Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Comics Alternative Podcast #155: International #PodcastDay 2015!

This week on the Comics Alternative, founding hosts Derek Royal and Andy Kunka are joined by several of the podcast's other co-hosts--Gwen Tarbox, Andy Wolverton, and myself--for a non-comics show! Today is International Podcast Day, so we gathered (virtually) to discuss our favorite podcasts, what we look (listen) for in a good podcast, our own roles as podcasters (are we members of the media now?), and more.

I give a few shout-outs to Jessica Abel's new Out on the Wire, Helen Zaltzman's The Allusionist, Welcome to Night Vale, and Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast, among other shows. And I took lots of notes on other podcasts recommended by Gwen and and Derek and the Andys. Now I just need more hours in the week to listen to them all...

As always, click the link above to stream the episode, or you can subscribe via iTunes.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Comics Alternative Podcast #153: The Dharma Punks, My Hot Date, Tokyo Ghost #1, Future Fantasteek #16

Once again, I'm back again on the Comics Alternative podcast! Join Derek Royal and myself as we review Ant Sang's anarcho-Buddhist masterwork The Dharma Punks; Noah Van Sciver's painfully hilarious memoir My Hot Date; Rick Remender, Sean Murphy, and Matthew Hollingsworth's media-saturated dystopia Tokyo Ghost #1; and Jackie Batey's smart and snarky zine Future Fantasteek #16.

We have lots to say about these books, so to hear the whole show, click the link above to stream the episode, or you can subscribe via iTunes.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2015

CFP: ICAF, International Comic Arts Forum / USC Columbia (Nov. 6; Apr. 14-16)

Call for Papers
International Comic Arts Forum
14-16 April 2016
University of South Carolina, Columbia

ICAF, the International Comic Arts Forum, invites proposals for scholarly papers for its eighteenth annual meeting, to be held at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, from Thursday, April 14, through Saturday, April 16, 2016. Confirmed guests include comics artists Howard Cruse, Keith Knight, Cece Bell, and Prof. Michael Chaney of Dartmouth College.

The deadline to submit proposals is November 6, 2015.

ICAF welcomes original proposals from diverse disciplines and theoretical perspectives on any aspect of comics or cartooning, particularly studies that reflect an international perspective. Studies of aesthetics, production, distribution, reception, and social, ideological, and historical significance are equally welcome, as are studies that address larger theoretical issues linked to comics or cartooning, for example in image/text studies or new media theory.

Among the thematic panels we hope to offer are Comics and the American South, Digital and Online Comics, and Superheroes; proposals are especially welcome in these areas.

Proposal Guidelines: ICAF prefers argumentative, thesis-driven papers that are clearly linked to larger critical, artistic, or cultural issues; we avoid presentations that are summative or survey-like in character. We only accept original 20-minute papers that have not been presented or accepted for publication elsewhere. Presenters should assume an audience versed in comics and the fundamentals of comics studies. Where possible, papers should be illustrated by relevant images on PowerPoint. Proposals should not exceed 300 words.

Review Process: All proposals will be subject to blind review. Due to high interest in the conference, in recent years ICAF has typically been able to accept only about half of the proposals received.

SEND ABSTRACTS (with contact information, including state, province, or country of residence in the body of the email) by 6 November 2015, to C.W. Marshall, ICAF Academic Program Director, via email at .

Receipt of all proposals will be acknowledged. Applicants should expect to receive confirmation of acceptance or rejection by December 14, 2015.

