Tuesday, October 31, 2006

An Altogether Ooky Halloween with Charles Addams

This morning, in recognition and celebration of Halloween, NPR interviewed author Linda Davis about the subject of her recent book Charles Addams: A Cartoonist's Life.

NPR has posted the story as The Father of the Addams Family, along with some links and, most usefully, an excerpt from Davis' book. Take a few minutes today to read more about this wonderful cartoonist.

We've taken the opportunity to add some more information to our Charles Adams resources - if you know of more, please let us know!

And Click Here for
More Books by and about Charles Addams

And on a personal note: All my love to K.A. Laity for marrying me nine years ago today. More more more!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Special Price on "Will Eisner: A Spirited Life"

Bob Andelman reports that Amazon.com is currently selling his recent book "Will Eisner: A Spirited Life" for the ridiculously low price of $2.99 (s/h extra). That's about 80% off the cover price.

This is a temporary inventory-reduction sale, so if you don't have this book yet, now is the time to act.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Notes on the Early Decades of Italian Comic Art

ComicsResearch.org is proud to host a detailed bibliography on early comic art in Italy, courtesy of scholar Fabio Gadducci. The bibliography was originally published in his book Notes on the Early Decades of Italian Comic Art (cover at left) and contains dozens of entries. It should prove of great use to scholars and fans of Italian comic art.

Our thanks to Prof. Gadducci for allowing us to host this important resource on-line -- and to ComicsResearch-booster Miron Murcury for connecting us.

To learn more about the book, visit our information page on it, and be sure to visit the publisher's website.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Interplanetary Journal of Comic Art (Festschrift for John Lent)

Posted on behalf of Michael Rhode. For just a hint of how enormously important Dr. Lent has been for research on comics around the world, click here. I'll get my entry to you soon, Mike!
John Lent's 70th birthday - A Modest Proposal

John Lent, founder of the International Journal of Comic Art, and friend to many of us, turned 70 on September 8th.

Gene Kannenberg, Charles Hatfield and I were discussing doing a fun gift for him - a parody of his journal to be called the Interplanetary Journal of Comic Art. I set up a Yahoo Group for those who'd like to participate. Come to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IPJOCA/ and sign up or email me at mrhode@gmail.com. There's a dummy in the files at the IPJOCA group if you'd like to see what other people are doing.

We'll find an opportunity to present it to John, perhaps in April at the Popular Culture Association conference.

Pass this around if you think someone will be interested, but not to John.


Mike Rhode
Exhibitions and media reviews editor,

[Image source: IJOCA website]

Monday, October 23, 2006

Swann Foundation Accepting Fellowship Applications

Posted on behalf of Martha Kennedy of The Library of Congress.

The Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon, Library of Congress, is now accepting applications for the Swann Fellowship for the 2007-2008 academic year. Annual award of $15,000 to support scholarly graduate research in caricature and cartoon. Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited M.A. or Ph.D program in a university in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico. Deadline: Feb. 15, 2007.

Access guidelines and application at:

Contact Martha Kennedy with questions at 202/707-9115 or email swann@loc.gov

Martha H. Kennedy
Curatorial Assistant for Caricature and Cartoon
Prints and Photographs Division
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. SE
Washington, DC 20540-4730
tel.: 202/707-9115; fax: 202/707-6647


The Swann Foundation's website contains a wealth of resources, such as detailed information on its exhibits and online exhibitions. Potential applicants and other researchers will benefit particularly from the essay Cartoon-Related Research at the Library of Congress, by Harry L. Katz and Sara W. Duke, as well as from Library of Congress Collections Relating to the Study of Caricature and Cartoon.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

CFP: Popular Culture Association, April 4-7, 2007, Boston MA

Here's the latest comics-specific academic Call for Papers to come my way. This one's near and dear to my heart, as PCA is where I first encountered the American community of comics scholars, back in 1995. Most importantly, perhaps, it's where I first met Amy Kiste Nyberg, who encouraged me to continue studying comics, even though at that time I clearly was in over my head. I eventually became the chair of the area myself briefly, from 2000-2002 (and co-chair from 2005-2006). I really should post that first essay of mine - on the variations and re-imaginings of Superman comics - one of these days...
The Comic Art & Comics Area of the Popular Culture Association invites all comics scholars to participate in the annual meeting of the Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association to be held April 4-7, 2007, in Boston, Massachusetts, at the Boston Marriott Copley Place. Details of the conference can be found at the conference website <http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~pcaaca>.

