Sunday, February 27, 2011

CFP: Society for Comic Studies (Germany) (Mar. 31; Nov. 11-12)

Gesellschaft für Comicforschung
(Society for Comic Studies – ComFor)

6th Annual Academic Conference
Comics Reporters – Documentary Comics – Comic Biographies
November 11-12, 2011 – University of Passau

Call for Papers in English (pdf):

Conference website (German):

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

CFP: How Seattle Changed Comics (MLA) (March 12; Jan 5-8)

How Seattle Changed Comics
Call for Papers for a proposed panel at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, 5-8 Jan. 2012, Seattle, Washington.
Sponsored by the MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives.
Deadline for submissions: 12 March 2011.

The proposed panel would explore how Seattle and its institutions—seminal publisher Fantagraphics; The Comics Journal; independent and minicomix scenes—have transformed contemporary comics and the cultures surrounding it.

Discussion: Seattle is arguably the city that has shaped US comics the most over the past thirty years. The influence of independent publisher Fantagraphics is enormous: Fantagraphics has disseminated the work of many of the world’s most famous contemporary cartoonists, discovering and nurturing young innovative creators in addition to printing established figures in the field. On top of producing, in recent years, key reprint collections by Charles Schulz (Peanuts), E.C. Segar (Popeye) and George Herriman (Krazy Kat), among others, Fantagraphics has championed artists including Crumb, Kominsky-Crumb, Bagge, Burns, Clowes, the Hernandez Bros., Sacco, Tyler, Ware, and Woodring. Fantagraphics also publishes the one-of-a-kind magazine The Comics Journal, the trade venue established in 1976 that through its reviews and interviews showcases the complexity of comics as an art form and filled a deep void in contemporary critical discourse about comics. Further, Seattle is the home of many cartoonists (e.g. Jim Woodring), the setting for many famous comics (e.g. Charles Burns’s Black Hole and Lynda Barry’s Ernie Pook’s Comeek), and a vibrant hub for minicomics, both now and in years past. We welcome papers that propose to study the multifaceted influence on comics of Seattle, its artists, and its institutions.

Possible topics include though are not limited to:
  • Alternative comics: How did the Seattle comics scene help create, in the wake of the underground comics movement, what became known as alternative comics?
  • Critical discourse: What kind of critical discourse does The Comics Journal circulate—and how has it contributed to contemporary academic and mainstream journalistic writing on comics?
  • Serialization: How did the comic book serial as published by Fantagraphics—for instance Clowes’s Eightball, Bagge’s Hate, or the Hernandez Bros.’s Love & Rockets—shape the field of comics?
  • Reprints: Some have argued that reprints are the wave of the future for comics publishing. How have reprint editions by Fantagraphics and others influenced our sense of the scope of comics?
  • Formats: How has the vital minicomics scene in Seattle been in conversation with other formats of comics, and what is the future of this form? How might the history of comics in Seattle shed light on the future of comics publishing?
  • Locale: How has Seattle been represented in comics such as Charles Burns’ masterpiece Black Hole? What versions of Seattle are circulated in comics? Why has Seattle produced so many famous cartoonists? How has Seattle played a role in the larger Pacific Northwest comics culture?
Send 500-word abstracts in .doc or .pdf form to Derek Royal: derek [at] derekroyal [dot] com. Again, the deadline for submissions is 12 March 2011. Submitters will receive notification of results by no later than April 1.

Please note that this CFP is for a proposed, not a guaranteed, session at MLA 2012, meaning that it is contingent on approval by the MLA Program Committee (which will make its decisions after April 1). All prospective presenters must be current MLA members by no later than 7 April 2011.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

CFP: Feminism in the Worlds of Neil Gaiman (collection; April 1)

Call for Essays:
Death, Desire, Fury, and Delirium:
Feminism in the Worlds of Neil Gaiman
Edited by Tara Prescott and Aaron Drucker

Broadly lauded as a landmark writer in comics and fantasy fiction for his depiction of powerful and independent female characters, Neil Gaiman’s uses of feminist tropes and ideologies deserves further exploration. This collection due to be published in early 2012 looks carefully at the broad spectrum of Gaiman’s work and how he interacts with “feminism” through his oeuvre.

The editors of a critical anthology discussing the work of Gaiman in any medium -- including the comics, films, novels, and stories -- and how he assesses, criticizes, valorizes, and revises expectations of feminism, the feminine, and the place and purpose of women in narrative.

Critical analysis of any work by Gaiman will be considered so long as the subject of the article focuses on our topical interest.

