Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Comics Alternative Podcast #89: The Amateurs; The Superannuated Man #1; Star Trek: Harlan Ellison's Original "The City on the Edge of Forever" Teleplay #1

On this episode of The Comics Alternative, Derek Royal and I review Conor Stechschulte's disturbingly moody new graphic novella The Amateurs (Fantagraphics); the first issue of Ted McKeever's inky new mini-series The Superannuated Man (Image);  and the first issue of the lengthily named and historically convoluted Star Trek: Harlan Ellison's Original "The City on the Edge of Forever" Teleplay (IDW), adapted by Scott & David Tipton and J.K. Woodward. Join us for a discussion of 19th century fever dreams, scuba vs. mutated animal intrigue, an "adaptation" of a different stripe, and lots more.

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

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Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Call for Papers: Transformed by Comics: The Influence of Comics/BD/Graphic Novels on the Novel / Image & Narrative special issue (Sept 30)

Call for Papers
Transformed by Comics:
The Influence of Comics/BD/Graphic Novels
on the Novel
Special Issue of Image & Narrative

While there has been scholarly research on the influence of poetry on cinema, or the influence of paintings on poetry, as well as the relationship between film and fiction, little work has been published on the importance of comics and graphic novels for contemporary writing. Such a space is all the more obvious when one considers new works on the relationship between high and low culture, comics and fine art. What would for example a novelization of a BD, graphic novel or comic mean? What titles exist in today’s ‘comics aware’ culture and is there a forgotten tradition to discover? What codes, practices, themes and narrative techniques are significant for novelizations of text-image source texts?

There is a small but significant discussion on Chabon’s Kavalier and Clay (2001), or Jay Cantor’s Krazy Kat (1994) as well as Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow (1973), but not much on Tom de Have’s Funny Papers (1985), Frederic Teuten’s Tintin in the New World (1993), Rick Moody’s Ice Storm (1994), Austin Grossman’s Soon I will be invincible (2007). More work is clearly needed, including on lost Anglophone texts, as well as sites from other cultural traditions.

We certainly need also to start to evaluate Francophone and other non-Anglophone examples. Do the novelists who also work with BD separate out their two fields of activity or work with more intermedial techniques? For example does Jean Teulé’s Bord Cadrage (2009) work as a complex play between forms? Not to mention work from Harry Morgan (alias Christian Wahl), who is a novelist, BD writer and theorist of comics. And what about the growing importance of Ludovic Debeurme, Benoit Peeters, François Rivière, Willy Mouele, and Joann Sfar? All of whom are working in spaces that sit between traditional fiction and the world of the comics. What about the novels in other languages? In Italian (e.g. Umberto Eco’s La Misteriosa Fiamma de la regina Loanna, 2004)? In Dutch? Spanish? German? Japanese? Also, if the comics world is dominated by male writers and male fans, are there women writers interested in subverting these phallocentric comics in their novels?

We invite papers on any aspect of this research question, including treatments of single authors or comparative works, theoretical engagements with underlying narratological and text-image questions, as well as cross-national expansions of the sense of the field. No special consideration is given for any cultural space, we encourage originality. Similarly papers on the pre-existing tradition of children’s literature and its adaptation strategies are welcome such as Dave Eggers’s novelisation of Where the Wild Things are.

Length & Deadlines:
400-500 word abstracts are invited for 30 September 2014
4000-5000 word essays to be completed after editorial selection for January 30 2015

The text will be published in a special issue of Image & Narrative after the traditional double blind review process.

Language: English or French
Contact editors: Hugo Frey ( and Chris Reyns-Chikuma (

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CFP: “I Don’t Think I am Like Other People”: Anomalous Embodiment in Young Adult Speculative Fiction / essay collection (Sept 15)

This CFP doesn't mention comics, but it seems there certainly should be opportunities for comics scholarship here...

Call For Papers:
“I Don’t Think I am Like Other People”
Anomalous Embodiment in
Young Adult Speculative Fiction

Editors Sherryl Vint and Mathieu Donner are seeking submissions for a volume of essays on young adult literature entitled Anomalous Embodiment in Young Adult Speculative Fiction.

The large commercial as well as critical successes of such works as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials or Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series have pushed young adult fiction to the forefront of the literary world. However, and though most of these texts themselves engage in one way or another with questions related to the body, and, more precisely, to a body that refuses to conform to social norms as to what a body ‘ought to be’, few academic studies have really explored the relation that young adult fiction entertains with this adolescent ‘abnormal’ body.

