The European Union as a construct of the past, collapsed as a result of several crises: that is the picture Bue Bredsdorff paints in his graphic poem “Europe 2065”. His somber comic envisions a pessimistic future for the European Union, in which both the euro as a common currency as well as the Union itself disappear. His brown and black images provoke a dark and sinister atmosphere – all the color seems to have vanished. However, the story’s outlook still leaves room for interpretation….
Fast forward… towards a Europe of citizens
Living in the United States of Europe: that is the vision of a young girl in Domingo Pozanco Torrejóns comic “A dream of Europe”. Looking at the “grim” present, she moves through Europe’s past, to see what has already been achieved. Despite difficulties, she sees people growing closer together, walls disappearing and bridges being built. She dreams of a Europe without borders, where distances can be overcome and where Lampedusa is a synonym for a better future. Pozanco’s story creates the strong belief that Europe should understand its own history to be able to build a better future.
Fast forward… weathering the storm together
Climate change and the incapability of the world community to tackle the issue are addressed in Eva Hilhorst’s story “After the tempest”: In 2070 Brussels the entire city is flooded by water and people only have floating houses. We are introduced to Prospero and his experiences as a brilliant student who cared a lot about climate change. He travelled the world, spoke to Russia, China, the USA, and Europe and finally won the Nobel-peace prize. But not everyone saw the same urgency as he did in the fight against climate change. Many years later he is finally able to take things into his own hands, helping not only his friends in doing so, but also his own son…
Fast forward… while keeping traditions alive
Jenny Robins invites the reader to visit “Europeland”, an amusement park where people get the chance to explore old traditions of Western Civilization. It keeps the traditions alive, even though the world is getting more globalized and connected. All the different European countries are re-presented in a parade, they offer food and cultural activities or workshops. The stories heroine, young girl Mia, explores all the countries and traditions and tries to capture and treasure them…
Fast forward… to more tolerance
Maran Hrachyan’s “Europe is a Human Being” explores the topic of intolerance towards colored people and homosexuals. Writing articles about homosexuals or dark-skinned people, presenting them in a very negative way, the story’s main character is unable to change his negative attitude, even after experiencing many positive encounters. His son though is able to see beyond intolerance and has a quite different perception….
Fast forward… towards separation
Nicole Knötig’s winning comic “The Union” casts a dark shadow on the future of the EU. It draws the picture of a Europe divided into North and South. In the poor South nearly every week dead people are lying at the beach, trying to enter the European Union. A family of five has to rely on food-stamps and a small income from one of their children. After a referendum, Northern European citizens decide to separate from the South. One of the families’ daughters decides to leave the family to go to the North and earn money she can send to them. It seems like the families’ last chance…
Fast forward… and stay united
“United in diversity, we will become boundless”: That is the message of “Boundless” by Sara Ferreira and Gisela Martins. Trying to explain Europe to a non-human being named Korr, the heroine Lotte explains that it’s neither a country nor an empire. Korr has difficulties to understand what she is talking about, while showing him around Europe. He believes that it does not make any sense to live like they do because he feels people lose their identity completely. But Lotte manages to show him that it is about creating a common culture and identity. Korr then draws his own conclusions on the way to becoming boundless.
Europe is like a family: it should do its best to stick together
The European Union is like a family swimming pool: at least in André Slob’s comic “The Pool”. He applies the metaphor of children who are sometimes difficult to handle with their different characters. To unite the family, the parents in the story search for a task where they can all work together for a common purpose. That’s how the idea of building a pool arises. Working together on this project, with the guidance and support of everyone in the family, they start to understand how important it is to accept everyone in their uniqueness – just as it’s the case in the European Union.
The wizard of time tries to alter the course of history
Emily Victoria Solchin’s comic story has the feel of a modern fairy tale, illustrating “Europa” as an innocent fair maid who needs to be saved from a beast. The wizard of time is giving the responsibility to rescue the woman to four stereotypical characters, granting them a wish in return. They try to save Europa, one after the other with different tricks and methods, but none of them succeeds. However, the wizard of time is giving them a second chance and they agree to work together to achieve their common goal. But they fail again! That’s when the wizard comes to realize something very important about mankind…
Two Europeans take a look at Europe from across the Mediterranean
Exploring Europe, Kilian and Lukas Wilde try to make sense of Europe from a different perspective: the one from the outside. Their “comic-selves” travel to Morocco and try to reach the Spanish peninsula Ceuta, the place from where many Africans try to enter Europe. They find a gloomy place nobody besides immigrants wants to go and they see how difficult it is to enter and how hopeless the life of immigrants can be. Being prohibited to enter the mainland Spain, being robbed of everything besides their passports, they get same first-hand experiences of what it feels like to be an immigrant.
A greeting bounces through Europe
Luke Ellison’s “Salute!” doesn’t need any translation. It’s a simple yet easily convincing depiction of multi-cultural understanding in Europe. A little boy who lives in a far off, secluded place with his old grandfather, starts shouting “Hallo!” into the mountains. The greeting echoes back from other children replying “Halo!”, “Salve!”, “Dia Duit!”, “Ahoj!” and in further languages. The little boy makes his grandfather listen to all the different greeting coming back to them, showing him how far a simple greeting can reach and what a European community can look like.
A seal gives Erasmus of Rotterdam food for thought
Marco Tabilio’s story is about the famous author and philosopher Erasmus of Rotterdam, who, in the story, just finished his book about his vision of a united Europe. Erasmus goes to the harbour and by accident lands in the belly of a whale. To his surprise, he is greeted by a seal! Erasmus presents his book to the him, but, against his expectations the seal is very negative and questions all his ideas of a united Europe. In the end the seal admits though, that he likes the idea of Europe, but believes that good ideas need to be questioned and re-evaluated as well, since this is the only way they can improve. Eventually, after escaping the whale’s from stomach, Erasmus of Rotterdam decides to make use of all the concerns the seal mentioned….