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‘Flashy’ Pictures: Social Activist Comics and Russian Youth

  • José Alaniz

Abstract

Launched at the 2011 KomMissia comics festival in Moscow, with support from a European Union grant,1 the Goethe-Institut Moscow, National Center of Contemporary Art Yekaterinburg, the Center of Contemporary Art Vinzavod, the British Council and others, the social activist project ‘Respect: Comics from Around the World’ addressed intolerance, racism and neo-fascism in Russia through a medium its practitioners considered tailor-made to reach today’s youth: comic books. The comic books produced for the project, small chapbooks with red covers, were distributed free to young people in physical form as well as online, and were designed to reach a population presumed unresponsive to traditional text-heavy formats. As explained by Khikhus:

Why is ‘Respect,’ a project about respect, in the form of comics? We wanted to talk with young people and adolescents especially, because they are at risk. And, in my very considered opinion, today’s youth simply don’t want to take in text-based messages, since they’re used to flashy visual images.2 So a story in the form of comics, invested with some meaning, works considerably better and attracts a lot more attention than a simple and boring message about how, you know, we should respect each other — which nobody is going to read. But comics they will read.

(EAN, 2011)

Keywords

Civic Engagement Everyday Practice Comic Book Project Respect Graphic Narrative 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© José Alaniz 2016

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  • José Alaniz

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