When I worked at Manchester Institute for Popular Culture in the mid-90s, our research papers were generally adorned with images from Franz Masereel’s Die Stadt, a quite beautiful book of woodcuts from 1925, and the choice of then Director, Justin O’Connor. It’s a haunting tableaux, hovering between gothic expressionism and modernism, and has stayed with me ever since. A current resident of Manchester, John Coulhart, on his great blog Feuilleton, pointed at an online reproduction of Die Stadt the other day. I now realise my attraction to similar drawings in some of my favourite comic books on the city such as Tardi, Igort, Hergé, Lutes and Tatsumi. Interestingly, it also reminds me of recent animation Kapitaal, particularly those scenes which expose the richness and density of commercial information in the early modern city.
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