In her work on corporeal feminism, Volatile Bodies, Elizabeth Grosz suggests that adolescence is not only the period during which the body itself undergoes massive transformation, shifting from childhood to adulthood, but that it is also in this period that ‘the subject feels the greatest discord between the body image and the lived body, between its psychical idealized self-image and its bodily changes’ and that therefore, the ‘philosophical desire to transcend corporeality and its urges may be dated from this period’ (Volatile Bodies 75). Following upon Grosz’s observation, this interdisciplinary collection of essays addresses the relation that young adult fiction weaves between the adolescent body and the ‘norm’, this socially constructed idealized body image which the subject perceives to be in direct conflict with her/his own experience.

This collection will thus be centred on the representation, both positive and negative, of such body or bodies. From the vampiric and lycanthropic bodies of Twilight and Teen Wolf to the ‘harvested’ bodies of Neal Shusterman’s novel Unwind, YA fiction entertains a complex relation to the adolescent body. Often singularized as ‘abnormal’, this body comes to symbolise the violence of a hegemonic and normative medical discourse which constitutes itself around an ideal of ‘normality’. However, and more than a simple condemnation or interrogation of the problematic dominant representation of the corporeal within young adult fiction, this collection also proposes to explore how such texts can present a foray into new alternative territories. As such, the collection proposes a focus on what Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s label the anomalous body, or embodiment re-articulated not necessarily as the presumption of an inside and an outside of normality, but rather as ‘a position or set of positions in relation to a multiplicity’ (A Thousand Plateaus, 244), one which interrogates and challenges the setting of such a boundary by positioning itself at the threshold of normativity.

We are particularly looking for contributions on works which either (1) interrogate, problematize the dominant discourse on normative embodiment present in YA fiction, (2) emphasize, by a play on repetition or any other means, the limitations of the traditional discourse on the ‘abnormal’ or ‘disabled’ body, and signal the inherent violence of such normative paradigms, and/or (3) propose an alternative approach to the anomalous body. Relevant topics include (but are not limited to):
  • (Re-)Articulating disability;
  • The adolescent as ‘abnormally’ embodied;
  • Transcending gender and the sexuated body;
  • Medical norms and the violence of ‘normative’ embodiment;
  • Bodies and prosthetic technologies, or the posthuman boundary;
  • Genetics, Diseases and medication, or transforming the body from the inside;
  • Cognitive readings of the body, or how do we read body difference;
  • Embodied subjectivities, anomalous/abnormal consciousness
We invite proposals (approximately 500 words) for 8’000-10’000-word chapters by Monday 15th September. Abstract submissions should be included in a Word document and sent to Sherryl Vint ( and Mathieu Donner ( Please remember to include name, affiliation, academic title and email address. Postgraduate and early-careers researchers are encouraged to participate.

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CFP: Comics and Graphic Novels / Northeast Popular/American Culture Association (NEPCA) (June 9; Oct. 24-25)

Call for Papers
Comics and Graphic Novels
Northeast Popular/American Culture Association

The Northeast Popular/American Culture Association (NEPCA) is seeking paper proposals on comics and graphic novels for its fall conference to be held at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island on October 24-25, 2014.

Please send 250-word electronic versions of your proposal to: Zack Kruse (area chair) at and to Robert Hackey (program chair) at

A wide range of topics will be considered; however, in an effort to best serve the medium and culture that make up comics, applicants are encouraged to deal with comics in a theoretical framework. Papers that demonstrate the role of comics in the broader cultural and critical discussion are preferred. Applicants should feel welcome to submit papers on the role of mainstream comics, independent comics, webcomics, strip comics, and underground comix.

With your submission, please include a two or three sentence description of yourself, your background, and your qualifications. There is an official submission form on the NEPCA website ( under the “Fall Conference” tab that should be completed and submitted to the area and program chairs noted above.

NEPCA presentations are generally 20 minutes in length and may be delivered either formally or informally. It is recommended that presentations on comics are accompanied by relevant images when it is reasonable to do so. NEPCA prides itself on holding conferences that emphasize sharing ideas in a non-competitive and supportive environment involving graduate students, junior faculty, and senior scholars.

The deadline to submit proposals is June 9, 2014, and applicants will receive confirmation of their acceptance or rejection by mid July.

Receipt of proposals will be acknowledged by the area chair.

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