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Header image for the Belonging exhibition on German graphic novels.
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John M. Olin Library, Lobby

Belonging: Recent Graphic Novels from German-Speaking Countries

Graphic Novels make up a growing segment of the Mike Lutzeler Contemporary German Literature Collection of Washington University Libraries, the most extensive collection of its kind in North America.

The image shows a display case with five graphic novels open in two-page displays. Each graphic novel has a placard alongside it explaining the individual texts.
The first of two display cases holding the Belonging: Recent Graphic Novels from German-Speaking Countries exhibition.

Though Germany has never rivaled the commercial comic book industries in France, Japan, or the United States, it has a thriving independent comics scene, drawing on German graphic traditions that date back to the 19thcentury. Illustrators in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland employ inventive, unique, and deeply personal storytelling styles. The tone of these selections vary from wryly humorous to dark and sobering, but all interrogate their character’s multi-faceted identities, histories, and futures with breathtaking beauty.

3 Väter means “three fathers,” and the Swiss illustrator Nandovon Arb takes inspiration from his own childhood to tell a story of a child growing up with a very stressed out mother and three unusual father figures.
A photo of Nando von Arb’s 3 Väter (2020) on display in the Belonging exhibition.

The Belonging: Recent Graphic Novels from German-Speaking Countries exhibition is on display in the Lobby Cases on Level 1 of Olin Library. See our related exhibition Transnational Framings: German Visual Culture in the Age of Nationalism, 1848-1919, in Julian Edison Department of Special Collections on Level 1 of Olin Library.