The Comic Art & Comics Area of the Popular Culture Association offers a chance for scholars from across the country [and around the globe - GK] to share their research and exchange ideas on the growing field of comics scholarship. Graduate students and those without current academic affiliation are welcome. Papers on all aspects of the medium are invited. This call asks for individual paper proposals or submissions for entire panels. If you are submitting a panel, please make sure to note the members of your panel.

In addition to general papers, if a presenter would like to propose a special panel or roundtable discussion, please e-mail the chair so she can forward the request to the mailing list.

Papers should be delivered in 15-20 minutes, maximum. The PCA limits presenters to one paper given at the conference so if you are interested in presenting a paper in the Comic Arts & Comics Area, do not submit a paper to another area. Participants are eligible for the annual Inge Award for Comics Scholarship, awarded to the top paper presented in the Comic Art & Comics Area of the PCA.

Scholars interested in presenting a paper at the national conference should send a 100-200 word abstract and a short introductory bio by October 31, 2006, to the area chair:
Via e-mail: Nicole Freim nfreim@charter.net
Nicole Freim
Riverside Community College
1798 Main Street
Riverside, CA 92501
I'll be there, along with the chair of the Medieval area; I hope you will be, too.

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The Art of Cartooning - Vassar College, NY, 24 October 2006 (7:00 PM - 9:00 PM)

As posted at the Vassar College calendar:

A panel on "The Art of Cartooning: Is Cartooning Art?" will be held on Tuesday, October 24th, from 7:00-9:00 p.m., at Vassar Colege, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. The participants include New Yorker cartoonists Roz Chast, Lee Lorenz and Peter Steiner.

Liza Donnelly (New Yorker cartoonist and Vassar adjunct lecturer in English) will moderate. The event is open to the public and will be held in the Villard Room of the College Center.

For directions to Vassar's College Center, click here. See also the directions; and the campus map (PDF file), where College Center is building 13 [CF].

See the press release or Donnelly's web site for more details. Hope to see you there!

BIG THANKS to Bard's Robert Laity for the tip!

Spiegelman, Mouly & Milt

Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly appeared on today's installment of the WNYC radio show "Selected Shorts." This weekly program "features some of the finest artists of the American theater reading contemporary and classic short fiction"; and this episode, entitled "Extreme Writing," focused on "unusual selections." For the first twenty minutes, it featured Spiegelman and Mouly, and their chosen author, Milt Gross. Here's the official description of this segment:
Many of the stories we’ve featured have involved courtship and marriage, but this may be the first occasion on which they played a role in story selection. Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly met when Mouly — a French émigré — started reading graphic novels as a way to learn English, and their courtship involved much reading aloud. Eventually they started their own graphic journal, Raw, from which some of their story selections derived, and their joint sense of the outsize and absurd is evident in the two stories featured on this program.

Milt Gross was a successful cartoonist whose career spanned the period between 1915 and 1950, and was also the author of comic stories written in a sort of fractured Yiddish. (His book titles include Dunk Esk, Famous Fimmales, and Nize Baby). His style is vividly represented by "De Smot Billy Gut," a favorite of host Isaiah Sheffer’s, who reads it.
The show also features a lengthy and hilarious piece written by Dalton Trumbo and read by James Naughton; and Jorge Luis Borges' "Dream Tigers," selected by Jonathan Lethem and read by host Isaiah Sheffer.

You can listen to the entire episode here.

Top: From Gross' Hiawatta witt No Odder Poems, a portion of which was also read on the show. Image from BPIB.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

October Entries

Here are the ComicsResearch.org book-entries we've added or revised recently. One new resource that we've begun adding to some of these new entries is a link to "Find in a Library with WorldCat." With these links you can find out if any libraries near you have a book in their collections. We'll be adding more of these links during future updates. And now, on with the titles:
Bukatman, Scott. Matters of Gravity: Special Effects and Supermen in the 20th Century. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003.

Frahm, Ole. Genealogie des Holocaust. Art Spiegelmans MAUS - A Survivor's Tale. München: Fink, 2006.

Gadducci, Fabio. Notes on the Early Decades of Italian Comic Art. Felici Editore, 2006.

