Fafnir 4/2016

Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research 4/2016

Aino-Kaisa Koistinen, Katja Kontturi & Jyrki Korpua:
Editorial 4/2016

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Francesco-Alessio Ursini:
Speculative Architectures in Comics

Abstract: The present article offers an analysis on how comics authors can employ architecture as a narrative trope, by focusing on the works of Tsutomu Nihei (Blame!, Sidonia no Kishi), and the duo of Francois Schuiten and Benoit Peeters (Le cités obscures). The article investigates how these authors use architectural tropes to create speculative fictions that develop renditions of cities as complex narrative environments, and “places” with a distinctive role and profile in stories. It is argued that these authors exploit the multimodal nature of comics and the potential of architecture to construct complex worlds and narrative structures.

Keywords: architectural tropes, comics, narrative structure, speculative fiction, world-building, multimodality.

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Oskari Rantala:
Superhuman Cognitions, Fourth Dimension and Speculative Comics Narrative: Panel Repetition in Watchmen and From Hell

Abstract: This article investigates the use of repeating panels in relation to speculative fiction storytelling in graphic novels Watchmen and From Hell, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons and Eddie Campbell, respectively. Presenting the same panel several times over the course of the narrative is an expressive medium-specific narrative technique available only to comics. In the discussed graphic novels, panel repetition is used to represent the superhuman cognitions of the quantum powered superhero Dr. Manhattan, as well as the magical experiences of Sir William Gull, the homicidal madman behind the brutal Jack the Ripper murders in Victorian London. Both characters have abilities and inner life which can be considered speculative, fantastic, or science fictional. Furthermore, their extraordinary cognitions and experiences are exceptionally well-suited to be represented through the comics medium, a narrative form operating on fragmentary visual matter. Comics narrative can employ complex repetitive patterns which Watchmen and From Hell use to simulate four-dimensional simultaneity and detachment of time and space. Moreover, in “The Dance of the Gull-Catchers”, the nonfiction appendix to From Hell that examines the history of ripperology, panel repetition provides narrative evidence, takes part in speculative play, and also works as a device for visualizing the disnarrated.

Keywords: Alan Moore, repetition, panel, comics, graphic novel, graphic narrative, speculative fiction.

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Sofia Sjö:
Religious Themes and Characters in Nordic Children’s Fantasy Films: Explorations of ‘Acceptable’ Religion

Abstract: This article argues that the character of children’s films make them a useful area of study when exploring attitudes to religion. A recurring idea behind children’s films is that they should include what is good for the child, which means that when religion is included it will be shaped in accordance with ideas of what is seen as ‘acceptable’ religion. Four Nordic children’s fantasy films which include religious beings or themes are analyzed and the attitudes to religion that the films suggest are discussed. The films are argued to present religious spheres as unthreatening, but often also as related to the ‘Other’. The films do not question religious faith as such, but do link it to private choice and children’s fantasies and thereby circumscribe its importance. Simultaneously, the transcendent sphere becomes a sphere of childhood and fantasy and children are, it would seem, bestowed the role of providing adults too an access to something beyond.

Keywords: children’s films, Nordic films, fantasy, religion.

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Katja Kontturi:
Science fiction parody in Don Rosa’s ”Attack of the Hideous Space-Varmints”

Abstract: This article concentrates on the comic “Attack of the Hideous Space Varmints” (1997) by Disney artist Don Rosa. The comic deals with Earthlings who invade the territory of one-eyed aliens. The aim is to study Rosa’s comic from a parodic perspective: how Rosa uses science fiction tropes characteristic to the 1950s cinema and comics and ridicules them. My methods consist of close reading followed by formalist comic analysis. While doing so, I also utilize the concept of metalepsis. The analysis will be supported by theoretical works on science fiction and the postmodern view of parody. One important source is Kimmo Ahonen’s recent doctoral dissertation concerning invasion films that offers background material concerning the societal conditions and the era in the United States that Rosa utilizes in his comic – the 1950s.

The article offers a new perspective on how funny animal comics as a narrative form can discuss the themes of invasion and “the Other”, and present them both in a parodic manner. The aim of the article is also to suggest that the whole subgenre of Disney comics should be more comprehensively introduced to the field of comics studies as a serious research topic.

Keywords: Disney comics, Don Rosa, parody, postmodernism, science fantasy, science fiction.

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Reijo Valta:
Koipeliinin matka Suomeen ‒ Miten Rodolphe Töpfferin sarjakuva Monsieur Cryptogame muuttui tekijättömäksi Koipeliini-kuvasarjaksi

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Jari Käkelä:
Lectio praecursoria:
The Cowboy Politics of an Enlightened Future: History, Expansionism,
and Guardianship in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction

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Minna Siikilä:
A Conference Report from Uses of Fantasy in Changing Media Landscapes Seminar

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Reijo Valta:
Sarjakuvan raameja – Arktinen sarjakuvaseminaari 4.11.2016

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Essi Varis:
A Year in the Life of a Finnish Comics Researcher: A Combined Conference Report

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Reijo Valta:
A Book Review: The Comics of Hergé – When The Lines Are Not So Clear

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