ICAF also sponsors the John A. Lent Scholarship in Comics Studies. This scholarship is awarded to a current student who has authored, or is in the process of authoring, a substantial research-based writing project about comics. Applications for this scholarship are due by 8 January 2016. For more information and details of the application process, please visit our website.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Comics Alternative Podcast #150: 6 Voyages of Lone Sloane, Wolf, and Americatown

Once again, I'm back again on the Comics Alternative podcast, for the 150th episode! This time, Derek Royal and I cover Philippe Druillet's The 6 Voyages of Lone Sloane (Titan Comics), Wolf #1 and #2 by Ales Kot, Matt Taylor, and Lee Loughridge (Image Comics), and Americatown #1 by Bradford Winters, Larry Cohen, and Daniel Irizarri (BOOM! Studios/Archaia). I thought Lone Sloane lived up to its reputation (and more!) as a psychedelic SF head-trip, while Wolf takes a long time to settle into its world and Americatown's expressive artwork propels a story that is just getting started.

Of course, Derek and I both have lots more to say about these books - so to hear the whole show, click the link above to stream the episode, or you can subscribe via iTunes.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Announcement: USC to host International Comic Arts Forum, April 14-16, 2016

[Here's a press release from the International Comic Arts Forum. A Call for Papers will follow in September. --GK]
August 21, 2015

Contact Info:
Mark Heimermann
ICAF Promotions Coordinator

The University of South Carolina to host International Comic Arts Forum,
April 14-16, 2016

Confirmed speakers include cartoonists Howard Cruse, Keith Knight,
and Prof. Michael Chaney of Dartmouth College.

The International Comic Arts Forum (ICAF) is proud to announce that the University of South Carolina will host the forum’s 18th annual academic conference from April 14-16, 2016 in Columbia, South Carolina. A call for conference papers will be forthcoming in September 2015.

Since 1995, the International Comic Arts Forum has been dedicated to promoting the scholarly study and appreciation of comic art, including comic strips, comic books, comics albums and graphic novels, magazine and newspaper cartooning, caricature, and comics in electronic media. The forum provides a supportive, collegial environment to showcase innovative comics scholarship and comic art from around the world.

Cartoonists Howard Cruse and Keith Knight are confirmed as two of the guest artists for ICAF 2016. Cruse, the Eisner and Harvey award-winning creator of Stuck Rubber Baby, began his career as a contributor to 1970s underground comics. He is a founding editor of Gay Comix and creator of Barefootz and the series, Wendel. Knight is best known for The K Chronicles, his Glyph and Harvey-award winning comic strip, as well as the social and political satire of his (Th)ink series. Prof. Michael Chaney from Dartmouth College will be the ICAF 2016 keynote speaker. Chaney is editor of the collection, Graphic Subjects: Critical Essays on Autobiography and Graphic Novels, and author of numerous essays about comics and African American history, autobiographical narrative, and animal subjects. Additional guests will be announced in the coming months.

As the 2016 venue, the University of South Carolina is the state’s flagship campus in Columbia with over 30,000 students. Comics studies offerings are a fixture in USC’s academic programs in English, Media Studies, Library Science, and the archives in the library collections showcase significant holdings in southern political cartoons. In recent years, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis was selected for the university-wide First Year Reading Experience, while Media Arts students create manga in studio courses for the School of Visual Art and Design. Silver City, the oldest comic book store in the Southeast, is located within only a few miles of campus. Previous ICAF conferences have been held at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State University, the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont, School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Georgetown University, and the Small Press Expo in Maryland.

ICAF will also sponsor the John A. Lent Scholarship in Comics Studies competition again in 2016. This scholarship, named for pioneering teacher and researcher Dr. John Lent, is awarded to a current student who has authored, or is in the process of authoring, a substantial research-based writing project about comics. The recipient will be asked to present their work at the upcoming conference. A separate CFP for the award will be forthcoming. For more information, visit our Lent Scholarship page.

Stay in touch with ICAF on the web, Facebook, and Twitter!

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Comics Alternative Podcast #148: Hang Dai Editions (Publisher Spotlight)

I'm back again on the Comics Alternative podcast! This time, Derek Royal and I spotlight the first three book-length releases from Hang Dai Editions: Beef with Tomato by Dean Haspiel; Smoke by Gregory Benton; and Schmuck, written by the late Seth Kushner and with art by almost two dozen cartoonists.

