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Maoist Laughter$
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Ping Zhu, Zhuoyi Wang, and Jason McGrath

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9789888528011

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888528011.001.0001

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Propaganda, Play, and the Pictorial Turn

Propaganda, Play, and the Pictorial Turn

Cartoon (Manhua Yuekan), 1950–1952

(p.123) 7 Propaganda, Play, and the Pictorial Turn
Maoist Laughter

John A. Crespi

Hong Kong University Press

“Propaganda, Play, and the Pictorial Turn” re-visits the early Peoples Republic of China cartoon by contextualizing this form of popular art within the media ecology of the illustrated magazine. Focusing on the first several years (1950-1952) of the satire pictorial Cartoon, the essay questions the tendency to read early Mao-era cartoon art strictly in terms of Cold War binaries, arguing instead for attention to cartoons as just one among many dynamically interrelated, heterogeneric elements comprising the print genre of the illustrated magazine or huabao. Cartoon is to a significant extent a lineal descendent of Republican-era, Shanghai-based huabao whose varied imagetext contents encouraged forms of spectatorship historically linked to practices of urban consumerist play. The primary concern for the artists and editors of Cartoon, then, was adapting this existing visual technology of print to promote active forms of socialist play aligned with the political and educational goals of mass mobilization.

Keywords:   Cartoon, illustrated magazines, imagetext, socialist play, mass mobilization

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