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The Bi-Monthly ComFor Update for February 2017

By Lukas R. A. Wilde

The ComFor editorial team concluded the last year – which already feels like ages ago – with a more detailed self-introduction of our new staff and started off again with the 2016/17 installment of comic book reading recommendations by some of ComFor’s members. Shortly after, an extensive and long-awaited ComFor-publication was released by the Christian A. Bachmann publishing house: Comics an der Grenze. Sub/Versionen von Form und Inhalt [Comics Crossing Borders. Sub/versions of Form and Content], edited by Matthias Harbeck, Marie Schröer and Linda Heyden. This collection of 25 articles (with a sensational cover illustration by Paul Paetzel) collects some of the papers presented at ComFor’s 9th annual conference held in Berlin in 2014. Scholars from various fields question, on the one hand, the many medial, cultural, national, generic and disciplinary boundaries that are crossed by comics as a form, as well as, on the other hand, the representations of threshold conditions of gender, bodies and borders within individual works. Five of the contributions are in English, including a must-read conversation with Black Kirby (an artist collective comprised of John Jennings and Stacey ‘Blackstar’ Robinson) that created a spectacular exhibition on the intersections of Black history, AfroFuturism and comic book culture.

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Posted by on 2017/02/15 in ComFor Updates

 

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The Bi-Monthly ComFor Update for December 2016

by Laura Oehme

Looking back on 2016, I have to say that it was a great year for comics studies in Germany. The past two months in particular were yet again full of academic events and publications, but also festivals and exhibitions around the comics medium. From a distinct ComFor perspective, the annual ComFor meeting in November was certainly a highlight of the year. As Stephan already mentioned in his last update, this year’s ComFor conference focused on comics’ didactics and brought together academia and teachers in very productive ways.

Speaking from an even more specific perspective of the ComFor online editorial team, the past two months have seen two very particular novelties. For one, we asked all ComFor members to let us know about their lectures and seminars with a comics focus in the winter semester 2016/17 and collected them in an unprecedented overview post on the ComFor website. Secondly, we were lucky enough to gain two new members for our (still rather small) editorial team, but also lost one of our core editors who has been a beloved team member for many years now. Thus, to use a rough translation of a German idiom “with one sad and two cheerful eyes”, we say a heartfelt “goodbye and farewell” to Nina Heindl (Art History, University of Cologne), and welcome Alexandra Hentschel (museum’s director, Erika-Fuchs-Haus) as well as Julia Ingold (German literature, University of Kiel) to the team! We are very grateful for all the hard work that Nina has invested over the years and we are looking forward to the “breath of fresh air” that our newest team members will certainly bring to the ComFor website!

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Posted by on 2016/12/16 in ComFor Updates

 

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The Death of the Cartoonist? Working on Living Creators by Barbara Postema

Comics studies is a young field in more than its academic standing. With the flourishing of comics production at the moment, it is also young in terms of its texts and its creators.

Many of the texts we work on are less than thirty years old, and in the case of my research they are often less than fifteen years old. With the obvious exceptions of certain established creators, for many of these texts the list of secondary works discussing them is quite short. There are countless comics to choose to write about, and it is easy to find comics that have never been discussed in an academic publication before at all. While comics studies has in many ways been reluctant to establish a canon of the comics we should all know, due to the choices scholars make in the texts they write about, if we were to gauge worthiness or canonicity by what is most often discussed, that canon is quite clear: a quick look at the comics and graphic novels most often discussed in journal articles and books shows the same names cropping up again and again–most notably Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Joe Sacco, and the British auteurs Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. In the case of newer artists, the only secondary literature available is most often interviews with the cartoonist, writer, or artist in venues like The Comics Journal. But even in that department, the lists of interviews will only be more impressive for established cartoonists.

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Posted by on 2014/01/24 in Guest Writers

 

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