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Category Archives: Comics Forum 2012

Deadline Extended: Comics Forum 2018 Call for Papers

Progress: A Decade of Comics Scholarship
Leeds Central Library 20-21 September

Call for Papers

Deadline extended to the 23rd of July 2018.

Comics Forum 2018 is the tenth anniversary of the annual conference series. To celebrate this milestone, we invite scholars from around the world to join us for a two-day series of talks looking back at the subjects Comics Forum has focused on over the past decade and considering how they have changed and developed. We are now open to submissions on any of the following themes, reflecting the topics from previous years’ events (please indicate which theme you are addressing when you submit your abstract):

  • Genre (2016)
  • Graphic Medicine: Visualizing the Stigma of Illness (2011)[1]
  • Materiality and Virtuality (2011)
  • Multiculturalism and Representation (2012)
  • Politics (2015)
  • Possibilities and Perspectives (2009)
  • Sculpture and Comic Art (2011)[2]
  • Small Press and Undergrounds (2013)
  • Space (2017)
  • Theory and Practice (2010)
  • Violence (2014)
  • Women in Comics (2010)[3]

Submissions will be considered in any of the following three formats (please indicate which you are proposing when you submit your abstract):

  • Paper: 15-minute paper on a focused topic.
  • Panel: 1 hour structured discussion between three or more participants (N.B.: this should be a coherent unit, not simply a collection of three or four papers).
  • Workshop: 1 hour interactive, collaborative session aimed at producing outputs to be published on comicsforum.org.

Proposals of up to 250 words in length are now being accepted at the following link: http://bit.ly/comicsforum2018 The deadline for submissions is the 23rd of July and you will be notified of acceptance by or before the 30th of July. Please include a short (100 word) biography of your speaker(s) with your proposal. We look forward to welcoming you to Leeds!

***

[1] Graphic Medicine: Guest conference organised by Ian Williams and MK Czerwiec.
[2] Sculpture and Comic Art: Guest conference organised by Jon Wood and Kirstie Gregory.
[3] Women in Comics: Guest conference organised by Sarah Lightman, Catriona MacLeod, Hattie Kennedy and Emily Rabone.
 

Call for Papers: Comics Forum 2018

Progress: A Decade of Comics Scholarship
Leeds Central Library 20-21 September

Call for Papers

Deadline extended to the 23rd of July 2018.

Comics Forum 2018 is the tenth anniversary of the annual conference series. To celebrate this milestone, we invite scholars from around the world to join us for a two-day series of talks looking back at the subjects Comics Forum has focused on over the past decade and considering how they have changed and developed. We are now open to submissions on any of the following themes, reflecting the topics from previous years’ events (please indicate which theme you are addressing when you submit your abstract):

  • Genre (2016)
  • Graphic Medicine: Visualizing the Stigma of Illness (2011)[1]
  • Materiality and Virtuality (2011)
  • Multiculturalism and Representation (2012)
  • Politics (2015)
  • Possibilities and Perspectives (2009)
  • Sculpture and Comic Art (2011)[2]
  • Small Press and Undergrounds (2013)
  • Space (2017)
  • Theory and Practice (2010)
  • Violence (2014)
  • Women in Comics (2010)[3]

Submissions will be considered in any of the following three formats (please indicate which you are proposing when you submit your abstract):

  • Paper: 15-minute paper on a focused topic.
  • Panel: 1 hour structured discussion between three or more participants (N.B.: this should be a coherent unit, not simply a collection of three or four papers).
  • Workshop: 1 hour interactive, collaborative session aimed at producing outputs to be published on comicsforum.org.

Proposals of up to 250 words in length are now being accepted at the following link: http://bit.ly/comicsforum2018 The deadline for submissions is the 23rd of July and you will be notified of acceptance by or before the 30th of July. Please include a short (100 word) biography of your speaker(s) with your proposal. We look forward to welcoming you to Leeds!

***

[1] Graphic Medicine: Guest conference organised by Ian Williams and MK Czerwiec.
[2] Sculpture and Comic Art: Guest conference organised by Jon Wood and Kirstie Gregory.
[3] Women in Comics: Guest conference organised by Sarah Lightman, Catriona MacLeod, Hattie Kennedy and Emily Rabone.
 

