Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Artisans in a Mass-Media World: Swiss Comic Book Publishers in a Globalized Context

Bart Beaty.

The era of the increasing globalization of cultural productions has caused some commentators to suggest that regionalist differences in culture are withering away. This paper will demonstrate how certain Swiss comic book publishers challenge globalizing tendencies by focusing specifically on the hand-made art object as an object of value. Two Geneva-based publishers, BuLB and Drozophile, produce comic books by hand in formats that call into question assumptions about this media form. BuLB’s productions are tiny hand-folded objects, bound with elastic bands and collected in boxes that resemble those intended for lightbulbs. Drozophile, on the other hand, produces extremely large silkscreened comic books in limited editions. The emphasis that these publishers place on artisanal production serves as a counter-point to traditional estimations about the comics form. This paper further argues that the innovations that these publishers have introduced at the level of production are augmented at the level of artistic creation, and that the comics produced for BuLB and Drozophile serve to refocus attention on the core elements of the medium in an avant-gardist manner.


Bart Beaty  (Canada)

Faculty of Communication and Culture
University of Calgary

Bart Beaty is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Communication and Culture at the University of Calgary.

  • Artisanal culture
  • Mass Media
  • Comic books
  • Globalization

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)