Monday, August 25, 2008

New Publication: 500 Essential Graphic Novels

I'm proud to announce the publication of my first book, 500 Essential Graphic Novels. Well, by "my" I mean that it has my name on the cover, and that I did a lot of the work on it. However, I can't help but acknowledge the contributions of many other writers (see the book for the full list, in addition to some unacknowledged but highly appreciated work by über-pals Mike Rhode and Charles Hatfield), and of my editor Tim Seelig of ILEX Press.

Here's the description from Collins Design, the book's US publisher:
500 Essential Graphic Novels is an all-in-one guide to this exciting form of visual literature.

Including more than 350 authors and 400 artists, this lush volume contains an essential mix of some of the finest visually-stunning stories of our time. From politically-charged non-fiction sagas to imaginative fantasy tales, this ultimate guide has something to satisfy everyone's taste.

The first of its kind, this book focuses on each graphic novel separately, honing in on art technique, style and prose, plus an age rating system so parents will know what is suitable for their children. Chapters are divided by genre, complete with individual plot synopses and star-scaled reviews for each book, providing the reader with a concise and balanced understanding of today's best graphic novels.
You can visit our bibliography entry for 500 Essential Graphic Novels to see a list of the book's contents and other information. I hope to have some "web extras" to go along with the book soon.

(On that page you'll also find our customary ordering link. If you can't find the book at your local shop, please consider using this link to buy the book - or any other book listed and linked to at, for that matter. I receive a small [very!] chunk of change from your purchases, money that helps offset the costs of running this website. End of commercial.)

Special thanks go to my pal Tim Pilcher for nominating me for the gig in the first place; you might recall that I assisted Tim on his book Erotic Comics: A Graphic History from Tijuana Bibles to Zap Comix. He also runs the blog Sex, Drugs & Comic Books. Also, here's a shout-out to über-friends Brad & Liz Brooks for introducing me to Tim in the first place; Brad's the co-author with Tim of The Essential Guide to World Comics, and Brad & Liz run Sequential Design. Finally, massive thanks and love to K. A. Laity, who had to endure not just me but also a house even more covered in books than is our crazy norm.

Labels: , ,

Latest Additions and Updates to Our Bibliography

Here are the latest new and revised bibliography entries (lots this time!). As always, we've also been adding links throughout the website. If you have suggestions or would like to contribute reviews, please let us know.

New Entries:
500 Essential Graphic Novels: The Ultimate Guide. By Gene Kannenberg, Jr. NY: Collins Design, 2008.

Father of the Comics Strip: Rodolphe Töpffer. By David Kunzle. Great Comics Artists series. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2007.

Harvey Pekar: Conversations. Edited by Michael G. Rhode. Conversations with Comic Artists Series. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2008 [in press].

Invaders from the North: How Canada Conquered the Comic Book Universe. By John Bell; foreword by Seth. Toronto: The Dundurn Group, 2006.

Jeff Smith: Bone and Beyond. Foreword by Sherri Geldin. Introduction by Lucy Shelton Caswell. Text by Dave Filipi, Scott McCloud, Neil Gaiman. Columbus, OH: Wexner Center for the Arts, 2008.

Meanwhile...: A Biography of Milton Caniff, Creator of Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon
. By Robert C. Harvey. Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2007.

Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean. By Douglas Wolk. Da Capo Press, 2007.

Son of Invisible Art: Graphic Novels for Libraries. Compiled by Joss O'Kelly. Aylesbury: Library and Information Service for Schools, Buckinghamshire County Council, 2001.

Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy. By Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton. Introduction by Michael Chabon. Metropolitan Museum of Art; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008.

Töpffer: L'invention de la bande dessinée. By Thierry Groensteen and Benôit Peeters. Hermann Editeurs des Sciences et des Arts, 1994.

Where Demented Wented: The Art and Comics of Rory Hayes. By Rory Hayes. Edited by Dan Nadel and Glenn Bray, with essays by Geoffrey Hayes and Edwin Pouncey. Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2008.

Wordless Books: The Original Graphic Novels. By David A. Beronä. Introduction by Peter Kuper. Abrams, 2008.
Revised Entries:
Art Spiegelman: Conversations. Ed. Joseph Witek. Conversations with Comic Artists. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2007.

Comics as Philosophy.
Edited by Jeff McLaughlin. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2005.

Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga. By Frederik L. Schodt.
Berkeley, CA: Stone Bridge P, 1996.

The Great Comic Book Heroes. By Jules Feiffer. 1965. New York: Dial, 1977.

Forging a New Medium: The Comic Strip in the Nineteenth Century. Edited by Charles Dierick and Pascal Lefèvre. Brussels: VUB University Press, 1998.

Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics. By Frederik L. Schodt. Foreword by Osamu Tezuka. Tokyo, New York, and San Francisco: Kodansha International, 1983.

Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution, 1963-1975. By Patrick Rosenkranz. Seattle, WA: Fantagraphics Books, 2002.

Seduction of the Innocent. By Fredric Wertham. New York & Toronto: Reinhart, 1954.

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

The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America. By David Hajdu. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.

Unpopular Culture: Transforming the European Comic Book in the 1990s. By Bart Beaty. University of Toronto Press, 2007.


