Thursday, January 25, 2007

CFP: "Autographics" (8/15/2007)

[Thanks to new ComicsResearch & Such friend Chandra Wells, via the inestimable K.A. Laity.]

"Autographics": A Biography Special Issue.

The Winter 2008 Special Issue of Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly will be devoted to Autographics. Guest editors Gillian Whitlock and Anna Poletti seek to explore the diverse forms of visuality and conjunctions of image, text, and materiality in contemporary life narrative. Graphic forms include visual elements such as drawings, images, and pictures, as well as elements of design and physical features of the text--for instance, the diverse use of materials in such DIY autobiographical forms as personal zines, installations, and websites. Other examples of autographics include autobiographical comix and sequential art, graphic memoir, writing on the body and body maps, self portraiture, auto/biographical uses of found objects in collage, assemblage and installation, and contemporary uses of craft.

TO SUBMIT: Manuscripts should be double spaced and ideally between 3,000 and 10,000 words. A double-blind submission policy will be followed; the author's name should not appear anywhere on the manuscript, but an accompanying cover letter should contain the author's name and address. Consultation on manuscript ideas is welcomed.

Inquiries and submissions may be sent by email to, or to:
Center for Biographical Research
University of Hawai'i at Mänoa
1800 East-West Road #325
Honolulu, Hawai'i 96822 USA
(Tel./Fax 808 956-3774)

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Special Offer: New Book on European Comics

February sees the publication of Dr. Bart Beaty's Unpopular Culture: Transforming the European Comic Book in the 1990s (University of Toronto Press). Here's how the publisher describes it:

In the last fifteen years or so, a wide community of artists working in a variety of western European nations have overturned the dominant traditions of comic book publishing as it has existed since the end of the Second World War. These artists reject both the traditional form and content of comic books (hardcover, full-colour ‘albums’ of humour or adventure stories, generally geared towards children), seeking instead to instill the medium with experimental and avant-garde tendencies commonly associated with the visual arts. Unpopular Culture addresses the transformation of the status of the comic book in Europe since 1990.

Increasingly, comic book artists seek to render a traditionally degraded aspect of popular culture un-popular, transforming it through the adoption of values borrowed from the field of ‘high art.’ The first English-language book to explore these issues, Unpopular Culture represents a challenge to received histories of art and popular culture that downplay significant historical anomalies in favour of more conventional narratives. In tracing the efforts of a large number of artists to disrupt the hegemony of high culture, Bart Beaty raises important questions about cultural value and its place as an important structuring element in contemporary social processes.

Dr. Beaty is the author of, among other works, Fredric Wertham and the Critique of Mass Culture. We've known each other for quite some time, and he's officially a Friend of I've been hearing about his work on this book for a while now (while, I must say, quite envying his fieldwork opportunities), so I'm very much looking forward to reading it!

Special offer for readers: Thanks to an offer by Dr. Beaty, you may click here for a PDF file which allows you to purchase Unpopular Culture for 20% off the list price.

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CFP: International Comic Arts Forum (3/15/07; 10/18/07-10/20/07)

As I used to serve as Chair of this conference, I'm (more than a bit) biased, but ICAF is a wonderful conference, and attendees always gain a greater appreciation of comics from around the globe.

The Twelfth Annual
International Comic Arts Forum (ICAF)

October 18-20, 2007
The Library of Congress, James Madison Building, Washington, D.C.
The International Comic Arts Forum (formerly the International Comic Arts Festival) invites scholarly paper presentations for its twelfth annual meeting, to be held at the Madison Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., from Thursday, October 18, through Saturday, October 20, 2007. We welcome original proposals from a variety of disciplines and theoretical perspectives on any aspect of comics (including comic strips, comic books, albums, manga, graphic novels, political cartoons, other panel cartoons, caricature, or comics in electronic media), with a special interest in international comics. Proposals will be refereed via blind review.

For its scholarly presentations, ICAF prefers argumentative, thesis-driven papers, clearly linked to larger critical, artistic, or cultural issues; we strive to avoid presentations that are merely summative or survey-like in character. We can only accept original 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. In all cases, presentations should be timed to finish within the strict limit of TWENTY (20) MINUTES (roughly eight to nine typed, double-spaced pages).

Proposals should not exceed 300 WORDS. At the bottom of the proposal, the author should precisely state her/his audiovisual equipment needs.

AUDIOVISUAL EQUIPMENT: Our preferred format for the display of images is MS PowerPoint. Regretfully we cannot accommodate non-digital media such as transparencies, slides, or VHS tapes. Presenters should bring their PowerPoint or other electronic files on a CD or a USB key, not just on the hard drive of a portable computer. We cannot guarantee the compatibility of our equipment with presenters' individual laptops.