New Book: Representing Multiculturalism in Comics and Graphic Novels

Representing Multiculturalism in Comics and Graphic Novels

A collection of fifteen articles, originally presented as conference papers at Comics Forum 2012, has been published by Routledge as Representing Multiculturalism in Comics and Graphic Novels, edited by CF2012 conference directors Carolene Ayaka and Ian Hague. Here’s the synopsis:

Multiculturalism, and its representation, has long presented challenges for the medium of comics. This book presents a wide ranging survey of the ways in which comics have dealt with the diversity of creators and characters and the (lack of) visibility for characters who don’t conform to particular cultural stereotypes. Contributors engage with ethnicity and other cultural forms from Israel, Romania, North America, South Africa, Germany, Spain, U.S. Latino and Canada and consider the ways in which comics are able to represent multiculturalism through a focus on the formal elements of the medium. Discussion themes include education, countercultures, monstrosity, the quotidian, the notion of the ‘other,” anthropomorphism, and colonialism. Taking a truly international perspective, the book brings into dialogue a broad range of comics traditions.

And here are the contents and abstracts for each of the chapters; a huge thank you to all the authors who contributed to the volume!

  1. Multiculturalism Meets the Counterculture: Representing Racial Difference in Robert Crumb’s Underground Comix

COREY K. CREEKMUR

Although underground comix were recognized as a key component of the 1960s counterculture in the United States, their controversial representation of African Americans suggests an ambivalent relationship between the counterculture and the simultaneous rise of multicultural perspectives following the earlier Civil Rights era.  Focusing specifically on Robert Crumb’s controversial images of African Americans in various underground comix, this article seeks to locate those images in their historical context in order to better understand their frequent recourse to antiquated, “racist” stereotypes in an era otherwise increasingly defined by images celebrating racial identity and difference.  This essay also considers the frequently contradictory claims made about these images within the critical and historical work on underground comix.

  1. The Impact of Latino Identities and the Humanizing of Multiculturalism in Love and Rockets

ANA MERINO

This article analyses the importance of the Hernandez Brothers work as prominent authors of the alternative fiction landscape of comics. Pioneers of multicultural style, they also developed a proto-feminist narrative adulthood in their comics. Over the course of three decades they developed in their work a multicultural sensibility that describes other realities where members of Latino communities are the main characters. They took the risk to represent through comics the contradictions of the American society with a political ethnic conscience.

  1. The Presidential Penis: Questions of race and representation in South African comic and satirical art­­

ANDY MASON

The reproduction of racial and ethnic stereotypes has long played an ideological role in South African comic art. As I have shown in my historical study of South African cartooning (2010), the stereotype of the African male as a threatening savage ‘other’ endowed with prodigious erotic power – a source of both revulsion and admiration amongst the colonial and neocolonial elites – is visible in the early popular visual literature of the colonial period and has endured into the post-apartheid period, where it is used ‘knowingly’ (in the postmodern sense) by cartoonists and satirical artists. But seldom has this tendency been so visible as in a scandalous slew of satirical images in which pictorial representations of Jacob Zuma’s penis were employed symbolically to refer to the state of South African politics and society.

The article examines usages of such imagery by three satirists: Zapiro (Jonathan Shapiro), Brett Murray and Ayanda Mabulu. These usages have all been controversial and hotly debated in the nation’s media, but two instances in particular – Zapiro’s 2008 “Rape of Justice” cartoon, and Brett Murray’s 2012 painting “The Spear” – have aroused unprecedented levels of public response, both angry and appreciative, revealing deep cultural and ideological fissures in post-apartheid society.

Critical theorists in a range of disciplines have taken positions on these two images. For example, journalist Glenda Daniels (2012) examines the lawsuits advanced by Zuma against Zapiro as instances of the ANC government’s intention to intimidate critics and restrict press freedom; cultural theorist Steven C. Dubin (2012) sees the brouhaha around “The Spear” as a vindication of his contention that South African society is riven by “culture wars”; and political geographer Daniel Hammett (2010) visualises public responses to “The Rape of Lady Justice” as an ideological demographic ranged around the cartoon to reveal contestation around the nation’s constitutional project. I also refer to my 2010 article “The Cannibal Ogre and the Rape of Justice” which argues for a reception theory approach to Zapiro’s infamous cartoon.

The article argues that while contextual factors surrounding the production of comic art in South Africa, from the highly repressive apartheid period to the post-apartheid cultural renaissance, have allowed unusual levels of freedom of expression and experimentation, this has unfortunately been accompanied in some cases by intercultural insensitivities that may have had the effect of reinforcing racial attitudes amongst sections of the public, with a deleterious effect on interracial reconciliation. While strongly advocating the right to freedom of expression, the article makes a case for cultural sensitivity amongst cartoonists working in multicultural contexts.

