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Mills, Alice: "The Paradoxes of History in Crew and Woolman’s Tagged and Crew and Tan’s Memorial." In: Rethinking History 6 (2002), S. 331–343.
|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Mills2002a
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Keywords: "Tagged", Australien, Bilderbuch, Crew. Gary, Gattung, Kinder- und Jugendcomics, Krieg, Memoria, Tan. Shaun, Woolman. Steven
Collection: Rethinking History
The publication of two illustrated books with verbal text by the Australian writer Gary Crew provides an opportunity to compare the presentation of war memories in picture story book and graphic novel format. Gary Crew and Shaun Tan’s Memorial (1999) is a thought-provoking picture story book, while Crew and Steven Woolman’s Tagged (1997) is an idiosyncratic graphic novel. The picture story book illustrations depict the commemorative tree as more real, more present than the book’s human beings. The verbal text asserts that memory will live on through generations of the war veterans’ family, as in the tree, but the illustrations of the cutting down of the tree and the verbal text revealing a veteran’s self-censorship reveal these claims to be at best tenuous, at worst, false. Nevertheless, despite the current town council’s disrespect for the commemorative tree, the Anzac Day ceremony remains a socially sanctioned rite of remembering war. The illustrations to Tagged represent a war veteran’s confused mind and his compulsive reliving of his past as confusing visual images with a lack of clear cues for the reader’s eye to follow, as the boy observer moves more deeply into the labyrinthine building where the man hides. While Memorial’s war memorials are complete, public, in good condition and easily accessible, the bewildering passages and openings of Tagged’s building suggest the man’s stuck memories, the boy’s problems with interpreting war images and also a society’s not altogether successful attempt to repress collective acknowledgement of its war past. In contrast with Memorial, Tagged is a memorial to the unknown soldier, offering a different kind of historical truth to any official, public, empty tomb.
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