Although propaganda and popular culture do not have much in common at first glance, the further often made use of the latter in order to transport its mostly negative connotated messages. Video games, movies, television series, and comics are designed to please their audiences‘ desires and to be consumed easily. Examples for this unholy alliance be be seen in American animation films such as In the Fuehrer’s Faceby Walt Disney or the Vicacomics used for German propaganda against the Allied Forces. While each of these publications can nowadays be researched from an interesting historical point of view, such a combination of popular culture and propaganda can be really frightening when turning up right in front your nose.
Such is the case with a German comic, entitled Enten gegen Hühner: Der große Kampf (translated „Ducks vs. Chicken: The great Battle“), which has be published in Germany by the Young Nationalists (the young version of right wing extremist partyNPD) recently. Shortly before the upcoming regional and national elections in Germany, the party gives out this free comics at German schools and in pedestrian precincts in order win over young people for their hatred against foreigners. Whereas they normally used to give out music-CDs to propagate their visions of a nationalist Germany, this is the first attempt to influence young readers with comics on a larger scale. Due to various German newspaper such as the Sueddeutsche reporting in the last days about the comic, Germans are aware of this publication and are working against it.
A short remark: German politicans are constantly struggling to push these factions out of politics on a legal basis.
In order to know what these people are up to, you can download the comic for free here as a pdf.
Party members are advised to order a supply of comics to further give out these comics to friends. According to its advertisement it should include manga-style drawings, fine rhymes, and a „100% politically incorrect“ storyline. What the reader gets instead are poorly drawn static single images and bad rhymes („Faschist“ does not really rhyme with „versiehst“ because the pronunciation of „ie“ is quite different to that of a simple „i“ in German). Even a pupil at an elementary school would shivering having to read these gruesome texts. Nothing more has to be said about the graphics and the texts, yet if it comes to the plot, which is easily told, it becomes really disgusting.
Germans take over the role of the ducks, which live in on their paradise pond until outsiders, the chicken, plead for asylum. Shortly after having found a new home the chicken change the rules in the country of the duck and turn them into gay, drug-abhorring birds. They even forbid swimming in the pond. With the use of simple-minded examples and dumb accusations the comic turns the chicken not only into the scapegoat for everything, but it insinuates that they are doing it on purpose. The stereotypes are simple and dumb as the graphics of the story are weak and clumsily drawn. In the end the ducks flee their country, building a new home with the vow never to let any foreigners in again. The comic fades out with a morale: „Don’t not follow foreign feathers!“
The faction’s leader Michael Schäfer explains that he has a special interest in comics; he adds further that the 75. anniversary of Donald Duck was a welcoming opportunity to choose this special archetype in an anthropomorphic comic. It sounds rather awkward for a German nationalist to use an American creation for his blind attacks against foreigners in Germany, but this seems to be the way nationalist are playing their game. Or maybe, they are just plain dumb.
After reading this short article, please be sure, that German comicscholar in now way agree with this extremist publication. Furthermore I see it as our duty to expose it for what it is: An ugly and cruel attempt to seduce the innocent into believing lies and deceit. There have been several interesting articles about right wing extremist comics in Germany. If you speak German be sure to check out Ralf Palandt’s article in the Comic Jahrbuch 2009.