Please send 200-300 word abstracts by 01 April 2011 to:

Tara Prescott and Aaron Drucker

If selected, final papers of 4,000 – 6,500 words (including endnotes and references) will be due 01 July 2011. No exceptions. Please note the submission of an essay does NOT necessarily mean publication in the volume. The editors are striving to put together as tight a collection as possible with many diverse viewpoints covering all aspects of Gaiman’s work as it addresses and problematizes contemporary notions of feminism.

Authors are also expected to follow the editor’s style guide and be willing to have their work edited.

For further details, please see the web page for the collection at:

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CFP: International Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels (Madrid) (May 31; Nov. 10-11)

International Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels
“Sites of Visual and Textual Innovation”
Alcalá de Henares, Madrid
November 10th-12th, 2011

The Instituto Franklin – UAH organizes an international conference on comics and graphic novels.

The main objective of the conference is to bring together the largest number of specialists and researchers of comics (graphic novels, manga, BD, etc) in order to reflect on the study of this area.

The theme is “Sites of visual and textual innovation” and it welcomes papers on (but not limited to):
  • The origins of comics,
  • Avant-garde and experimental works
  • Biography and autobiography.
The languages of the conference will be English and Spanish.

Abstracts of approximately 250-500 words can be submitted to . Deadline for acceptance: May, 31st 2011.

Conference will take place at Universidad de Alcalá in Spain.

For further information please visit:

Instituto Franklin - Universidad de Alcalá

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Query: "Zzz" for Snoring?

A friend forwarded this query to me to pass along. If you have any suggestions, please send them directly to James Harbeck via his email address.
Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2011 22:44:58 -0500
From: James Harbeck
Subject: zzz?

If I were to want to trace the history of the use of ZZZ for snoring in cartoons, what would be my best way of doing that? I have to assume that there's something better than dumpster-diving old comic books (wherever they even may be found), but I'm not entirely sure where to start looking.


James Harbeck

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CFP: Female Superheroes and Media Cultures (Australia) (April 11; August 12-13)

12-13 August 2011
Monash University, Melbourne
Sponsored by: The Centre for the Book, Monash University

In 2010, the 600th issue of Wonder Woman celebrated the Amazonian superhero’s longevity in print media. To mark the occasion, the issue reinvented the superhero’s iconic costume to make it less revealing, introducing dark trousers and a blue, starred jacket. This shift to more practical, less sexualised wear arguably reflects changing attitudes about gender and the growing female presence in the comics industry. Nonetheless, the change prompted some controversy online amongst fan communities, again highlighting the problematic history of the representation of women as powerful figures.

‘Tights and Tiaras: Female Superheroes and Media Cultures’ is a one and a half day interrogation of the construct of the ‘superhero’ as female and more generally of the representation of powerful female figures in fantasy and science fiction. Looking at a range of print and visual media, papers will explore the range of female characters in superhero narratives, the material history of the female superhero, and how visual and textual constructs of female heroes - and anti-heroes - have been re-imagined, re-invented and re-packaged over time.

Possible topics include:
  • The representation of female superheroes in print and visual media – in comics, comix, graphic novels, novels, short stories, fan fiction, film, television, and other media forms
  • Distribution of narratives and images of female superheroes across multiple genres and media platforms
  • The female hero quest
  • Deconstructing the superhero trope – studies in feminism, patriotism, politics, race, satire, comedy, and so on
  • Constructs of the female supervillain
  • Superhero fashions, including costumes, cosplay and sartorial signifiers
  • Female collaboration in comics
  • Female comics artists: historical and contemporary
  • Female comics audiences and fan communities
  • Analysis of the institutional, commercial and licensing histories of
  • female superhero properties
  • The construction of powerful women in fantasy and science fiction genres
Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words, accompanied by a brief bio, by emailed attachment to Dr Rebecca-Anne Do Rozario ( The deadline for abstracts is 11 April, 2011.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

CFP: The Material History of Spider-Man (MLA) (Mar. 5; Jan 5-8)

CFP: The Material History of Spider-Man:
A 50th Anniversary Observance

Call for Papers for a panel at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, 5-8 Jan. 2012, Seattle. This panel will be sponsored by the MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives (

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Spider-Man’s first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15, this session seeks to examine the histories imbricated in this iconic figure. From his Cold War origins in 1962, to his emergence as a symbol of the counterculture, to his commemoration of indelible moments in 21st-century America (e.g., Amazing Spider-Man #477—the 9/11 issue, or Amazing Spider-Man #583—the Obama issue), Spider-Man’s continuing narrative traces/haunts/aligns with US cultural history in provocative ways. This session seeks to understand what is revealed when one follows these relationships through the proliferation of texts — dozens of different comic book series, several television shows, a number of young adult novels, multiple films and videogames, and myriad other adaptations, including a pending Broadway musical — produced over the fifty-year development of this American icon.

