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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

230 pages, 14 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-000-7 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (February 2021)

eISBN 978-1-80073-001-4 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit  Buy the eBook! $34.95info on epub formatRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“Eedy’s monograph is extremely successful in providing an account of the role of comics in East German state power. It is an accessible and readable work that requires little prior knowledge of the historical content and yet also offers much to those well versed in its themes and debates. Most beneficial beyond comics scholarship are its additions to the existing scholarship on East Germany and communist and totalitarian regimes more broadly. Scholars working on state power in East Germany and beyond will find much of use here.” • European Comic Art

Four-Color Communism is a solid work of scholarship on east German media studies, and east German comics in particular. Eedy engages with the broader field of GDR studies, always situating his arguments within broader theoretical and historical contexts. This ensures that the book will be of interest to scholars of the GDR who are unfamiliar with, or not primarily concerned with, comics. While Eedy does not present an exhaustive history of east German comics— nor does he claim to—his work is useful within comics studies for making east German comics more accessible to an English-language audience and bringing seminal publications like Mosaik into the larger conversation on international comics.” • The German Quarterly

“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 PresentMedia Studies
Area: Germany


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