  1. Recognition and resemblance: facture, imagination and ideology in depictions of cultural and national difference

SIMON GRENNAN

This chapter explores the idea that depictions embody their producers and readers in specific relationships between subject, social institution, material and idea, in order to examine depiction in the context of narrative drawings of cultural and national differences. Citing examples of the works of Kerry James Marshall, Dr Lakra and Kunisada Utagawa, among others, the chapter brings together theorisations by Michael Podro, Louis Althusser, Pierre Bourdieu, Robert Hodge and Gunter Kress. The chapter aims to elucidate the roles of imagination and habituation in the production of ideology, considering the implications of objectification in cases where depictions are approached as resemblances of the situations that they depict.

  1. ‘Badgers? We don’t need no steenkin’ badgers!’ Talbot’s Grandville, anthropomorphism and multiculturalism

MEL GIBSON

This chapter investigates how issues around multiculturalism are explored in the Grandville series of graphic novels by Bryan Talbot. Grandville, Grandville Mon Amour and Grandville Bête Noire depict a steampunk world in which animals are dominant and every species is considered equal, whether duck, fish or horse. This does not stop intolerance or prejudice, however. Humans also exist within this world, but are a minority seen by the animals as lesser beings. In considering these relationships and tensions, the chapter first looks at how economics and multiculturalism are linked in Grandville and then turns to a brief consideration of how language and national identity operate. It next looks at Talbot’s use of colour and art as a mechanism for signifying difference and diversity. Finally, it will focus down on issues of cultural intolerance, dominance and the terrorist other.

  1. The Image of the Foreigner in Historical Romanian Comics under Ceauşescu’s Dictatorship

MIHAELA PRECUP

Nicolae Ceauşescu’s humorless and ultra-nationalist dictatorship took its comics seriously, and even held official party meetings in order to establish what children’s magazines—the main space for comics at the time—should publish. Historical comics had to teach a version of the Romanian past that would boost nationalist sentiment and justify a negative perception of the outside, while painting Romania as a country of pure-hearted valiant and hard-working men (and rarely women), permanently assailed by evil forces.

This chapter examines the image of ”the foreigner” in several historical comic strips published in long-standing communist children’s magazines, where foreign nationals were extremely frequent, and generally evil. However, the representational code used by the artists in these didactic cartoons was quite realistic. The most frequently represented episodes from the (proto)Romanian past were the Roman conquest of Dacia (second century AD), the first unification of the Romanian provinces under the same political leadership (1600), a Russian-Romanian battle against the Ottoman Empire (1877), and World War II. The representations of foreigners in communist cartoons showed three main groups: the Romans (morally inferior conquerors of the proud Dacians, the Romanian ancestors), the Germans (always depicted as sly smirking uniformed Nazis, even decades after the end of World War II), and the Turks (Ottomans whose sole purpose was to conquer, pillage, and plunder). The comics contained a mixture of fictitious characters and actual participants in history, all of them treated as if they were equally “real.” During Ceauşescu’s dictatorship, the national superhero was a virtuous man (never a woman, despite the self-proclaimed feminist party line) endowed not only with heightened moral sense and loyalty to a nation whose identity had not yet been articulated, but also with uncommon physical prowess and an uncanny awareness that his bravery would help build something grand in the future, more specifically, Ceauşescu’s Romania.

  1. The Monster Within and Without: Spanish Comics, Monstrosity, Religion, and Alterity

SARAH D. HARRIS

Francisco Goya’s most famous proto-comic, “The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters” (1799), forms part of a series of prints called Caprices, implying whimsical playfulness. Nonetheless, these prints were far from playful. Meant to reveal, through the interplay of images and ironic captions, insidious social ills, this series suggests Goya’s Spanish contemporaries are more monstrous than the bogeymen they invented. In contrast, more than a century later and published under fascist dictatorial rule, several early 20th century Spanish adventure comics villianize and make monsters of specific religious elements of Spain’s multicultural past. One of the best-known series, Manuel Gago’s The Masked Warrior, (1944-1980) pits a medieval Christian hero against his duplicitous and Muslim murderer-rapist stepfather. Working within the confines of totalitarianism, this comic distances itself, in time and place, from Franco’s modern enemies to promote the same values as its dictator: One Spain, One Race, One Religion. This chapter explores the depiction of monstrosity and alterity from these two divergent moments in Spain. More specifically, it argues that these two examples represent two extremes in a range of practice of using stereotype to represent multiculturalism.

