Roger Sabin

Dr Roger Sabin

Reader in Popular Culture, Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, University of the Arts London

Editorial Board positions on academic journals (comics scholarship):

2009-present: Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Routledge, UK (also Consulting Editor)

2009–present: Studies in Comics, Intellect Publishing, UK (also Consulting Editor)

2007-present: European Comic Art, Berghahn, UK.

2006-present: SIGNS: Studies in Graphic Narratives, Felici Editore Slr, Italy.

2006-present: ImageText, University of Florida, USA.

2002-present: Image and Narrative, University of Leuven, Belgium.

(Also, board positions on other journals not related to comics per se.)

Professional Teaching Qualifications and Memberships:

SEDA PDAF Award, ‘Supervising Postgraduate Research’

Postgraduate Certificate in Education

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Member University and College Union

Member Institute of Historical Research

Member Research Society for Victorian Periodicals

Member Comics Scholars Association (Hamburg)

Member International Bande Dessinée Society

Member Manga Studies Association

Advisory Board, Nordic Network for Comics Research (Uni Southern Denmark)

Contact Details


Telephone: 0207 514 7000

Postal Address: Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, University of the Arts London, Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, London, N1C 4AA

Website: (university staff page)

Biography and Research Interests

Dr Roger Sabin is Reader in Popular Culture at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, University of the Arts London. His books include Adult Comics: An Introduction (Routledge), and Comics, Comix and Graphic Novels (Phaidon). He serves on the editorial boards of many of the key academic journals in the field of comics scholarship, and reviews graphic novels for the press and radio. The Daily Telegraph once called him ‘The F.R.Leavis of the graphic novel’, and he’s still not sure if that’s a compliment or an insult.

Research Interests: Comics of all kinds, but especially 19th century British comics. (He is currently working on a book about the character ‘Ally Sloper’.)

(Research interests extend into other areas e.g. movie and TV history; literary adaptations; cultural theory; etc.)


Single Authored Books

Ally Sloper: First Comics Superstar (University of Mississippi Press, 2013 forthcoming). A study of the great early cartoon character.

Comics, Comix, and Graphic Novels (Phaidon, 1996). An historical survey of comics and satirical magazines, with emphasis on the 1960s underground and 1980s avant-garde. Highly illustrated: intended for the art college market as well as university undergraduates. Nominated for a ‘Harvey Award’ in the US; ‘Art Book of the Year’ in the Daily Mail. Translated into various languages (Greek, Korean, Spanish, etc.); republished in paperback 2001.

Adult Comics: An Introduction (Routledge 1993). Explores the role of comics, graphic novels, manga, etc., in modern culture. Intended for an undergraduate readership, and part of Routledge’s ‘New Accents’ Cultural Studies series. Republished in 2002 as part of the ‘Major Works’ series.

Co-authored Books

American TV Crime Drama Co-authored with Jane Gibb, Ben Bethell and Linda Speidel (McFarland Press, 2014, forthcoming). From Dragnet to The Wire, including chapters on genre construction, and the transition from the network to post-network eras.

The Lasting of the Mohicans Co- authored with Prof. Martin Barker (University of Mississippi Press 1996). A study of the way in which James Fenimore Cooper’s novel The Last of the Mohicans came to be regarded as a ‘classic’, and how successive adaptations of the story in film have established an American ‘mythology’. Intended for Film Studies and Cultural Studies undergraduates. Includes lengthy section on comics.

Edited Books

Punk Rock: So What? (Routledge, 1999). I was the editor of, and a contributor to, this 15-essay reader, looking at the impact of punk on music, journalism, art, literature, fashion, and cinema. Part of the Cultural Studies list. Nominated for a ‘Gleason Award’. Includes chapter on comics.

Co-Edited Books

Below Critical Radar: Fanzines and Alternative Comics 1976-Now Co-Edited with Prof. Teal Triggs (Codex/Slab-o-Concrete Press, 2000).  This was a five-essay introduction to the subject, funded by the London College of Printing and put out through a small press.

The Movie Book (Phaidon, 1999). An illustrated encyclopaedia for the student and general markets: I was Co-Project Director, with Dr Michael Newton, and a contributing writer. A 500-entry ‘biographical dictionary’, intended as a key reference work. Re-published in miniaturised format 2002.

Chapters in Books

‘Wokker’s World’ in Les Coleman (Ed) Anthony Earnshaw: The Imp of Surrealism (Research Groups for Artists Publications, Sheffield, 2011). Chapter about the creators of a surrealist comic strip.

‘The Graphic Novel in Context’ in Trabado, Jose-Manuel (Ed), La Novela Grafica (Arco/Libros, Spain, 2010). Reprinted chapter from Adult Comics.

‘Ally Sloper: First Comic’s Superstar?’ in Worcester, K and Heer, J (Eds) The Comics Studies Reader (University of Mississippi Press, 2008).

‘The Face of Fear’ in Uhlirova, M. (Ed) If Looks Could Kill (Koenig Books, 2008). Essays to accompany ‘Fashion in Film’ festival. My chapter on directors Mario Bava and Richard Fleischer.

‘Terry Gilliam: Filmmaker and Cartoonist’ in Pauline MacPherson, Christopher Murray, Gordon Spark and Kevin Corstorphine (Eds) Sub/versions: Cultural Status, Genre and Critique (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008).

‘Interview with Art Spiegelman’ in Witek, J. (Ed) Conversations: Art Spiegelman (University of Mississippi Press, USA 2007). Series of biographical essays and interviews.

