AUB Libraries Online Exhibits

The Rise of the Ninth Art

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 السمندل قصص مصورة من هنا وهناك – فما هو السمندل؟ - فؤاد مزهر – 2008

Comics have long been marginalized: initially described as a "fringe'' phenomenon, comics were considered "low mass-culture", poorly written, peppered with foul language, and boasting aggressive gory and sexist images, and hence  were not deemed worthy of serious academic attention.

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خوري، ج. (1980). كرنفال. لبنان: غاليري رنكونتر.

However, since the mid-1950s, and most notably in the past decade or so, comics have come a long way! Throughout the world, including the Arab region, comics are witnessing a big boom. Fans, ordinary people, as well as serious critics and academics have come to realize that comics do not in fact exist at the edges, but rather form a nexus for various areas and aspects of culture and society, thus crystallizing central elements in our modern culture, and expressing what cannot be said otherwise.

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السمندل: قصص مصورة من هنا وهناك، العدد 8، فؤاد مزهر، 2010

Today’s comics are published in a broad range of genres, from mystery, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and romance, to politics, history, biography, autobiography, and contemporary fiction. They come in all sizes, from single-panel cartoons and the typical three-to-five-panel comic strips, to comic books (usually about thirty pages) and the much larger, book-length graphic novels. They claim a close affinity to their twin sister, the art of caricature, most notably employed in the Arab world in the political arena, but they go beyond it, to weave intricate plots, make connections, and cross disciplines, perspectives and eras. In recent years, the Arab world has witnessed a boom in the publishing of comics and graphic novels, with genres extending well beyond the young traditional audience, in an attempt to capture the rapidly changing, dynamic and steaming current realities of our modern Arab societies.

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سكف كف: خانز وبنين. العدد 3، رضى أبو عسيرة، كازابلانكا، المغرب: اوبن ثقافة، 2013