Category Archives: Comics Forum 2016

CFP Comics Forum 2016 – Genre: A Conference on Comics

Comics Forum 2016

Comics Forum 2016 – Call For Papers

Genre: A Conference on Comics

Leeds Central Library, 3rd – 4th November 2016

Genre has played an active role in generating and shaping our knowledge and understanding of comics. It is a term that has been used to describe the medium itself (e.g. comics as a genre of literature), formats within the medium (e.g. the graphic novel as a genre of comics), and the various thematic clusters of stories told within comics (romance, western, horror etc.). Comics may support and adhere to the conventions, styles, structures and effects of a given genre, or they might redefine, challenge, and violate its definitions and boundaries through their form and content. While comics scholars have undertaken studies of genre in comics – particularly a strong and expanding corpus focusing upon the superhero genre, for instance – the subject remains relatively underdeveloped in Comics Studies by comparison with other fields such as Film Studies and Literary Studies. Comics Forum 2016, the eighth event in the annual conference series, will present a sustained discussion upon a wide range of subjects relating to comics and genre, and abstracts are invited for talks to be given at the event.

Subjects for discussion may include, but are not limited to:

-Specific genres or sub-genres in comics
-Genre blending and genre mash-ups in comics
-Genres in and/or across national comics traditions
-Bodies of work in a specific genre by an artist/writer
-Comics adaptations of genre works
-Comics and genre theory, or theoretical approaches to genre in comics
-Temporal approaches to genre in comics, or genre comics as social/historical constructs
-Comparative approaches to genre in comics
-Questions of genre and form
-Association of specific genres with gender and/or race
-Issues of production, distribution, censorship and reception of certain genre comics
-Arguments for/against genre classifications in comics

Proposals of 250 words are invited for talks of up to 20 minutes in length, and should be emailed along with a short biography (around 100 words) to Please put the phrase ‘CF2016 Paper Submission’ in your subject line. Proposals for panels of either 60 or 75 minutes are also welcome. If you wish to submit a panel proposal, please include the line ‘CF2016 Panel Submission’ in your subject line and make sure you include an indication of the panel’s length and biographies of all your speakers in your abstract. The deadline for submission is 25th July 2016 and notification of acceptance or rejection will be emailed by or before 8th August 2016.

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Posted by on 2016/06/10 in Comics Forum 2016


Review: Threadbare by Anne Elizabeth Moore

Threadbare: Clothes, Sex and Trafficking by Anne Elizabeth Moore and The Ladydrawers

Microcosm Publishing. 10th May 2016. ISBN: 978-1-62106-739-9. Price: $13.95


Reviewed by Harriet Earle

As I write this review, I am acutely aware of my clothing. Not the items specifically as much as the fact that almost everything I’m wearing came from a high street store and cost very little. This is not something I have concerned myself with much in the past but after reading Threadbare: Clothes, Sex and Trafficking, a brilliantly constructed report on ‘the connections between the global fashion and sex trades’ I have found myself rethinking my previous stance on fashion. In this comic, Moore spotlights the complex and far-reaching relationship between these two markets to create a comic that is dense and informative without being dull or confusing. The result is a text that not only informs the reader of the relationship between fashion (especially ‘fast fashion’ – cheap, mass produced clothing that is taking the global market by storm) and the international sex and trafficking trades but also provides nuanced, personal stories from women whose lives are directly affected by the issues at hand. The combination of astute research and intensely personal artistic styles is what makes this book. This is no ordinary comic: this is a manifesto.

From the outset we are faced with some harsh truths: the world of fashion has changed drastically over the past century and is still in flux. In the US, the average woman buys 68 items of clothing per year. One in seven women worldwide is employed in the garment industry. Shop staff are paid low wages with little to no security or benefits; models are routinely encouraged to diet excessively and are often forced into situations they are not comfortable with; garment factory workers face long hours, minimal pay and all manner of horrific abuses. Threadbare is open and honest about these facts; it encourages the reader to contemplate them, not just as abstract statistics but through vignettes with individual representatives of each part of the sprawling international garments industry. Moore is not rehashing someone else’s research – this is all her own work, complete with notes and references. She directly engages with her subjects and it shows. She exists within her own comics as a guiding voice, if not visible character, through the agenda that each short strip sets up and the focussed way it plays out.

The Ladydrawers, an ‘unofficially affiliated group’ of artists that ‘researches, performs and publishes comics and texts about how economics, race, sexuality, and gender impact the comics industry, other media, and our culture at large’. Their artwork is raw and curiously coloured; the majority of the strips rely on black line work, highlighted by shades of orange, red and pink. Each artist has a distinct style and their individuality lends the particular narratives a flavour all their own. The narrating head and shoulders sketches of model Sarah Meier in ‘Model Employee’, drawn by Delia Jean, floats throughout a series of flashbacks to her own story and imagined meetings in other people’s. In contrast, Melissa Mendes’ cool and impersonal industrial landscapes illustrate the stark reality of how zoning laws are manipulated by the garment industry to keep both merchandise and labour cheap.

Threadbare is an incredibly wordy comic; though pocket-sized, the amount of information contained within requires several readings to fully digest. Moving from the USA to Austria to Cambodia and then to a world-wide view, the reader is faced with page after page of uncomfortable truths about an industry that is seemingly ubiquitous and that the vast majority of us are interacting with on numerous levels. The final short comic of the collection, ‘The Connecting Threads’, asks us to consider everything that Threadbare has already laid out, recapping statistics and offering its rallying cry: ditch the mall, advocate for a living wage in the garment industry and make a change. As difficult as this may be – fast fashion is a staple of many of our wardrobes and remains so because of its affordability and omnipresence – there is no doubt that Moore and her artistic collaborators are correct. The only way to make a difference is to take a stand. And, thanks to Threadbare, I will be doing just that.



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The Bi-Monthly ComFor Update for April 2016

by Lukas R. A. Wilde

Welcome back to ComFor’s quick update on comic studies-news related to the German-speaking corners of the world. The big news, here as probably everywhere else, was arguably the first membership drive of the Comic Studies Society (CSS). We were even more excited to learn about the plans of the CSS to launch a new comic scholarship Journal in 2017 (announced aptly as the Journal of the Comics Studies Society) – fascinating times to be a comics scholar, indeed!

In Germany, the early spring was initially all about wonderful festivals and fairs: from March 10 to 20, our Austrian neighbors in Linz and Steyr celebrated their Nextcomic Festival, with an inspiring range of international guests and ambitious exhibitions. During the same time (March 12), Hamburg opened up its first Comic and Manga Convention, and Berlin became the place to be for the Comicinvasion Festival (April 16 to 17). The satellite program of the Comicinvasion kicked off more than two weeks prior to the festival, with lots of exhibitions and some highly interesting lectures and talks on comics in various venues across the city. If Berlin was too far north from wherever you are residing, there was the option to head for Switzerland instead: the 25th Fumetto Festival in Luzern was celebrated for a whole 10 days (April 10 to 20), featuring not only a range of renowned artists and exhibitions as well (one right in the streets of Luzern), but also a program that seemed targeted at scholars as much as at connoisseurs: a lecture series on comics by some true masters of the art (such as Ben Katchor, Joost Swarte or Matt Madden, to name just a few). In addition, there was an international symposium titled “Drawing as Language and how Comic Artists Teach it”. The symposium asked some of the most renowned artists how they share their experiences in teaching, in encounters with students, children and even refugees.

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