REVIEW PROCESS: All proposals will be subject to blind review by the ICAF Executive Committee, with preference given to proposals that observe the above standards. The final number of papers accepted will depend on the needs of the conference program. Due to increasing interest in the conference, in recent years ICAF has typically accepted only one-third to one-half of the proposals it has received.

SEND ABSTRACTS (with COMPLETE contact information) by March 15, 2007, to Prof. Cécile Danehy, ICAF Academic Coordinator, via email at <>.

Receipt of proposals is acknowledged immediately; if you do not receive acknowledgement within a few days of sending your proposal, please resubmit.

Applicants should expect to receive confirmation of acceptance or rejection by May 15, 2007.

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New Journal Article on Ted Naifeh'’s "Polly and the Pirates"

Dale Jacobs, Associate Professor of English at the University of Windsor, announces his new publication. It looks to be of particular interest both to teachers and to scholars of comics' formal properties:

Jacobs, Dale. "More Than Words: Comics as a Means of Teaching Multiple Literacies." English Journal 96.3 (January 2007): 19-25.
Historically, comics have been viewed as a “debased or simplified word-based literacy,” explains Dale Jacobs, who considers comics to be complex, multimodal texts. Examining Ted Naifeh’'s Polly and the Pirates, Jacobs shows how comics can engage students in multiple literacies, furthering meaning-making practices in the classroom and beyond.
English Journal should be available in most academic libraries and/or via Interlibrary Loan.

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CFP: Classics and Comics (2/5/07; APA, 1/3/08-1/6/08)

The first of several comics-related calls for papers I'll be posting here today...

Classics and Comics
Outreach Panel Session at the American Philological Association
January 3-6, 2008; Chicago, Illinois

Proposals are invited for a special outreach panel on the topic of “Classics and Comics,” to be held at the annual meeting of the American Philological Association (APA) in January 2008. There are many examples of comics appropriating the classics for serious or comic purposes, including Frank Miller's 300, Neil Gaiman's Sandman, Messner-Loebs' Epicurus the Sage, van Lente's Action Philosophers, Shanower's Age of Bronze, Goscinny and Uderzo's /Asterix/ series. Since Classics Illustrated Comics' The Last Days of Pompeii in 1947, comics have been drawing (on) material from Greek and Roman myth, literature and history. At times the connection was cosmetic—as perhaps with Wonder Woman’'s Amazonian heritage —and at times it was almost irrelevant—as with Hercules’ starfaring adventures in the 1982 Marvel miniseries. But all of these make implicit or explicit claims about the place of Classics in modern literary culture.

The APA's committee on Outreach is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding and appreciation of Classics – Greek and Roman culture of the ancient world. Each year the Outreach Committee hosts one panel on a topic designed to attract an audience from outside the APA's traditional audience (students and faculty of Classics Departments in North America). This panel is open both to members of the APA and the general public and will be advertised in the Chicago area.

The comic book has been a major element of North American popular culture for over a century and has been increasingly regarded as a legitimate artistic and literary medium. This legitimization has happened on at least two fronts: through the emergence of the 'graphic novel' and through scholar/ practitioners such as Scott McCloud and Will Eisner attempting to define the relationship of the comic book to audience, artist and other artistic media. Yet to date there has been very little work attempting to integrate the medium into a larger understanding of Western artistic and literary culture.

The following is a list of possible topics that contributors might explore, though the organizers invite proposals for exciting and engaged papers that will reveal aspects of comics and their Classical sources from any disciplinary perspective that might be relevant to the overall theme:
  • the depiction of myth or ancient history in comics
  • visual representations of myth or history in ancient sources and in the comics format
  • discussions of any specific use of the Classics in the comics medium
  • the transformation of narrative structure between ancient source material and comics
  • the appropriation of motif or character typology from Classical literature
  • the synthesis of visual art and text in the ancient and modern worlds
  • the effect of comics on modern perceptions of Greek and Roman material
  • the influence of comics on other artistic media depicting Greek and Roman material
  • the legitimization of comics as literature through the use of Classical material
  • Classical narratives in Manga
  • comparison of comics with other forms of 'low' culture in the ancient world
The organizers are also welcoming the participation of comics writers and artists.

Contingent to the success of the panel, the organizers may wish further to develop and publish the proceedings.

Papers will be 20 minutes in length; use of visuals (through PowerPoint) is expected.

Please forward a 400-word abstract, along with a brief biographical statement or CV, as email attachments in Word or Rich Text Format to both of the organizers:

George Kovacs (
C.W. Marshall (

Further questions may also be addressed to either of the organizers.

Abstracts will be considered beginning February 5, 2007, until the panel is filled. Submissions are encouraged before that date.

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