Garrett, Greg. Holy Superheroes: Exploring Faith and Spirituality in Comic Books. Navpress Publishing Group, 2005.

Goldwater, John L. Americana in Four Colors: Twenty Years of Self Regulation by the Comics Magzine Industry. New York: Comics Magazine Association of America, 1974.

Groensteen, Thierry. The System of Comics. Trans. Bart Beaty and Nick Nguyen. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2007.

Groensteen, Thierry. Système de la Bande Dessinée. Formes Sémiotiques. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1999.

Lagerstedt, Ilpo. Masi: Kentällä ja kasarmilla. Recallmed, 2005.

Lagerstedt, Ilpo. Minä Tex Willer. Jalava, 2001.

Lagerstedt, Ilpo. Supersankarit. Ilmiö amerikkalaisessa sarjakuvassa. Helsinki: Kirjastopalvelu, 1991.

Masters of American Comics. Ed. John Carlin, Paul Karasik, and Brian Walker. Yale University Press, 2005.

McCarthy, Tom. Tintin and the Secret of Literature. Granta, 2006

Szenarien des Comic: Helden und Historien im Medium der Schriftbildlichkeit. Herausgegeben von Stefanie Diekmann und Matthias Schneider. SuKuLTuR, 2006.

That's Fumetti: Italian Comics at the San Diego International Comic Con. Milano: Epierre, 1998.

Walker, Mort. The Lexicon of Comicana. Port Chester, N.Y.: Museum of Cartoon Art, c1980. rpt: Backinprint.com, 2000.
And remember, if you wish to suggest a title or resource for us to add, just contact us.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Is Steve Ditko's eBay Sense Tingling?

Steve Ditko, legendary artist and co-creator of Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, and other comics, is well-known for being publicity-shy, preferring to let his work speak for him. (See our earlier post, "Ditko=Ditko.") So this eBay listing is sure to garner some attention:


I've got no way to verify if this posting is legitimate, but the photo at the sale site (left) does seem similar to one of the few published photos of Ditko (right). Thanks to Rodrigo Baeza for the tip!

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Monday, October 16, 2006

CFP: Neil Gaiman, Comic Book Novelist

Another Call for Papers, this time just for one panel at a larger conference (the 2007 College English Association Conference). Note the close deadline for abstracts (November 1, 2006) and that they're looking for papers focused on Gaiman's novels.
"Neil Gaiman: Comic Book Novelist"
Special panel at the 2007 College English Association Conference
March 29-31, 2007
New Orleans, LA
Deadline for submission: November 1, 2006

Neil Gaiman was first noticed by literary scholars for his work in comic books and graphic novels. Several articles and anthologies have been written about his landmark comic series, Sandman, and about his graphic novels. In the past 10 years, though, Gaiman has gained prominence as a novelist. He has authored five novels (Neverwhere [1996], Stardust [1999], American Gods [2001], Coraline [2002], and Anansi Boys [2005]) and has co-authored one novel (Good Omens [1990] with Terry Pratchett). Nevertheless, Gaiman’s novels have received little attention by literary scholars. This panel seeks 10-15 minute papers that explore unexamined questions about Gaiman’s novels. Although this panel will be open to any subject regarding Gaiman’s novels, special areas of interest include:
  • Theory of the fantastic
  • Use of traditional formats in a postmodern world (e.g., American Gods as road novel, Stardust as pre-Tolkien fairy tale)
  • Deities and faerie creatures as metaphors
  • The interaction between reader and text/the real and the unreal
  • Gaiman’s portrayal of America (broadly defined)/Gaiman’s portrayal of England
  • Literary theories applied to Gaiman’s novels (e.g., psychological, feminist, reader-response, etc.)
Abstracts should be 200-500 words, and should be submitted by November 1 at the following website: http://english.ttu.edu/CEA/conftool/index.php

For more information, please visit the following website: http://www2.widener.edu/%7Ecea/conference2006.htm

Tim Peoples
Department of English
Texas State University-San Marcos
Email: tim@litterarius.com
Thanks to Kate for the tip!

