The 14th Annual Conference of the Society for Comics Studies (ComFor) is dedicated to the idea of comparative comics studies: relations and transformations within the art form that cross and bridge cultural, lingual, economic, juridical, political, and media divisions. These include referential and derivative formats such as citation, parody, pastiche, travesty, imitation, and emulation of genres, characters, and motifs, in which one comic recalls another comic, or any other medium. In all of these cases, a relation is established that connects one or more comics to others. But the scope of comparative comics studies also includes translations, transfers, adaptations, and many other kinds of metamorphosis. These take place not merely from one language to another, but also take into account changes in audience orientation, in technical and economic conditions, in legal and conventional rules, and any other co-determining circumstance that leaves its traces: on the new comic’s text, sometimes on its pictures as well, and always on the mechanisms of production, marketing, media practices, and interpretations to which comics are subjected.
Author Archives: Annick Pellegrin
By Natalie Veith
In March, German universities are on term break, but it is rapidly coming to a close, so we are all busy getting ready for the summer semester that starts in April, preparing for our research and teaching duties, compiling reading lists and shuffling around seminar schedules. But that is not the only thing keeping us busy these days. In the field of comics studies as well as in the general German-language comics scene, this month in particular has been eventful.
by Julia Ingold
The first month of the new year always starts smoothly with a prolonged holiday period. German universities resume their daily activities only in the second week of January and so does ComFor’s editorial staff—as usual with our established retrospect about several ComFor members’ favorite comics of 2018. Shortly after Stephan Packard’s substantial bi-monthly update two months ago, ComFor’s editorial team posted a retrospect on the panel “Comics 4.0” that the Committee for Comics Studies contributed to the German Society for Media Studies’ (GfM) annual conference that took place in Siegen under the headline “Industry” in September 2018. ComFor Member Lukas R. A. Wilde gave a talk on “Von Remediation zum Intermedium: Formen, Formate und mediale Rahmungen digitaler Comics” (From Remediation to Indermedia: Forms, Formats and Medial Framings of Digital Comics). Tim Glaser shared his views on “Comics, Communities & Crowdfunding: Plattformen und deren Einfluss auf die Rezeption und Distribution von Webcomics” (Comics, Communities, and Crowdfunding: Platforms and their Influence on Reception and Distribution of Webcomics). Peter Vignold, for his part, presented on “From A(yn) to Z(ack): Objektivismus im zeitgenössischen Comicfilm” (From A(yn) to Z(ack): Objectivism in the Contemporary Film Adaptation of Comics). The first two presentations both took their cues from the concept of the infinite canvas that Scott McCloud introduced in his 2000 book Reinventing Comics. The panel expounded the question to what extent webcomics’ many new possibilities might collide with the fact that they still only receive widespread attention once they are transferred into traditional print media and thus lose aspects of their inherent mediality.
by Stephan Packard
After the traditional summer break, the winter semester has begun at German, Swiss and Austrian universities. A few weeks in, at least 15 courses and lecture series in those regions have begun work related to comics studies: the ComFor website’s staff has edited a useful and fascinating list. In addition to all of these courses, the Comic-Kolloquium in Berlin has started up again as well, boasting no less than ten announced talks from guests and regulars throughout the season. Topics range from Art Spiegelman to Preacher, from Eastern German history to 19th century sequential art, and from literary criticism to quantitative and network analysis. Back in June, the Comic-Kolloquium had contributed a dense series of talks packed with presentations that opened up comics studies for a popular audience at the Comic Invasion Berlin. The Kolloquium is organized by Matthias Harbeck, Linda-Rabea Heyden and Marie Schröer.