A grinning bite: Ilana Zeffren's translation of the news into comics

Ayelet Kohn, Rachel Weissbrod

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Our point of departure is the conceptualisation of translation as an interpretive act which may involve intermodal transfer. The test case comprises comics pages created by Israeli comics artist and journalist Ilana Zeffren. They first appeared in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, in a weekly column featuring her immediate response to the news. Later they were collected in self-published, small-format books characterised by a fixed layout: on the right side of each two-page spread, we find a mini text which is a free and clearly subjective rendering of an authentic news item, simulating its external features and its apparent objective treatment of the topic covered. The comics on the left side, which “translate” the news item, revolve around Zeffren՚s cats who function as both real animals and the artist's animators. The overall effect is humorous due to (1) the co-presence of the news item and the comics which results in incongruity, and (2) the use of various humorous devices, some of which are typical of comics as a multimodal medium. However, humour is not just an end in itself, rather—shifting from light-hearted joking to bitter sarcasm—it serves Zeffren՚s political agenda against racism and discrimination.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransmedial Perspectives on Humour and Translation
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Page to Screen to Stage
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages264
ISBN (Electronic)9781003826736
ISBN (Print)9781032328713
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 selection and editorial matter, Loukia Kostopoulou and Vasiliki Misiou, individual chapters, the contributors.


Dive into the research topics of 'A grinning bite: Ilana Zeffren's translation of the news into comics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this