  1. Colonialist Heroes and Monstrous Others: Stereotype and Narrative Form in British Adventure Comic Books

IAN HORTON

This paper explores the representation of colonialist stereotypes and the colonised ‘Other’ in British comic book adventure stories using Edward Said’s theories of Orientalism. From the 1940s to the 1990s comic books, such as the Eagle, Hotspur and Victor, used ‘exotic’ locations and caricatured representations, visual and textual, to maintain these stereotypes and shape narrative structure so continuing the traditions of early 20th century boy’s illustrated magazines. These stereotypes were also central in driving the narrative within more innovative contemporary comic books such as Rogon Gosh and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen where additionally the image of an eroticised ‘Other’ emerged as a new archetype.

  1. Set Pieces: Cultural Appropriation and the Search for Contemporary Identities in Shōnen Manga

JACOB BIRKEN

When does cultural appropriation become inappropriate? Focussing on contemporary Manga as D.Gray-man, Fullmetal Alchemist or Blue Exorcist, which use European history and Christian ico-nography as an eclectic backdrop or even visual “repository” for fiction, this chapter discusses how eclectic imagery and narratives can be (mis-)interpreted as political practice. Starting out from the historical discourses of post-colonial critique and the post-modern, it aims to analyse how the trope of ‘identity crisis’ and cultural eclecticism in Manga might offer a both critical and utopian counter-part to common models of multiculturalism.

  1. Narrative Exploration against Mentality Issues: Indirect Education for Multiculturalism in Tintin

MARIA-SABINA DRAGA ALEXANDRU

This chapter aims to show that, despite accusations of stereotypical thinking, particularly of racism, Hergé’s classic The Adventures of Tintin is pervaded by the author’s intention to educate his audiences with respect to the world’s plural nature. In its various translations (such as into Catalan, a minority language with a spectacular history of emancipation), the Tintin series has gradually become representative of far more progressive attitudes than the ones it was initially associated with. The changing history of Tintin’s reception also suggests that comic strips can be highly effective in questioning received ideas about the world.

  1. Embracing Childish Perspective: Rutu Modan’s A Royal Banquet With the Queen

LILY GLASNER

Studies on multiculturalism and children usually adopt a paternalistic perspective. This approach doesn’t take into consideration the possibility that a child’s perspective can positively affect the welfare of adults.

This article points to an alternative viewpoint based on the writings of psychologist Alice Miller and psychotherapist Piero Ferrucci. This viewpoint is further explored in light of Rutu Modan’s comic book for children. Modan’s narrative advocates a mutual respect which leads to a genuine dialogue and to a mutual transference of values between children and adults. Thus, in turn, Modan’s comic book enables us to reevaluate children’s role within the frame of multicultural discourse.

  1. An Innocent at Home: Scott Pilgrim and His Canadian Multicultural Contexts

BRENNA CLARKE GRAY & PETER WILKINS

This paper examines the coding of Canada and its relationship to multiculturalism in Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim. It both situates Scott Pilgrim in the history of Canadian Superhero comics and the Canadian culture industry and offers a reading of O’Malley’s critique and revision of Canadian identity.

At first read, Scott Pilgrim is a typical story of American youth. The name “Pilgrim” identifies Scott with both the origin story of the United States and atemporal myth. That he must fight a series of epic battles against increasingly threatening foes gives the story a Jungian feel, as though it were a graphic variant of Joseph Campbell’s A Hero’s Journey. Because the American origin story depends on just such a universal, mythical quality, Scott Pilgrim appears to fit into the tradition of redemptive American narratives.

We argue that O’Malley in fact undercuts this apparent universality with “Canadian” signifiers that transform the comic into a mediation of Canada’s relationship to the grand American narrative and more particular cultural micronarratives. Many of these signifiers are visual cues embedded in t-shirts and signs that create a “secret” Canadian language for readers in the know. But the central relationship between Scott and Ramona Flowers is itself such a signifier; it invokes the relationship between Canada and the United States generally, with Ramona the worldly American and Scott the parochial Canadian. This cultural antagonism structures other antagonisms, such as that between Scott and his Chinese Canadian girlfriend, Knives Chau, who holds up a mirror to Scott that shatters the myth of the bland and blond Canadian “nice guy.” In spite of his occupying the structural position of hero in the narrative, Scott is incapable of mastering either the grand narrative or micro-narratives.

Thus, we present the series as a critique of Canadian helplessness in relation to both American hegemony and multiculturalism. This comic really is Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, a battle in which the Canadian hero is a hapless and oblivious slacker who finds himself embroiled in conflict almost by accident, his apparent innocence absolving him of responsibility and engagement.   

