This past month the German classes at Oglethorpe were invited to tour the Atlanta Goethe Zentrum, a center that promotes the German language and culture in the U.S., as well as other countries around the world.
The tour featured a modern and very popular subject: comics! We learned about many prominent and well received—and some so not well known—German comic artists. The gracious guide elaborated on how the rise of German “comic culture” was almost revolutionary because of their handling of many political issues and some taboo topics. The comics showed how the German culture was influenced by other countries and how they took these influences and created a new form of political satire.
The tour was capped with the showing of a short animated German film titled The Raft, a macabre comedy on the trevails of two lost sailors on a hand-built raft. The Raft displayed the universal concept of karma with a hilariously somber ending.
All in all, the excursion was truly an interesting experience. To some, comics are just the colorful sections in the newspaper, but while touring in the Goethe Zentrum one learns that they are truly a form of literary expression—and for the comic artists, a means for cathartic release against the backdrop of increasingly global culture.
Photo: OU German students outside the Atlanta Goethe Zentrum.