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

CFP: The Jewish Graphic Novel

Just received this interesting call for papers for a proposed scholarly essay collection:
The Jewish Graphic Novel

Essays sought for an interdisciplinary collection co-edited by an art historian and literary scholar. The growing subgenre of Jewish literary and graphic culture contains a number of significantly innovative aesthetic works that are increasingly recognized by literary critics as an exciting form of alternative narrative that may also represent the inception of a new visual literacy that has significant implications for the future of Jewish literary and artistic expression. As the catalogue of a recent art exhibit devoted to this cultural phenomenon states,
Jewish graphic novels represent an important genre in artistic expression and assert the intensity of word and image in conveying narratives that speak eloquently to the contemporary viewer. [They] offer intense visual elucidation of Jewish historic and literary events by combining intense illustration with searing social issues.
Works to be addressed may include graphic novels by Will Eisner (A Contract With God: and Other Tenement Stories, Fagin the Jew, The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion); Czech writer Vittorio Giardino's trilogy of volumes about Jewish life under the shadow of totalitarianism (A Jew in Communist Prague: Loss of Innocence, A Jew in Communist Prague: Adolescence, and A Jew in Communist Prague: Rebellion); Ben Katchor's The Jew of New York; Miriam Katin's memoir of WWII survival, We Are On Our Own; Neil Kleid's portrayal of mobsters in Brownsville; Etgar Keret's surreal tales, Jetlag: Five Graphic Novellas; Joe Kubert's stunning account of the Warsaw ghetto uprising in Yossel: April 14, 1943; Joann Sfar's whimsically philosophical The Rabbi's Cat; James Sturm's disturbing parable of American racism, The Golem's Mighty Swing; and J.T. Waldman's recent bold retelling of the essential Jewish myth of power and powerlessness in Megillat Esther. The editors also hope to include an essay or two on the impact of Art Spiegelman's seminal works of Holocaust oral history in Maus: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History and Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began, which crystallized the acceptance of the graphic novel as a legitimate literary form.

This collection aspires to fill an important gap in existing scholarship by offering the first collection of critical discussions to solely address the way that Jewish graphic novels grapple with Jewish history, cultural politics, antisemitism, portrayals of Ashkenazi and Sephardic identities, the role of the Holocaust in the artist's cultural and moral imagination, political controversy, literature, sacred texts, and myth through these captivating works that render image and text in hitherto unimagined forms. Other essays might consider the important role of autobiography in the graphic novel and the role of the graphic novel in the Jewish Studies classroom. This list is by no means exhaustive; other relevant theoretical, pedagogical, or cultural approaches will be considered. Authors are encouraged to use images whenever appropriate but they are individually responsible for all necessary permissions. Papers from all disciplines, or interdisciplinary submissions (whether focused on single works or comparative discussions), are welcomed.

Send brief bios along with abstracts (300 words) or complete essays that follow the current edition of the MLA Style Manual to both Ranen Omer-Sherman rosherman@miami.edu and Samantha Baskind s.baskind@csuohio.edu by 11/30/06.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

"See You in the Funny Papers": New York Times on "Masters" Exhibit

Thanks to The Queen of Everything for letting me know about "See You in the Funnypapers," a review of the current "Masters of American Comics" exhibits currently running at the Jewish Museum in New York City and the Newark Museum in New Jersey. The article was written by Michael Kimmelman and published in today's New York Times.

Along with the lengthy and positive review, you can also view a slideshow of art from the exhibits, as well as the "Close Reading" of Jack Kirby's work which I wrote about here earlier.

Pictured: The cover to the companion catalog, "Masters of American Comics."

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Oh, I Wish I was in D.C. (ICAF and SPX)

What a weekend to be in the Washington, D.C. area! First up: Yesterday saw the start of the 11th annual International Comic Arts Festival, located at the Library of Congress and running through tomorrow. ICAF brings together scholars and cartoonists from the world over, this year featuring cartoonists like Jules Feiffer, Rupert Bazambanza, Ellen Yamshon, Phil Jiminez, and Denny O'Neil, and academic presentations and special events on topics as diverse as Cultural Exchanges in French Comics, Editorial Cartoons by Herb Block, step-by-step production of a mainstream US comic book (Firestorm), comic art concerning the Rawandan genocide, and much more.

I began attending ICAF from its 2nd meeting, joined its Executive Committee, and even Chaired the event in 1999 and 2000. In 2002 I had the great honor of interviewing Art Spiegelman at an evening program (as captured for posterity in The Comics Journal), an interview which will be published next year in a collection edited by Joseph Witek (Comic Book as History). I've not been able to attend the last two ICAFs, so I haven't had the opportunity to experience their new collaborations with the Library of Congress's Prints & Photographics Reading Room and especially its Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon. I miss the presentations, the discussions, and all of my ICAF friends. Next year, though, I hope!

