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Four-Color Communism: Comic Books and Contested Power in the German Democratic Republic

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Four-Color Communism

Comic Books and Contested Power in the German Democratic Republic

Sean Eedy

240 pages, 14 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-000-7 $120.00/£89.00 Hb Not Yet Published (February 2021)

eISBN 978-1-80073-001-4 eBook Not Yet Published

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“This is an excellent book that fills a major gap in scholarship on German-language comics history and provides a useful analysis of the East German state’s methods of managing popular culture and leisure time.” • Paul M. Malone, University of Waterloo

Four-Color Communism is a welcome addition to the field of GDR studies, as well as studies on education. It’s well-written, very readable, and compelling.” • Benita Blessing, Oregon State University


As with all other forms of popular culture, comics in East Germany were tightly controlled by the state. Comics were employed as extensions of the regime’s educational system, delivering official ideology so as to develop the “socialist personality” of young people and generate enthusiasm for state socialism. The East German children who avidly read these comics, however, found their own meanings in and projected their own desires upon them. Four-Color Communism gives a lively account of East German comics from both perspectives, showing how the perceived freedoms they embodied created expectations that ultimately limited the regime’s efforts to bring readers into the fold.

Sean Eedy holds a doctorate in history from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. His publications include articles and chapters on comic book representations of the Holocaust, animated DEFA adaptations of Brothers Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and time travel and historical representation in the work of Hannes Hegen.  Sean is currently an independent researcher and part-time professor in the Department of History at Trent University.

Subject: History: 20th Century to Present Media Studies
Area: Germany


List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations and Terms

Introduction: Comics at the Intersection of State Power and Childhood

Chapter 1. Comics and the Crisis of Kultur in the SED State
Chapter 2. State Power and the East German Zeitgeist
Chapter 3. Power, Eigensinn, and the Construction of Space through Comics
Chapter 4. Escape, Escapism, and the Cultural Imperialism of Comic Book Travel in Mosaik and Atze
Chapter 5. Western Influence, Popular Taste, and the Limitations of the FDJ’s Publishing Regime



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