Beef and Schmuck both are memoirs told through short stories, with Dean's book tending towards danger (of various kinds) and Seth's book tending towards, well, schmuckiness (primarily in terms of relationships). Smoke moves in a different direction, with a wordless tale of young immigrant workers and other realms. Together, these books represent a strong bookstore debut for the collective. Bonus: Derek talks briefly with Dean and Greg about Hang Dai!

As always, click the link above to stream the episode, or you can subscribe via iTunes.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Comics Alternative Podcast #144: Black River, 8House: Arclight #1, and Kilgore Quarterly #6

I'm back on the Comics Alternative podcast again, doing my first review show since last October! On this episode, Derek Royal and I review Black River by Josh Simmons, 8House: Arclight #1 by Brandon Graham and Marian Churchland, and the anthology Kilgore Quarterly #6 by over a dozen great cartoonists. Post-apocalyptic mayhem under lyric skies? Check. Genderqueer high fantasy in a shared universe? Check. A wide-ranging, knock-out anthology at an unbeatable price? Check!

As always, click the link above to stream the episode, or you can subscribe via iTunes.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

CFP - Project: Comic Con, St. Louis MO (Aug. 31; Oct. 17-18)

Call for Papers, Presentations, and Panels
Project: Comic Con 
October 17-18, 2015 
St Louis, MO

Dear colleagues, scholars, and friends:

We invite submissions for proposed papers, presentations, and panel sessions related to comics and graphic narratives for inclusion within the academic mini-conference held in conjunction with Project: Comic Con, a locally organized, family friendly celebration of comics, cartoons, anime, and pop culture in St Louis, MO.

As this year’s theme is “Women in Comics,” we are especially interested in potential presentations, panels, workshops, or creative sessions that relate with or speak directly to the changing role of women in comics as characters, creators, and consumers. We also welcome proposals that deal specifically with works related to or produced by our anticipated roster of guests.

More information concerning the Project: Comic Con guest list, programming, and accommodations can be found here:

All accepted presenters receive a two-day pass to Project: Comic Con. All presentations are open to anyone with a pass.

As our conference is also meant to encourage popular discussion and debate, we encourage and prefer visually engaging and accessible presentations.

Please submit abstracts and proposals of no more than 300 words and a brief biographical statement no later than 31st August, 2015. Please send all materials as Word attachments to Daniel Yezbick at

We look forward to your proposals.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

CFP: Sacred Texts and Comics (edited collection; Aug.21, 2015)

Call for Papers
Sacred Texts and Comics:
Religion, Faith, and Graphic Narratives

The last decade has produced critical and expressive studies in sacred canonical texts and comics. Witness, for example, the artistic works from R. Crumb’s The Book of Genesis (2009) and JT Waldman’s Megillat Esther (2005), as well as scholarly publications from Karline McLain’s India's Immortal Comic Books (2009), A. David Lewis’s edited volume Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books & Graphic Novels (2010), and Samantha Baskind’s and Ranen Omer-Sherman’s editorial work for The Jewish Graphic Novel: Critical Approaches (2010).

Sacred Texts and Comics: Religion, Faith, and Graphic Narratives is a proposed volume for the “Critical Approaches to Comics Artists” series at the University Press of Mississippi that builds upon, but also beyond, Western or “major” religious traditions to develop a broader landscape of religious graphic mediums. We encourage submissions that engage Islamic, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Native American, African Diaspora traditions, or other religious communities from a variety of disciplinary or cross-disciplinary perspectives. Such critical approaches may include studies in religion, literature, theology, art history, culture, anthropology, political science, or other disciplines that work with the multi-dimensional features of graphic narratives.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Depictions of the sacred in comics
  • The place of historical exegesis and critical, religious interpretation in graphic narratives
  • Comics as a form and method of interpretation
  • The ways in which the graphic, formal features engage notions of the sacred
  • The modes by which graphic narratives represent the sacred or conceptions of religion
  • The ways in which religious identity and belief are represented and explored in graphic mediums
  • The multiple ways that visual culture informs religious practice

