I started my project with thoughts of modern exile art in Germany, but soon realized that I wanted a more historical perspective. I thought next of the Weimar Republic’s artistic diversity. I wondered what political and social structures existed to allow minority expression. I thought that permissive immigration laws were at the root, and checked out several related books. While writing my annotated bibliography, I realized that my project was changing focus from art to minority law.
Unfortunately, I soon realized that my original question had already been answered. There were laws in place regarding minorities, but they were not meant for the protection of minority expression in Germany. My next thesis had already been proven in the book Demokratie und Volkstum.
I then came upon the graphic novel Berlin: City of Stones by author/artist Jason Lutes. It is a graphic representation of the lives of several characters in Weimar Berlin in 1928-1929. It is uniquely well-researched and representative of the times – their specific historical details, but also their general character. I was convinced to study how he did his work: how he presented the characters and political struggles, not just through explicit dialogue, but through the devices specific to graphic novels.
I hope my project will have as much honesty, research grounding and passion as Lutes did in writing his graphic novel. My paper is the first scholarly analysis of Lutes’s novel: I hope that by analyzing his work, I contribute to a growing weight of evidence that graphic novels can be as valid, historically accurate and realistic as any form of art.