  1. The Lower East Side as Mishmash of Jewish Women’s Multicultural Images in Leela Corman’s Unterzakhn

DANA MIHĂILESCU

New York’s Lower East Side has been widely documented in historical literature as a place of diversity rather than a local, limited Jewish phenomenon, in seminal works by Hasia R. Diner, Jeffrey Shandler, Beth S. Wenger and Deborah Dash Moore. I argue that Leela Corman’s 2012 graphic novel, Unterzakhn, complements historians’ works with an unexplored representation of the early twentieth century multicultural Lower East Side, which also touches on the process of assimilation but is primarily filtered through women’s images and private lives. My chapter will trace the graphic novel’s varied and at times controversial representations of womanhood in relation to traditional Judaic Eastern European lore and American mass media views of the early twentieth century by an analysis of three main articles of women’s dress featured in the narrative–head scarfs, shirts-and-waists, and corsets.

  1. They All Look Alike? Representations of East Asian Americans in Adrian Tomine’s Shortcomings and Scenes from an Impending Marriage

EMMA OKI

Adrian Tomine is, along with Derek Kirk Kim, Tak Toyoshima, and Gene Luen Yang, one of the most popular contemporary Asian-American comics creators. He has been praised not only for his artistic and storytelling skills but also for the way he addresses issues pertaining to race and identity. This chapter examines how East Asian Americans, especially those of Japanese descent, are represented in two of Tomine’s works, namely Shortcomings (2007) and Scenes from an Impending Marriage (2011).

  1. Tulips and Roses in a Global Garden: Speaking Local Identities in Persepolis and Tekkon Kinkreet

ALEX LINK

This article examines the way in which both Persepolis (2003) by Marjane Satrapi, and Tekkon Kinkreet (1994) by Taiyo Matsumoto, approach the articulation of local, popular expressions of cultural identity in strikingly similar ways.  On the surface, the narratives seem nothing like one another.  Persepolis tells of growing up in the context of the rise of the Iranian theocratic regime.  Tekkon Kinkreet concerns two superpowered Japanese urchins defending “Treasure Town” from colonization by a diabolical global corporation.  In both cases, however, we encounter narratives that recognize the articulation of cultural identity as contested space, in which popular ownership of that identity has to compete with more powerful or authoritative expressions of it that also lay claim to authenticity.  Both narratives recognize the complexities of speaking cultural identity in a global context, in which such an identity must be fixed enough to be specific, but also fluid enough to accommodate difference and cross-cultural communication.  The two narratives also suggest, in form and content, how both comics and myth offer a bridge between the self-representation of popular, local, cultural identity and its situation and participation in a global context.

At the heart of both Persepolis and Tekkon Kinkreet is the question of who, precisely, can speak cultural identity, and whether, when, and how it might be spoken.  They represent popular voices raised in opposition to, in the former, an oppressive regime that lays sole claim to speaking Iranian identity in collusion with its western antagonists; and in the latter, a potentially homogenizing, or at least disenfranchising, global corporate entity that among other things suggests the global city might be a colonizing culture unto itself. Each defends local specificity against a global entity while drawing from myth as a paradoxically global narrative wellspring of indigenous identity, and from comics as itself an increasingly global medium.

Ultimately, this essay concludes, both narratives make specific cultural content secondary to the right to its expression by popular voices through such popular channels as comics.  In both graphic novels, representing the fluid specificity of cultural identity in a manner that articulates it, and its immediate pressing concerns, without fixing it, shifts narrative emphasis to the fact of, and commitment to, self-representation perhaps above all else, while acknowledging a place in a world of many cultures, stories, and comics styles.

Links

To find out more, or to order Representing Multiculturalism in Comics and Graphic Novels, click here to visit the Routledge product page.

To recommend Representing Multiculturalism in Comics and Graphic Novels to your librarian, click here to be taken to a recommendation form.

If you’re an author or journal editor, and would like to review Representing Multiculturalism in Comics and Graphic Novels, click here to request a review copy (you will need to have a publication venue secured to receive a review copy).

 

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Comics Forum 2013: Thank You and Announcements

Comics Forum 2013 took place at Leeds Central Library last week. A huge thank you to our speakers, who travelled from around the world to present a set of excellent papers and who made the event a resounding success. We would also like to extend a vote of thanks to the following people, who were all very helpful in running various aspects of the conference: Clark Burscough, Hugo Frey, Ben Gaskell, Mel Gibson, Nabil Homsi and the staff of Travelling Man, Roger Sabin, Dawn Stanley-Donaghy and the whole team at Leeds Central Library, Hannah Wadle and Lisa Wood Thanks also to our supporters, who made the event possible: Thought Bubble, the University of Chichester, Routledge, Travelling ManDr Mel Gibson and Molakoe.

