Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A COMICS STUDIES READER Wins the 2009 Peter C. Rollins Book Award

As posted today at the blog for the University Press of Mississippi,
A Comics Studies Reader has just been named winner of the 2009 Peter C. Rollins Book Award by the Southwest Texas Popular/ American Culture Association. This prize is awarded annually for the best book in popular culture studies and/or American culture studies.

Editors, Jeet Heer and Kent Worcester have been honored for their exemplary work in the popular culture field. Designed to reward genuine research and lucid expression, the award bears the name of Peter C. Rollins, Founder of the SWTX organizations.
See UPM's original blog post for more information. Congratulations, Jeet and Kent!

Full, proud discosure: This book reprints my essay on Chris Ware. You can see the book's complete table of contents at its ComicsResearch.org page.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Book from UPM - Komiks: Comic Art in Russia

As many followers of this blog already know, the University Press of Mississippi has been "the comics scholar's best friend" for nearly two decades, beginning with their publication of M. Thomas Inge's Comics as Culture in 1990. February 2010 will see UPM release José Alaniz' Komiks: Comic Art in Russia, which is featured on the front cover of their Fall-Winter 2009-2010 Catalog (view online or download the PDF). I'm happy and honored to have know José for many years, and I've heard bits and pieces of this book at various conferences, so I know that Komiks will be not only authoritative but interesting as all get-out. Congtratulations on making the cover, José!
Komiks: Comic Art in Russia
José Alaniz

The first study to trace the evolution of Russian comics
from Soviet bête noire to post-Perestroika art form

José Alaniz explores the problematic publication history of komiks -- an art form much-maligned as "bourgeois" mass diversion before, during, and after the collapse of the USSR -- with an emphasis on the last twenty years. Using archival research, interviews with major artists and publishers, and close readings of several works, Komiks: Comic Art in Russia provides heretofore unavailable access to the country’s rich—but unknown—comics heritage. The study examines the dizzying experimental comics of the late Czarist and early revolutionary era, caricature from the satirical journal Krokodil, and the postwar series Petia Ryzhik (the "Russian Tintin"). Detailed case studies include the Perestroika-era KOM studio, the first devoted to comics in the Soviet Union; post-Soviet comics in contemporary art; autobiography and the work of Nikolai Maslov; and women's comics by such artists as Lena Uzhinova, Namida, and Re-I. Alaniz examines such issues as anti-Americanism, censorship, the rise of consumerism, globalization (e.g., in Russian manga), the impact of the internet, and the hard-won establishment of a comics subculture in Russia.

Komiks have often borne the brunt of ideological change—thriving in summers of relative freedom, freezing in hard winters of official disdain. This volume covers the art form's origins in religious icon-making and book illustration, and later the immensely popular lubok or woodblock print. Alaniz reveals comics' vilification and marginalization under the Communists, the art form's economic struggles, and its eventual internet "migration" in the post-Soviet era. This book shows that Russian comics, as with the people who made them, never had a "normal life."

José Alaniz is associate professor of Slavic languages and literatures and comparative literature at the University of Washington, Seattle. His work has appeared in the International Journal of Comic Art, Comics Journal, Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema, Ulbandus, and other periodicals.
FEBRUARY, 288 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches
21 color and 69 b&w illustrations, bibliography, index
Cloth $38.00, 978-1-60473-366-2

Image credits: Top: UPM's website. Bottom: UPM's Fall-Winter 2009-2010 Catalog.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

University Press of Mississippi: Website Super Sale (ends July 15, 2009)

University Press of Mississippi, which has published more books about comics than any other academic publisher in the USA, currently is running a large sale for web-only purchases. Not every title is on sale, but a goodly number are, at 20% to 85% Off. The sale ends July 15th.

Luckily for comics scholars, UP Miss provides a breakdown of sale titles by subject. So click here for their list of discounted books on comic art.

Also: Check out UP Miss's blog. (But no tags?!? I will speak to them about this. srsly.)

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Publication: Conversations with Art Spiegelman

In 2002 I was invited to interview Art Spiegelman at the International Comic Arts Festival; the event was co-sponsored by the Small Press Expo. I admit to being a bit nervous at the time: It was the first time I'd interviewed anyone, let alone someone I'd written about in my dissertation. Doing so in front of a large crowd didn't help, either. But Spiegelman certainly did; he's not just a ready speaker, but very articulate about his (and others') work.

I made sure to record the interview (thanks for the help, Mark Nevins!), which was fortunate. Joseph Witek, author of Comic Books as History, later contacted me about including a transcript of the interview in his upcoming volume for the University Press of Mississippi entitled Art Spiegelman: Conversations.
The book was published earlier this year, and it's quite an impressive volume. It'll prove to be a valuable book to scholars, of course. But Spiegelman's gift for analysis (and of gab!) makes the book a great read for anyone interested in comics as an art form. It's a worthy addition to UPM's essential Conversations with Comics Artists Series. (Naturally, I'd say all of this even if I hadn't contributed to it.)

Click here for ComicsResearch.org's listing for
Art Spiegelman: Conversations.

Image: Photo from The Comics Journal's coverage of ICAF/SPX. Although I had written for TCJ for many years, the caption-writer obviously felt that given the choice between identifying me or Spiegelman's cigarette, the smoke was the more well-known participant.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

UP Mississippi Books on Sale

Attention bargain shoppers: The University Press of Mississippi is running a huge sale, with discounts from 40% to 85%. The sale pertains only to selected on-line book purchases, and it ends November 15, 2007.

Click here for the entire list of sale titles. While the list reflects UPM's broad range of publishing interests, ComicsResearch.org readers will be interested especially in these titles:
Update (10/15/2007): UPM has long been an enthusiastic supporter of comics scholarship, and we're happy to spotlight their sale. Be sure to check it out! And while you're there, check out their entire list of comics-related books.

Also: You might not be aware that UPM now uses print-on-demand to bring back out-of-print titles. So while they're not part of this sale, you now can stock your library with any of the older and essential titles you might have missed, like M. Thomas Inge's Comics as Culture, Joseph Witek's Comic Books as History, Amy Nyberg's Seal of Approval, and many more.

PS: Don't forget that we include expanded information on nearly all of these books at

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