Please send a 500-1000 word abstract, CV, and contact information to Ken Koltun-Fromm ( and Assaf Gamzou ( by August 21, 2015. Haverford College will host a symposium on “Sacred Texts and Comics” on May 5th and 6th, 2016 that will include workshops for contributors to this proposed volume. Please indicate your interest in and availability to participate in the symposium (all expenses will be paid, including a small stipend).


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Friday, June 19, 2015

CFP: The Canadian Alternative (edited collection / deadline extension to Aug 31)

The Canadian Alternative
(edited collection)
Deadline extension: Now August 31, 2015

We have EXTENDED THE DEADLINE for a proposed edited and refereed volume on Canadian graphic novelists and cartoonists. Dominick Grace and Eric Hoffman, editors of Dave Sim: Conversations, Chester Brown: Conversations, and Seth: Conversations for the University Press of Mississippi, are editing a collection of essays provisionally titled The Canadian Alternative: Canadian Cartoonists, Comics, and Graphic Novels. We seek previously unpublished essays addressing Canadian cartoonists/comics. Our primary interest is in "alternative" cartoonists and cartooning, narrowly defined; that is, figures associated with the underground, independent, and/or ground-level comics movements. Figures of key interest might include but are not limited to
  • Marc Bell
  • David Boswell
  • Chester Brown
  • David Collier
  • Julie Doucet
  • Rand Holmes
  • Jeff Lemire (especially his independent work)
  • Bernie Mireault
  • Bryan Lee O'Malley
  • Dave Sim
  • Seth

However, and as the inclusion of Lemire above indicates, we are also interested in papers dealing with the Canadian "alternative" more broadly-defined, whether represented by the visions of specific creators who have worked in mainstream comics (Byrne, Dan and Gene Day, Lemire, McFarlane, etc.) or by Canadian alternatives to mainstream US comics publishing (e.g. the Canadian "whites" of World War Two), the various attempts to create a Canadian market/national hero (perhaps best represented by Richard Comely and Comely Comics's Captain Canuck), and other distinctly Canadian takes on the graphic medium (e.g. Martin Vaughan-James's The Cages, or BP Nicholls's use of comics/cartooning).

Substantial essays (5,000-8,000 words) focusing on specific creators, comparing/contrasting the work of a few creators, or addressing Canadian movements in comics are welcome. Submit completed papers to Dominick Grace ( and/or Eric Hoffman ( Inquiries/proposals are also welcome. NEW DEADLINE: AUGUST 31 2015

Though a publisher has yet to be determined, the University Press of Mississippi has expressed interest in publishing this collection.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

CFP: The Comics of Julie Doucet and Gabrielle Bell (collection; Aug. 15)

Call for Papers
The Comics of Julie Doucet and Gabrielle Bell
(an edited collection)

This proposed volume for the University Press of Mississippi's book series, Critical Approaches to Comics Artists, will examine the works of two influential cartoonists: Julie Doucet and Gabrielle Bell. These artists have helped shape the world of contemporary comics, particularly through their experiments in autobiography, travelogue, fantasy, and diary.

We are interested in assembling a tightly woven collection of compelling essays from a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives in order to suggest starting off points for sustained future critical analysis. Each essay may examine the works of one or the other cartoonist, or it may put historical and aesthetic discussions of their works in conversation with one another. Some of the critical approaches we hope to encounter include: comics and visual studies, art history, print and material culture studies, women's and gender studies, and auto/biography studies.