The Comics Forum 2013 page on the website has now been moved into the Comics Forum Archives, where you can also download the full text of the conference programme (including abstracts and speaker biographies) and other relevant documentation. We’ll also be adding a selection of photos taken by conference photographer Craig Brogden shortly. Keep an eye on the site for details of Comics Forum 2014 as they are confirmed!

At Comics Forum 2013, Comics Forum Director Ian Hague announced eleven developments for Comics Forum, which will feed into the website and other areas over the next twelve months. Here’s the full list of announcements:

1. Comics Forum is shifting to become an unincorporated association.

Although we will still be running as part of the Thought Bubble festival, Comics Forum is establishing itself as a separate entity, called an unincorporated association, which will allow it to operate more autonomously. This means we’ve developed a constitution and set up a committee from the people who are involved in running the organisation. Full details of the constitution and the committee will be announced on the Comics Forum website in the next few months as this process is completed.

2. @ComicsForum is two years old.

The Comics Forum Twitter feed, run by Hattie Kennedy, launched at Comics Forum 2011 and has been providing regular updates on Comics Forum, and comics scholarship more generally, ever since. Why not follow @ComicsForum and keep up to date with all the latest as it happens?

3. Comics Forum’s Facebook page is eighteen months old.

Comics Forum’s Facebook page, run by Paul Fisher Davies, was launched in June 2012. Since then it’s offered all the latest and most interesting articles on comics from around the web. Like us on Facebook to receive updates!

4. The Comics Forum News Review is one year old.

The Comics Forum News Review, edited by Will Grady and contributed to by many correspondents, has now been running for a little over a year. If you would like to join our team and expand our coverage, contact Will at comicsforumnews@hotmail.co.uk. A huge thank you to all our correspondents for your great work so far!

5. Comics Forum will launch a reviews column in March 2014.

Hattie Kennedy has been appointed as Comics Forum’s reviews editor, and will launch a column covering book, conference and exhibition reviews to run monthly from March 2014. We are now recruiting reviewers; if you would like to join the team please contact Hattie at comicsforumreviews@outlook.com.

6. Comics Forum presents ‘Comics and Cultural Work’ in December 2013.

Guest edited by Casey Brienza, the Comics Forum website will be running a series of articles on Comics and Cultural Work in December 2013. The full line up of articles is as follows:

‘Comics and Cultural Work (Introduction)’, by Casey Brienza

‘Why Is It So Hard to Think about Comics as Labour?’ by Benjamin Woo

‘Comics and the Day Job: Cartooning and Work in Jeffrey Brown and James Kochalka’s Conversation #2’, by Paddy Johnston

‘My Brief Adventure in Comic Book Retail’, by Tom Miller

‘Comics and Cultural Work (Conclusion)’, by Casey Brienza

7. Research from the University of Lincoln’s ‘Comics and the World Wars’ research project will be available on the Comics Forum website from January 2014.

In association with the University of Lincoln, the Comics Forum website will be running materials from the AHRC funded research project ‘Comics and the World Wars’. Launching in January 2014, this exciting collaboration will see Comics Forum publish ‘Comics and the World Wars: A Cultural Record’ by Anna Hoyles. The site’s digital text archive will also be hosting ‘Representation of female war-time bravery in Australia’s Wanda the War Girl’ by Jane Chapman and ‘Multi-panel comic narratives in Australian First World War trench publications as citizen journalism’ by Jane Chapman and Dan Ellin, with more titles to be announced around mid-2014.

8. Comics Forum will host a bi-annual International Bande Dessinée Society column from January 2014.

From January 2014 Comics Forum will be hosting an ongoing bi-annual column from the International Bande Dessinée Society. Format and contributors are currently to be confirmed but we’re very pleased to be able to provide an ongoing presence for the study of BD on the site.

9. News and content from Germany’s Gesellschaft für Comicforschung will be translated in a bi-monthly column on Comics Forum launching in February 2014.

Starting in February, Paul Meyer, Stephan Packard and Lukas Wilde will be writing a bi-monthly column translating major articles and news from Germany’s pre-eminent Comics Studies association Gesellschaft für Comicforschung. We already host extensive archive material from the ComFor conference series in our affiliated conferences archive, and we’re delighted to be able to extend our collaboration and present more work from the highly productive German language comics scholarship field in translation.

