Borders, migrations, translations: Italian comics journalism reframing the Mediterranean crossings

Alessia Mangiavillano

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Comics journalism bears testimony to different kinds of stories in the context of humanitarian witnessing, including personal relationships to the people who flee conflicts and the connections we make through languages. Over the latest years, the number of refugees and other migrants who crossed the Mediterranean in search of protection or a better life in Europe increased considerably. By focusing on two Italian examples of comics journalism, and, this article aims to answer the question: how does Italian comics journalism contribute to shaping our understanding of the crossing of borders in the Mediterranean region? By ‘our,’ I mean people living in Europe and the Global North more broadly. Grounding the analysis in the context of theoretical comics approaches, the first section explores the storylines as it situates the work of the authors within a precise socio-political framework. The second section discusses the documentary significance of both comics within the European discourse that tend to silence people on the move. After highlighting the potential of the decolonising multilingualism approach (Phipps 2019) for Comics Studies, the conclusion calls for greater exchange between journalism, migration studies, and comics scholarship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)572-589
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Graphic Novels and Comics
Issue number4
Early online date27 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.


  • Mediterranean crossings
  • Migration narratives
  • Comics journalism
  • Italian comics
  • Comics and migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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