General topics potential contributors may choose to address in discussing the works of one, the other, or both cartoonists include:

  • diaries, travelogues, and dream journals
  • representations of gender and sexuality
  • adaptations (film, etc.) and/or translations
  • auto/biography and/or gender and genre
  • urban landscapes and interiors
  • comics genealogies and networks
  • technology and comics
  • place and origin: Quebec/England/San Francisco/New York
  • graphic medicine (epilepsy, depression)
  • self-publishing, zines, and mini-comics
  • career trajectories
  • ]anthologies/anthologizing; comics publishers/publishing (L'Association, Drawn & Quarterly, website, self, etc.)
  • art books and/or non-narrative works
  • non-comics works and methods (collage, poetry, animation, silkscreening, etc.) 

In the form of a Word file or PDF, please send a 500-1000 word abstract, CV, and contact information to Tahneer Oksman and Seamus O'Malley at bellanddoucet [at] by August 15.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

International Comic Arts Forum Seeks Treasurer

(Note: I served on the ICAF Executive Committee in the conference's earlier years, and I can attest that this is a vital position. I hope that good people apply! GK)
The Executive Committee of the International Comic Arts Forum (ICAF), a leading comics studies conference in the US, announces an open call for the position of Treasurer.

A key officer position on our board, the Treasurer serves for a three-year (renewable) term, maintaining the financial health of our organization. Knowledge of the academic comics field and/or experience with 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations a plus but not required.

From our bylaws: 
The Treasurer shall be responsible for managing ICAF funds … making deposits into the ICAF treasury; ordering or requesting, with the Chair’s express approval, withdrawals from the treasury; maintaining an up-to-date record of activity in the treasury, including credits, debits, and a running balance; providing the Chair with regular updates regarding ICAF’s finances; and presenting to the Committee an annual financial report.
No compensation is offered; all ICAF Executive Committee officer positions are pro bono. Like all board members, the Treasurer takes part in the organization and smooth running of the conference.  ICAF recognizes the importance of diversity in all its recruitment.

The Treasurer will take up his/her duties as early as July 1, 2015. 

Please submit a CV and cover letter elaborating on your interest in and qualifications for the position.

The committee will accept applications until May 30, 2015. Please send applications to ExCom Chair José Alaniz at josealaniz23 [at]

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Comics Alternative Interview: Josh Fialkov and Kody Chamberlain of Punks the Comic

It's been about half a year (yikes!), but I'm back on an episode of The Comics Alternative! This time, Derek Royal and I interview Josh Fialkov and Kody Chamberlain, creators of Punks The Comic (Image). The title's a rollercoaster mishmash of joke-filled collage artwork, pop culture references, The Young Ones, and generally hilarious mayhem, starring Dog, Fist, Skull, and Abe Lincoln (of course). We talk to Josh and Kody about the new Punks collection (Volume 1: Nutpuncher), as well as about their collaborative process, creating humor in comics, and some of their other works.

Kody & Josh guest-star in one story.
My thanks to Kody for supplying this pre-dialog half-page image!

Our conversation was a lot of fun, and I hope that comes through in the recording. (Note that some of the language here is NSFW - but hey, the comics is titled Punks after all!)

As always, click the link above to stream the episode, or you can subscribe via iTunes.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

CFP: Comics in Medicine & Teaching / U of Nebraska (Feb. 23; Apr. 9-10)

Comics in Medicine & Teaching:
Rethinking Comics as a Therapeutic
and Educational Tool
with Ian Williams and Paul Karasik
University of Nebraska - Kearney Colloquium
Kearney, Nebraska
April 9-10, 2015

Call for Papers, Posters, or Artwork
Although seen primarily as a form of entertainment for children and young adults, the potential of comic books as an educational tool was recognized very early on. The comic book in its modern form first appeared in the 1930s, and it was not long before the form’s educational potential was tapped with Classic Comics #1 (later Classics Illustrated), an adaptation of The Three Musketeers, first appearing in 1941.

