Category Archives: Scholarly Resources

Scholarly Resources

Today sees a slight reorganisation of the Comics Forum website, and the launch of a new set of downloadable resources for scholars.

The Affiliated Conferences page has now been moved into the new Scholarly Resources section (accessible from the top of all pages on the website). This section also includes our newly launched Digital Texts archive, which offers freely downloadable texts of relevance to comics scholars.

The digital text archive is currently in its launch phase and as such contains a small number of texts, but we hope to be able to expand this collection as time goes on in order to provide a useful centralised hub for freely available, open access comics scholarship. We are particularly keen to feature previously unpublished material, or texts that have gone out of print, in order to help develop the breadth, longevity and sustainability of comics scholarship, and contribute to overcoming the sense of ‘reinventing the wheel’ that was alluded to in a post on this site by Randy Duncan and Matthew J. Smith in July of this year, and by Charles Hatfield in a post on the Thought Balloonists blog in September 2009. We are also interested in publishing new material where it is available, with the hope that featuring such material on this website can help it to find a wider audience. If you are an author and you would be interesting in making your articles, books, dissertations, essays, fanzines, theses etc. available via this archive please contact Ian Hague at

Already available in the Digital Texts archive we have Ian Gordon’s book Comic Strips and Consumer Culture 1890-1945, Dan Raeburn’s series of critical essays published as The Imp (four issues), and the UK Children and Young Person’s (Harmful Publications) Act, 1955, the genesis of which was discussed at length in Martin Barker’s A Haunt of Fears: The Strange History of the British Horror Comics Campaign. Click here to be taken directly to the digital texts archive.

Comics and Conflicts (2011) Update

Also available online today is a new article in the Comics and Conflicts conference archive. This piece is by Ofer Berenstein, and is entitled ‘Redrawing the lines of “Best Practice” – Adapting documentary comics to war correspondence practices – two opposite case studies’. Here is the abstract:

One of the oldest notions in modern journalism is that there should be a separation between News and Views. The news are in essence “the facts of the matter” while the views are the commentating, analyzing and pondering over the original facts. Although this generalization is overall synonymous for the coverage of all the traditional journalistic content (i.e. politics, foreign affairs, sports and even gardening), variables such as New-Journalism, imbedded journalism and the web 2.0 user generated content, makes this distinction a little blur. To make things even more complicated, there is no such thing as a definitive guide to journalism’s “Best Practice Approach” and journalists often mix different coverage traditions and trends in their work. It is therefore no surprise that there is no consensus on the “Best Practice Approaches” to war correspondence coverage in particular.

True to that notion, this presentation argues that the same separation of News and Views exists in documentary comics dealing with real-world current events as well. Furthermore, this presenter wishes to draw lines between different journalistic coverage approaches and the art-form best suited to it. Strips or short form stories complement news coverage and traditional correspondence while long form stories and Graphic novels complement in depth analysis of data, and complex conflicts. Graphic Novels would also fit well with new-Journalism. A series of questions arises following this argument: is there a combined “best practice” of creating illustrated war correspondence leaning on both the journalistic aspects and the artistic ones? What elements – artistic, literary and journalistic, should it include and what are its limitations? The last point to be dealt at this presentation would be presenting the findings of a research which compared audience acceptance of messages in one short-form comics project (the strips in “To Afghanistan and Back” by Ted Rall) and one long form graphic novel (“Combat Zone” by Karl Zinsmeister (W) and Dan Jurgens (A)). The findings of this research answers some of the questions mentioned earlier. Combining both qualitative analyses of the different forms of documentary comics with a quantitative survey of the readers’ responses to the content also helps to understand the potential effect of the publication with the audience.

Click here to be taken to the Comics & Conflicts (2011) archive, where you can download the full paper and PowerPoint presentation.


Comics & Conflicts (2011): Updates

The Comics & Conflicts (2011) page of the Comics Forum website has now been updated with additional resources from the conference, which took place at the Imperial War Museum on the 19th and 20th of August this year.

First up, we have Nina Mickwitz’s paper ‘Displacing the Heroic Soldier in Emmanuel Guibert’s Alan’s War’. Here is the abstract:

Emmanuel Guibert’s Alan’s War (FirstSecond, 2008) renders the account of one man’s remembered experiences during WW2 in Europe. Arriving in France on the 19th of February 1945, the young G.I.’s experience of war is one dominated not by fierce battle but auxiliary deployments, the strategic importance and aims of which often remain hazy to the men in the platoon. Instead interpersonal relationships, chance encounters and incidents form the thread of the narrative. The small scale and mundane turns and events are recollected with clarity and brought to the fore, undermining the mythology of heroic warfare as a dramatic event. In addition, several incidents foreground the disparity between experience on the ground and administrative agendas, whether strategic or in the construction of authoritative versions of events.

This paper aims to highlight the double displacement performed through Alan’s story; war through the eyes of a young soldier whose deployments take him through foreign countries while often only partially aware of the exact whys and wherefores, and the discrepancy between official versions of history and the lived experiences which are subsumed by such accounts.

We also have the following six podcasts available for download, courtesy of Alex Fitch:

Panel Borders: War (comic), what is it good for?

Panel Borders: Garth Ennis’ Battlefields

Panel Borders: Exploring War in popular comics

Panel Borders: Children of the Atom

Panel Borders: War – The Human Cost

Laydeez do podcasts: Female Publishers and their work

To access these resources or for more information, click here.

Further papers and podcasts will be added to the page as they come in.


Affiliated Conferences

Today I’m delighted to announce the latest initiative in Comics Forum’s ongoing efforts to promote and develop comics scholarship in the UK and around the world: our new affiliated conferences programme.

Under this programme, the Comics Forum website will host documentation, promotional materials and papers from other conferences and events on comics, thereby providing an online archive of scholarship available to download for free.

To launch the programme, we’ve teamed up with Ariel Khan, Paul Gravett and Alex Fitch of the Comics & Conflicts conference taking place at the Imperial War Museum on Friday the 19th and Saturday the 20th of August. You can find out more about the conference in this article by Paul Gravett. Full details and ticket prices are available here. Once the events have been wrapped up, we’ll be providing an online archive of the conference papers for download from our new Comics & Conflicts page, accessible here and through the links at the top and side of the site. The conference poster is already available to download, and the programme will be up shortly. Be sure to head along to the conference if you can, and keep an eye on the blog for updates regarding the availability of new papers!

We are actively seeking to expand the affiliated conference programme and develop it as a useful ongoing resource for scholars, readers and creators of comics. If you are involved in organising a conference or similar event and would like to feature the conference papers and other materials for open access download via the Comics Forum website, please email us at and let us know!

Similarly, if you were a speaker at a previous Comics Forum and would like your paper to be made available in our digital archives, do get in touch.

[UPDATE 19/08/2011: The Comics & Conflicts programme is now available from the conference page.]

Ian Hague

Director of Comics Forum

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