Possible areas of inquiry may include, but are certainly not limited to:
  • Cold War technology and the origins of Spider-ManThe liberal consensus and the masked hero
  • Spider-Man and the counterculture
  • Archives and artifacts: Spider-man and the multimedia trace
  • Spider-Man on campus
  • The various Spider-Man comic books as barometers of contemporary culture
  • Spider-Man and 9/11
  • The “Civil War” crossover series and the War on Terror
  • The cultural significance of Spider-Man adapted into other media
  • Spider-Man in the age of Obama
Send 500-word abstracts in .doc or .pdf form to Derek Royal: derek at derekroyal-dot-com. The deadline for submissions is 5 March 2011. Submitters will receive notification of results by no later than April 1.

Please note that all prospective presenters must be current MLA members by no later than 7 April 2011.

This CFP can also be viewed at the website for the MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives (

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

CFP: “Why Comics Are and Are Not Picture Books” (MLA) (Mar 5; Jan 5-8)

Call for Proposals:
“Why Comics Are and Are Not
Picture Books”

Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention,
5-8 Jan. 2012, Seattle, Washington

A proposed panel jointly sponsored by the MLA Children’s Literature Division and the MLA Comics and Graphic Narratives Discussion Group

This panel will explore the possible relationships between comics and picture books, two imagetext genres implicated in children’s literacy learning which, despite overlapping formally and aesthetically, nonetheless stand apart socially and culturally. The potential application of picture book theory to comics, and, conversely, comics theory to picture books, promises to challenge this apartness—that is, to call into question the generic distinctiveness of the two forms. In that spirit, this panel invites participation from multiple perspectives, including but not limited to genre theory, education, history, formalism, aesthetics, semiotics, and ideological criticism.


Scholars of the picture book (e.g., Nodelman, Nikolajeva and Scott, and op de Beeck) have gestured toward, in some cases briefly addressed, the aesthetics and reading demands of comics. By the same token, comics theorists (see e.g. McCloud’s Understanding Comics and Varnum and Gibbons’ anthology The Language of Comics: Word and Image) have in effect suggested, if not yet pursued, formal likenesses between the genres. Yet the critical dialogue between the genres remains muted. This panel will seek to enliven that dialogue by posing questions such as:

·  What formal resources and aesthetic strategies do comics and picture books share? Do they tend to deploy those resources and use those strategies differently?

·  What similar or different demands do the two genres make of readers?

·  How does the typical experience—if indeed we may posit a typical experience—of reading one genre differ from that of reading the other? For instance, how conducive are comics to what Ellen Spitz calls conversational reading, that is, reading shared by adult and child?

·  How do both comics and picture books participate in discourses and projects related to literacy learning and cultural literacy? For example, the possible role of comics in reading instruction has garnered much interest in recent studies (see e.g. Cary 2004; Carter 2007; Frey and Fisher 2008; Thompson 2008)—how might this development be regarded culturally and critically? How might comics differ from or resemble picture books in their classroom use?

The creative dialogue between the two genres has intensified: consider for example comics-oriented picture books by David Wiesner, Art Spiegelman, Eleanor Davis, Posy Simmonds, Peter Sís, Mo Willems, or Marcia Williams; continued interest in classics such as Maurice Sendak’s In the Night Kitchen or Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman; and recent genre-blurring texts such as Shaun Tan’s The Arrival or Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret. This proposed session would encourage a critical conversation to match: diverse, energetic, and timely.

Several factors make this an opportune and even urgent topic for MLA 2012, including the many artists who have worked in both genres; the genres’ shared aesthetic and narrative resources, and the relevance of image/text theories to both; the new prominence of comics in both children’s book publishing and reading instruction; and the current struggle of the picture book market to respond to social, educational, economic, and technological change. In addition, this topic well suits MLA 2012’s location in Seattle (a bastion of comics and graphic novels) and its Presidential theme, Language, Literature, Learning, which emphasizes the role of reading in cognitive growth, educational attainment, and critical thinking. These issues are of great concern in the emerging discourse on children’s comics reading, and have always been central to picture book scholarship.

Send abstracts of roughly 500 words in Word or PDF form to Charles Hatfield at The deadline for submissions is 5 March 2011. Submitters will receive notification of results by April 1.

Please note that this CFP is for a proposed, not a guaranteed, session at MLA 2012, meaning that it is contingent on approval by the MLA Program Committee (which will make its decisions after April 1). All prospective presenters must be current MLA members by no later than 7 April 2011.

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