Friday, August 15, 2008

"Reading Pictures, Burning Comics": Sept. 25 at Columbia University

This event was announced today on SHARP-L, the discussion list for the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing. I'm very pleased to see a topic on comics as part of this distinguished lecture series!

Reading Pictures, Burning Comics:
New Perspectives on the History of Graphic Narrative

Panel discussion with:
David Berona, Plymouth State University

David Hajdu, Columbia University
Mike Kelly, New York University

September 25
Columbia University
523 Butler Library, 5:30-7 pm

The publication of two recent books -- Berona's Wordless Books [our info] (2008) and Hajdu's Ten-Cent Plague [our info] (2008) -- inspired this panel discussion. Moderator, comics scholar, and rare book curator Mike Kelly will lead a discussion with Berona and Hajdu on current scholarship, historical perspectives, and a consideration of the place wordless books, graphic novels, and comics hold in both contemporary culture and the History of the Book.

Inquiries to: Gerald W. Cloud, Librarian for Reference and Research, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries, 535 West 114th Street, New York, NY 10027. (Ph): 212-854-8481

Labels: ,

[There may still be time to sneak in a submission...]

Call for Participation
Institute for Comics Studies
Comic Book Convention Conference Series


Atlanta, Georgia August 29-September 1, 2008

The Institute for Comic Studies and the Comics and Pop Art division of Dragon*Con are working together to develop an academic conference for the studies of comics and pop art to take place at Dragon-Con, the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the US.

Please submit a proposal for a 20-minute presentation that engages in substantial scholarly examinations of comic books, graphic novels, and pop art. A broad range of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives is being sought, including literary and art criticism, philosophy, linguistics, history, and communication. Proposals may range from discussions of the nature of the comics medium, analyses of particular works and authors, discussions of the visual language of comics, to comics pedagogy, and more.

The academic track of Dragon*Con represents the Institute for Comics Studies’ mission to promote the study, understanding, and cultural legitimacy of comics and to support the discussion and dissemination of this study and understanding via public venues.

100-word proposals due: ASAP or by August 1, 2008:

Matthew Brown
Dragon*Con Mini-Conference Chair
mattbrown @
Subject line: "ICS: Dragon*Con Proposal"

Due to the tight deadline and scheduling constraints, early submission is the best guarantor of acceptance

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, August 10, 2008

CFP: Second Life Web Comics Conference (Aug. 15; Oct. 3)

Call for Presenters:
Second Life Web Comics
Comic-Con and Conference

Proposals are invited for presentations at the Web Comics Convention to be held in Second Life on October 3, 2008.

Sponsored by The Center for EduPunx, The Comic Book Bin, and The Institute for Comics Studies, the conference will bring together practitioners, educators, academics, students, journalists and others for a day-long event aimed at lively discussion and fruitful exchange. Participation from all over the world is avidly sought, while conference organizers and tech support will work in English.

Proposals of roughly 200 words are solicited from:

Web Comics Creators
Display samples of your work in our galleries, mingle with conference attendees, and participate in roundtable discussions about web comics creation, self-promotion, career goals, etc. Play with your avatar, come as your comics character!

Second Life Artists, Designers and Builders, Educators and Researchers
Demonstrate the potential of Second Life for web comics creators and students interested in making and promoting their own comics. We are particularly eager to receive a proposal from you if you are making comics in Second Life, or have designed or created a build based on comics. If you are in the planning process, please also submit a proposal.

Are you using web comics in the classroom? Educators using web comics are invited to lead and participate in workshops designed to explore the pedagogical possibilities of web comics, especially if you are encouraging students to create web comics for course credit.

Comics Scholars, Bloggers, Twitterers, Academic Journals on the Web
Share your research into comics history, web comics or comics in Second Life in presentations or roundtable discussions.

Journalists and Comics Professionals
Share your insights into important trends in web comics in presentations or roundtable discussions. Sit with creators and Second Life artists, educators and researchers to explore the potential of virtual worlds for comics and the industry.

Please direct all inquiries and proposals to Beth Davies-Stofka, Ph.D. at Proposals are due no later than August 15. All proposals will receive a reply by August 30, 2008. Technical support will be provided by the Center for EduPunx, and training will be available by appointment in SL September 17-19.

We hope to hear from you!

Labels: , , ,

CFP: ICS's Wizard World University (Aug. 15; Nov. 7-9)

Here's the first of two Calls for Papers sponsored by the new Institute for Comics Studies. Note the tight deadline for abstracts: August 15.

Call for Participation
Institute for Comics Studies
Comic Book Convention Conference Series

Arlington Convention Center, Texas
November 7-9, 2008

The Institute for Comics Studies is soliciting proposals for presentations, book talks, slide talks, roundtables, professional-focus discussion panels, workshops and other panels for Wizard World University-Texas, the academic track of Wizard World Texas.

Panels that include participation by comics industry professionals are especially encouraged. ICS will provide assistance with recruiting professionals for participation in WWU-TX panels.

Wizard World University represents the Institute for Comics Studies’ mission to promote the study, understanding, and cultural legitimacy of comics and to support the discussion and dissemination of this study and understanding via public venues.

ICS is also accepting applications for the position of local chair at Wizard World Texas.
Proposals due: August 15, 2008
WWU-T submission form:

Dr. Peter Coogan
Institute for Comics Studies
719 Fairview Ave, St. Louis MO 63119
Comicsstudies @

Labels: , ,