10. A new monthly column on Manga Studies will launch on Comics Forum in April 2014.

From April 2014, Comics Forum will be running a monthly column on Manga Studies. The column’s editorial board comprises five experts in the field: Jessica Bauwens-Sugimoto (also our Japan correspondent for the News Review), Jaqueline Berndt, Ronald Stewart, CJ Suzuki and Nicholas Theisen. The column will include discussions of major manga critics, their works, impacts, and problems; themes and methodologies in manga studies; comparative approaches and current issues and longer term ideas. The column’s focus is not limited to Japanese manga will also cover related forms such as manhua and manhwa, and global manga. We’re very excited to be able to present work by this wonderful team, and we’re looking forward to seeing what they have up their sleeves!

11. Routledge will publish Representing Multiculturalism in Comics and Graphic Novels, a new book spinning out of Comics Forum 2012, in Winter 2014.

Following 2012’s very successful ‘Multiculturalism and Representation: A Conference on Comics’ we’re pleased to announce that Routledge will publish a book based on the conference. Edited by Carolene Ayaka and Ian Hague, the book will feature seventeen fantastic writers, including: Jacob Birken, Corey K. Creekmur, Brenna Clarke Gray & Peter Wilkins, Maria-Sabina Draga Alexandru, William H. Foster III, Mel Gibson, Lily Glasner, Simon Grennan, Sarah D. Harris, Ian Horton, Alex Link, Paul M. Malone, Andy Mason, Ana Merino, Dana Mihăilescu, Emma Oki and Mihaela Precup. Keep an eye on the site for more information on the book as we move through the production process.

2013 has been a very exciting year for Comics Forum, and it looks like 2014 will be bigger still. The Comics Forum team would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported and contributed to the work we’ve been doing so far. If you have any suggestions for other things we can do to help develop comics scholarship, or you’d like to get involved, please let us know! You can contact us via Twitter or Facebook, or by email at comicsforum@hotmail.co.uk. Finally, don’t forget that you can sign up to receive every post from the Comics Forum website direct to your inbox by filling in the Email Subscription box on the right hand side of this page!

Carolene Ayaka, Paul Fisher Davies, Will Grady, Ian Hague, Hattie Kennedy and Rebecca Macklin

 

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Comics Forum Online: Year Two Review and Comics Forum 2013 Call for Papers

The Comics Forum website is two years old today! Following on from last year’s round up of articles, in this post I’ll be providing a review of all the pieces we’ve published this year, and launching the Comics Forum 2013 call for papers.

Comics Forum 2013: Call for Papers

After a fantastic event last year, I’m pleased to announce that the theme of our fifth conference is ‘Small Press and Undergrounds’. Leeds Central Library has agreed to host the event for a second time, and the call for papers is out now (see below).

CF2013 - CFP

Click here to download a PDF of the call for papers.

We very much look forward to welcoming a diverse selection of academics, researchers and creators to Leeds for what is sure to be a lively and engaging event covering a wide range of aspects of small press and underground comics. We’re working on lining up a great set of keynotes and will announce them here in due course.

The Comics Forum 2013 page on the website is also online now, and we’ll be updating that with all the details as and when they’re confirmed so keep an eye on that to stay up to date. If you’d like to receive all the latest updates as soon as they’re released you can also sign up to our RSS feed (click the orange button at the top of this box) or put your email address in the box on the right hand side of this page to get every update delivered straight to your inbox.

As in previous years the call for papers was designed by Ben Gaskell of Molakoe Graphic Design. A huge thank you to Ben for his hard work; we think it’s really paid off!

Comics Forum Online: Year Two

The second year of the Comics Forum website kicked off with the launch of a new set of resources in our Affiliated Conferences section as we added information and documentation from 2011’s Comics & Medicine: The Sequential Art of Illness. Later in the year we added many more conferences to the archive, including: the Dundee Comics Day series, Germany’s Gesellschaft für Comicforschung (ComFor) conferences, Graphic Details Symposium: Talking About Jewish Women and Comics, The International Comics Conference and Women in Comics. The Transitions series also joined the archive, and was the subject of an article by Nina Mickwitz. This archive is open for submissions; if you are a conference organiser (or have been in the past) and would like to archive your conference materials with us we’d be happy to host them. Get in touch at comicsforum@hotmail.co.uk to talk about setting up your archive. Don’t forget that Comics Forum also hosts a number of other resources including a Scholar Directory and a Digital Texts archive, both of which are open to submissions. The Digital Texts section saw a significant update this year with the release of Steven E. Mitchell’s ‘Evil Harvest: Investigating the Comic Book, 1948-1955′, which is available for download in full and for free now.