‘Barefoot Gen: Activist comic, Graphic Novel, Manga’ in Berndt, J. (Ed) Reading Manga from a Global Perspective (University of Leipzig Press, 2006). Chapter on Barefoot Gen.

‘A Very American Fable: The Making of a Mohicans Adaptation’ in Barton Palmer, R. (Ed) 19th Century Literature on Film (Cambridge University Press, 2006). Chapter co-authored with Prof. Martin Barker about The Last of the Mohicans.

‘Ally Sloper: Der Erste Comic’s Superstar?’ in Diekmann, S. (Ed) Szenarien des Comic (Sukultur/Verlag Editions, Berlin, 2005). Chapter on Sloper

‘Some “Contemptible” British Students’ in Dooley, M. and Heller, S. (Ed) The Education of a Comics Artist (Chronicle Books, 2005). 15-essay anthology in academic series. Chapter on UK art schools.

‘Some Observations on BD in the US’ in McQuillan, E., Forsdick, C., Grove, L. (Eds) Francophone Comics: A Ninth Art? (Rodopi, Montreal, 2005). Chapter on the impact of French comics on the US market.

‘Comics and Cartoons’ in Backemeyer, S. (Ed) The Artist as Illustrator (A and C Black, 2004). 10-essay anthology on illustration emanating from the Central School/St Martin’s/Central Saint Martins. Chapter on cartoonists.

Contemporary Literary Criticism (Thomson Gale, Michigan, 2004). ‘The world’s leading resource for literary criticism’. Chapter on graphic novels, made up of excerpts from Adult Comics: An Introduction and my reviews in The Observer.

‘Quote and Be Damned…?’ in Cassell, V. (Ed) ‘Splat, Boom, Pow’: the Influence of Comics on Contemporary Art (Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas, 2003). A collection of four essays, deriving from an exhibition catalogue. My chapter: ‘Publish and Be Damned’.

‘Low Culture Meets Even Lower Culture: The Comics Connection’ in Gough-Yates, A. and Osgerby, W. (Eds) Action TV: Tough Guys, Foxy Chicks (Routledge, 2001). A 14-essay anthology on 1960s-80s TV cop shows.

‘The Crisis in Modern American and British Comics, and the Possibilities of the Internet as a Solution’ in Magnussen, A. and Christiansen, H. (Eds) Comics as Culture (Museum Tusculaneum/University of Copenhagen Press, 1999). Chapter on comics and the Internet.

‘Eurocomics: “9th Art” or Misfit Lit?’ in Briggs, A, and Cobley, P. (Eds) Introduction to Media Studies (Longman, 1997; updated 2002, 2007, 2010). An undergraduate primer covering basic theory. Chapter on European comics.

Academic Journals

Essays/articles for Journalism Studies, Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Journal of Punk and Post-Punk, Journal of Visual Communication, Journal of Design History, European Comic Art, Manga Studies, International Journal of Comic Art, Quaderns de Filologia de la Universitat de Valencia, Eye, Things, New Politics, Left History, Image and Narrative, The Electronic Book Review, Index on Censorship, and SIGNS: Studies in Graphic Narratives. Plus, also, essays for various exhibition catalogues.

Books in Negotiation

Victorian Comic Periodicals, sole author (Cambridge University Press has shown interest).

Conference Papers and Talks

Papers delivered/panels chaired at, among others: ‘First International Conference on the Graphic Novel’, University of Alcala, Madrid; ‘Comics and Methodology’ at the University of Bern; ‘Comics and Conflicts’ at the Imperial War Museum, ‘Surrealism and Science Fiction’ at the Courtauld, ‘Narration and the Fixed Image’, at the Institute of Romance Studies, University of London; ‘Word, Image, Picture, Text’, at Central Saint Martins; ‘Comics as Culture’ at the University of Copenhagen; ‘Art and Design Since 1960’ at the Southampton Institute; ‘European Comics Culture’ at the University of Glasgow; ‘Music and Subcultures’ at Sheffield Hallam University; ‘No Future?’ at the University of Wolverhampton and Lighthouse; ‘Manga and Art’ at the London Institute; ‘International Word and Image Conference’ at the University of Hamburg; ‘The Origins of Comics’ at the University of Salford; ‘Reading Manga’ at the University of Leipzig; ‘Scottish Word and Image Group Conference’ at the University of Dundee; ‘International Comic Arts Foundation (ICAF)’ at Georgetown University, Washington; ‘tVAD Research Group Conference’, University of Hertfordshire; ‘Manga in Europe’ at the University of Osaka; ‘International Comics Conference’ at the University of Berlin/Europa University Viadrina; ‘Comics and Animation’ at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Many of these were ‘plenary’/‘keynote’ addresses.

I have chaired numerous symposia/panel discussions at the ICA, the Publishers’ Association, the National Union of Journalists and various Waterstone’s Bookshops and organised several educational mini-conferences at the ICA.


Freelance exhibition consultancy:

2010: Tate Britain ‘Rude Britannia’ summer show. Section on 19th century comics. Lent items from personal collection.


Joint winner, Franco Fossatti Award, Italy, 2006 for Ally Sloper: First Comics Superstar

Nominated for Gleason Award, USA, 2000, for Punk Rock: So What?

Nominated for Harvey Award, USA, 1997, for Comics, Comix and Graphic Novels


My job at Central Saint Martins involves tutoring PhDs (including ‘practice-based’ and ‘practice-led’), and I am always interested in hearing from people who want to pursue this kind of work.


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