The Belgian Photonovel, 1954-1985

An Introduction

Clarissa Colangelo

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Monograph - paperback

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The importance of the Belgian contribution to the history of the photonovel.
The Belgian photonovel is the missing link in the amazing history of the photonovel, a comics-inspired form of visual narrative that combines elements from very different genres and media, ranging from literary melodrama, cinema, and of course comics. This monograph discloses the specific Belgian contribution to the genre, in close connection with the singularities of the Belgian women’s and general magazines where these photonovels appeared. If the photonovel is generally considered a typically French or Italian genre, this study demonstrates the importance of a different tradition, which appropriated the foreign models in a very original way. Belgian photonovels are distinct, not only because they tell other kinds of stories, but also because they interact with other types of magazines in ways that are very different from the mainstream forms of the genre in Italy and France. Finally, this lavishly illustrated study is also the first in scrutinizing the technical aspects of magazine printing techniques in the development of the photonovel.

Ebook available in Open Access. This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Foreword: Time-traveling in a lost world

Chapter 1. A brief history of the photonovel
1.1 A working definition
1.2 Origins, evolution and decline
1.3 Fame versus shame
1.4 Photonovels: between tradition and emancipation

Chapter 2. Belgian editorial context: a language divide

Chapter 3. Popular Belgian women’s magazines with photonovels
3.1 Lectures d’Aujourd’hui / Lectuur voor Allen
3.2 Mon Copain
3.3 Chez Nous / Ons Volk
3.4 Femmes d’Aujourd’hui / Het Rijk der Vrouw
3.5 Bonnes Soirées / Mimosa
3.6 Piccolo and Tiptop
3.7 Vrouw en Huis
3.8 Panorama
3.9 Rosita
3.10 Ons Land met Iris
3.11 Madame
3.12 Joepie
3.13 Other magazines
3.13.1 Roman Film complet, Sandra / Katia and Sérenade
3.13.2 HUMO and Sportif ’68 / Sport ’68

Chapter 4. Making photonovels
4.1 Creating a photonovel
4.1.1 Subject
4.1.2 Script and plot
4.1.3 Director
4.1.4 Photographer
4.1.5 Actors
4.1.6 Layout
4.1.7 Translations
4.2 Print process
4.2.1 Photomechanical processes
4.2.2 The evolution of rotogravure
4.2.3 Color printing
4.2.4 Press printed photographs

Chapter 5. Photonovels inside the magazines
5.1 Photonovels and advertisement


Appendix: Complete list of all the photonovels published in Belgian magazines

Format: Monograph - paperback

Size: 230 × 170 × 15 mm

250 pages

Illustrated, with colour section

ISBN: 9789462703704

Publication: August 30, 2023

Series: Studies in European Comics and Graphic Novels

Languages: English

Stock item number: 155810

Clarissa Colangelo holds a PhD in Cultural Studies and is affiliated with KU Leuven, where she is conducting research on the visual aspects of magazine culture in collaboration with the Belgian National Library (KBR).