This year saw the launch of a brand new monthly column in the form of the Comics Forum News Review. Edited by Will Grady and featuring a top line up of international contributors, the review (published on the 4th of each month) launched in November and pulls together all the major stories from comics scholarship around the world. New contributors are always welcome, particularly for countries that aren’t already covered by our existing correspondents, so if you’d like to get involved contact Will at: comicsforumnews@hotmail.co.uk. Year two also saw the continuation of our column in association with major online journal Image [&] Narrative. Charlotte Pylyser, Steven Surdiacourt and Greice Schneider contributed a series of fascinating articles on a wide range of topics including blank panels, comics and poetry, social aspects of comics, Chris Ware’s Lint as a comic strip opera, and the depiction of boredom in comics. Head over to the column archive to read all the instalments in this fascinating series, which will be continuing into the next year.

We were also very lucky to be able to feature articles by a wonderful group of guest authors this year. The study of comics was the subject of my interview with Mel Gibson and an article by James Chapman. Padmini Ray Murray considered the importance of book history for the discipline, and Michael D. Picone looked at the problem of definition. Christina Blanch discussed the massive open online course (MOOC) on Gender Through Comics that she started running in April 2013, while John Swogger considered the possibility of using comics for archaeology, a topic he also spoke on at the 2012 conference. Sara Duke took us on a tour of the comics collection of the United States Library of Congress, demonstrating the importance of looking at original art in an article illustrated with a range of beautiful examples. The intersections of politics and comics came under scrutiny in articles by Cord Scott and Jason Dittmer. Laurence Grove looked at the early history of comics in his guest article, while Martha Kuhlman considered the possibility of avant-garde comics in hers. Elisabeth El Refaie wrote on visual authentication strategies in autobiographic comics, and Louise Crosby and Helen Iball talked about the launch of Laydeez do Comics Leeds.

We also featured a range of case studies, with Malin Bergström discussing Darren Aronofsky and Kent Williams’ The Fountain, Nicolas Labarre taking a detailed look at David Mazzucchelli and Paul Karasik’s adaptation of Paul Auster’s City of Glass and Aletta Verwoerd addressing Art Spiegelman’s In the Shadow of No Towers. Eric Berlatsky looked at homosociality, misogyny and triangular desire in early Superman comics. Other writers who considered specific works included Barbara Uhlig, who looked at Lorenzo Mattotti and Jorge Zentner’s Caboto, and Gwen Athene Tarbox, who talked about the graphic novels of Bastien Vivès. Hannah Miodrag discussed The Long and Unlearned Life of Roland Gethers by Shane Simmon, and Fabrice Leroy talked about Joann Sfar’s Pascin. Most recently, Philip Smith has looked at the use of hybrid languages in Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese.

September 2012 saw the start of a month long series dedicated to the short works of Alan Moore. Edited by Maggie Gray, who also introduced and concluded the collection, Rummaging Around in Alan Moore’s Shorts included articles by Lance Parkin, Daniel L. Werneck, K. A. Laity, and two articles by Marc Sobel. José Alaniz also wrote an article for the series, and later in the year presented a fantastic talk on Death and the Superhero at the Henry Moore Institute in the second of our ‘Comics Forum presents…’ talks.

A number of our guest-authored articles were nominated for 2012’s Hooded Utilitarian Award for Best Online Comics Criticism; a thank you to HU for the nod. The final list of articles can be found here.

Coming Soon

Over the next year we’ll be looking to continue expanding our offerings on the website and presenting articles by top writers on the medium. We’ll soon be making available MP3s of the two events in the ‘Comics Forum presents…’ series so far and launching permanent pages for each of these events. Later in the year we have the 2013 conference to look forward to, and members of the Comics Forum team will also be hosting a table at the Thought Bubble sequential art festival as we did in 2012. This was great fun last year; thanks to everyone who came over to see us for a chat! I will also be speaking on comics scholarship and Comics Forum at Laydeez do Comics Leeds on the 20th of May (next Monday). The event takes place at Wharf Chambers in Leeds from 1830-2130; do come along if you can.

A massive vote of thanks to all our readers, authors and guests. We really appreciate your support for Comics Forum and it’s only thanks to you that the conference and the website are able to continue and develop. Suggestions and comments are always welcome either through the comments section on website posts or by email to comicsforum@hotmail.co.uk. I would also like to extend my personal thanks to the whole Comics Forum team, who have been generous enough to give a lot of time and effort over the years to make sure the conference and website run smoothly.

Here’s to another wonderful year.

Ian Hague

Director, Comics Forum

 
 
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