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Comics Forum director Ian Hague has emailed to say that he has posted a new paper by Isabelle Delorme on the website. The title is The first Afghanistan war through the glare of the Photographer and Emmanuelle Guibert and the paper was presented at the conference Comics & Conflicts: Stories of War in Comics, Graphic Novels & Manga 19/08/2011 – 20/08/2011 at the Imperial War Museum, London. I’m posting it here because of the medical relevance of Guibert’s Graphic Novel.

Here is the abstract:

The Afghanistan war (1979-1989) is not the subject of the graphic novel : The Photographer: Into War-torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders but it is the thread of this comic, which was published in France between 2003 and 2006, then in United States in 2009, and which has received many prizes, especially the Will Eisner Awards in 2010. Didier Lefèvre, the photographer, has been send in 1986 to follow a three months mission of Doctors Without Borders, in North Afghanistan, including two months of a dangerous trip in moutains. The story is told with photographs comic-book style, with the texts and the illustrations of Emmanuel Guibert. In this graphic novel, halfway between comics and photojournalism, by juxtaposing vignettes and hundred of photographs, with various shapes (contact sheet, full page photography, retouched photos etc…), is it an original approach to History and War or is it a standard treatment in comics ? How does Emmanuel Guibert represent Man coming to terms with war in this graphic novel ? Is it possible to distinguish between individuals behaviour (the photographer, members of mission like medical personnel, guide or interpreter, Afghans) and collective behaviour (mission of Doctors Without Borders, civil population, mujaheddin)? How can the fact that two of his major works The Photographerand Alan’s War, The Memories of GI Alan Cope, take place in war-torn countries, unless war be the topic of the graphic novel? Paradoxically, is Emmanuel Guibert interested in War?

Click here to be taken directly to the paper.


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