Also in the area - well, actually in Bethesda, MD, but close enough to do both - SPX, the Small Press Expo, runs today and tomorrow. A comics convention for alternative / small-press - self-published comics, SPX offers a one-stop wonderland of print, from the most obscure mini-comics to the latest offerings from publishers like Drawn & Quarterly, Top Shelf, Fantagraphics, and of course many, many more. ICAF and SPX were partners for several years, so I often experienced the sensory overloads, wallet-draining, and Ignatz-Award ceremonies that are SPX. Now on its own again, SPX also offers programming and guests, this year including Megan Kelso, Ted Rall, Scott McCloud, Gabrielle Bell, and lots of others.

It's wonderful that these two events run simultaneously, but think of the tough choices to make! Well, maybe next year I'll have the opportunity to face these difficult decisions...

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

OSU Cartoon Research Library on NPR

I missed the broadcast, but Sunday's "Talk of the Nation" on NPR featured a ten-minute interview with Lucy Shelton Caswell, curator of the Cartoon Research Library at The Ohio State University. The segment focuses primarily on the CRL's collection of original American cartoon art, the largest such collection in the world.

I've been lucky enough to visit the library twice (1998 and 2004), each time in conjunction with their triennial Festival of Cartoon Art. The Festival is always worthwhile, and unlike any other comics event I've attended. Lucy gathers a wide range of cartoonists, scholars, collectors, and afficianados to give presentations and occasionally to assemble exhibits. In 1998, for example, we enjoyed a huge collection of memorabilia from and about MAD magazine. And that was just a suplemental exhibit; the main focus that year was a breathtaking exhibit of orignal art by Winsor McCay, one of my favorite cartoonists. The next Festival will be held October 26-27, 2007, and "will celebrate the centennial of the birth of Milton Caniff." Barring any unforseen complications, I'll be there!

The NPR story is archived on the web, and it's definitely worth your ten minutes. For more on Lucy and the library, you can read "OSU Cartoon Research Library Celebrates Ohio Natives," a newspaper article from a few years back, for which I was happy to contribute some laudatory quotations. And be sure to visit the Cartoon Research Library's website (the source of these images).

Thanks to Eagle-Eye Kate for the tip!

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Comics as a Nexus of Culture: An Interdisciplinary Conference (25-27 May 2007, Germany)

Here's a Call for Papers I just recieved for what promises to be a wide-ranging conference. For more information, contact the conference organizer (details below).
Comics as a Nexus of Culture:
An Interdisciplinary Conference

25-27 May 2007
to be held at Pfalzakademie, Lambrecht, Germany

The comic can be seen as a central node in the network of contemporary culture. Comics have developed several distinctive national "schools" but they also display a strong inherent potential for international reception, which allows them to transcend cultural boundaries easily. In a very unique way, comics mediate between the culture of youths and the culture of adults, as well as between popular culture and high culture. Comics are also intermedial because they manifest themselves at the intersection of text, image, and sequence. They have often been shaped by the influence of various neighbouring media but they have also influenced other media. Comics thus present the unique chance to engage in a truly interdisciplinary discourse which brings together the distinctive approaches of various disciplines. An approach shaped by the distinctive characteristics of comics, on the other hand, has the potential to spark off new insight in the fields of the established disciplines.

For the proposed conference in May 2007, we therefore invite papers which look at the comic as a mediator between cultures and disciplines. European comics are planned to be a special focus of the conference but we are also happy to receive suggestions for papers which find their topic elsewhere. Ideas for panels and conference events in non-traditional formats are highly welcomed.

Areas of interest include but are not limited to the following:
  • different styles in European comics
    intercultural connections between Europe and the rest of the world in comics
  • the influence of comics on film and TV and vice versa
  • literary influences on comics and the influence of the comic on literature
  • the subversive cultural potential of comics
  • comics in Academia: Comics studies as an academic discipline
  • the meta-comic
  • realism/anti-realism and comics
Please abstracts of proposed papers (ca. 200 words) by 15 December 2006 to:

Dr. Mark Berninger
Department of English and Linguistics
Johannes Gutenberg-Universitaet Mainz

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