Media Arts

Another of the broad categories we find in the official arts family is the media arts, which includes radio, television, the press, and in a broader sense, the entirety of the Internet and social media… Phew!

The rise of comics is connected directly with that of the newspaper. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there was a tremendous amount of competition amongst huge newspaper chains who were seeking out the largest possible readerships. With major leaps being made in printing technology making it possible to produce grander and more colorful images, newspapers used the burgeoning field of the comic strip to grab the attention of a public eager for entertainment. These “funny papers” were largely humoristic, often satirical, but could also be nuanced and gorgeously drawn, and found fans amongst children and adults alike.

In the many years since then, a wide range of comics have found a home in the media, from newspapers and magazines to online outlets. Recently, Radio Canada published  Raif Badawi : Rêver de liberté (2017, Radio-Canada Estrie), a documentary comic telling the true story of  Raif Badawi, a Saudi prisoner of conscience.

Digital Comics

Comics have been quick to adopt the possibilities of new digital media. While digital platforms bring new tools to cartoonists, such as animation and infinite scrolling formats, they remain rooted in the interactive traditions (with the reader controlling the pace of reading) that distinguish comics from animation. We can also note the distinction between comics that are natively digital versus those that have been merely digitized, i.e. scanned and viewed on a screen. Comics such as Phallaina by Marietta Ren (2016, Small Bang) have been developed with smartphones and tablets in mind, a huge horizontal scrolling digital graphic novel complete with soundtrack.

The french television channel Arte published ÉTÉ, a episodic comic strip published directly to Instagram which can be enjoyed in any order.

Instagram and other internet platforms also serve as important tools for many a cartoonist, with a passionate online readership often serving as a springboard to more traditional forms of success in the artform. Authors such as Emma, the creator of Un autre regard (2017, Massot Éditions) and Pénélope Bagieu, the author of the long-running blog Ma vie est tout à fait fascinante, have found both on- and offline. Bagieu’s series Culottées (2016-2017, Gallimard), which began on her blog, has not only been published as  a series of graphic novels but has also been turned into an animation. 

Want to know more?

  • Capa, l’étoile filante, Florent Silloray (2016, Casterman)
  • Commando Culotte, Mirion Malle (2016, Ankama)
  • Blotch, Blutch (2009, Fluide Glacial-Audie)

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