Educators continue to experiment with comic books and graphic novels, and apply them in many different ways. They are wide ranging in their applicability, and flexible enough to be a tool for teaching literacy (e.g., Frey & Fisher, 2008; Monnin, 2013), the complexities of calculus (Gonick, 2011), or the nuance of business management (Short, Bauer, Ketchen, & Simon, 2011). In the field of medicine and mental/behavioral health, research is beginning to investigate comics and graphic novels as a tool for assisting patients and their families to construct and express their lived experiences of illness. Some initial applications have explored the use of graphic novels to convey family members’ painful experiences with hospice care for loved ones dying of terminal illnesses (Czerwiec & Huang, 2014) and with a loved one’s disability (Karasik & Karasik, 2004). Williams (2012) argues that the patient experience can be more fully understood through comic books and graphic novels because they integrate visual representations with narrative.

If you are involved in research or practice exploring the educational and therapeutic uses of the comic book, please consider submitting a proposal to share your work at a dynamic, interactive colloquium dedicated to rethinking the role of comics. We welcome abstracts describing creative work that has explored the interface of comic books/graphic novels in the fields of medicine or education. The creative work could be presented as a paper or poster presentation or as an actual work of art.

Submission Process
Submissions may be done electronically (Word, PDF, or RTF file format) to

For Paper or Poster presentation, include the following information:
  1. Title
  2. Author(s) - include affiliation, email address, phone number
  3. Abstract (up to 250 words)
  4. Choice of presentation format: Paper presentation or Poster
For Creative Work/Artwork, include the following information:
  1. Title
  2. Dimension
  3. Media
  4. Artist Statement (1-3 paragraphs)
  5. Author - include affiliation, email address, phone number
Priority consideration will be given to submissions received by February 23, 2015 at midnight CST. Submissions will be considered until March 15, 2015.

If you have questions, please contact:
David K. Palmer, Ph.D.
University of Nebraska at Kearney

Call for Manuscripts: ACME Comics Research Book Series (ongoing)

Call for Manuscripts:
ACME Comics Research
Book Series

The ACME Comics Research Group and the University Press of Liege (PULg) invite the submission of manuscripts on the study of comics/BD/manga/cartoons/graphic novels for the scholarly book series ACME. The ACME Book Series is bilingual: manuscripts in English and French are accepted.

The books in this series examine comics/BD/manga or dialogues between comics/BD/manga and other media (literature, film, new media, video games, the fine arts and so on). ACME is interdisciplinary and welcomes all theoretical perspectives, methodologies and backgrounds (literary studies, post-colonial studies, art history, semiotics, aesthetics, cultural studies, etc.). The aim of the series is to mirror the contextual, socio-political and formal diversity of the medium and its analysis as well as its interrelation with other forms of expression; contributions on adaptation, hybrid media and intermediality in the widest sense are therefore also welcome.

Please send a short description of the work (500-1000 words), a table of contents, a sample chapter together with a brief bio-bibliography with institution affiliation (if any) to members of the ACME editorial team, i.e., Aarnoud Rommens (, Björn-Olav Dozo ( or Gert Meesters ( Please keep in mind that in this call we are looking for finished manuscripts (monographs, edited collections of essays, revised doctoral dissertations, etc.) or manuscripts near completion.

About ACME
A comics research group based at the University of Liège (Belgium), ACME gathers scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds who explore the form using various critical approaches, including art history, sociology, aesthetics and philosophy, semiotics, formalism, linguistics, literary and cognitive studies. The name of the group explicitly refers to Chris Ware’s project Acme Novelty Library whose innovative nature illustrates in its own way the ambitions of ACME within the academic world and beyond. The name ACME is also inspired by another eponymous model, i.e., the Warner Brothers cartoon corporation’s famous motto boasting that it is “a company that makes everything.” On the one hand, this maxim attests to the group’s embrace of interdisciplinarity. On the other, it expresses ACME’s conviction that comics studies deserve more than a marginal place in academia. For more information, visit (English and French).

For more information on the University Press of Liege (PULg), please visit

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