Monday, November 02, 2009

CFP: Coded: Comics and Containment Culture in the 1950s (collection; April 1, 2010)

Call for Papers
Comics and Containment Culture
in the 1950s

We have just received a contract from McFarland to compile a multi-contributor manuscript on comic books and containment culture in the 1950s. In no other era of United States history were American values and morals more rigidly defined or more heavily policed than in the 1950s. In the comic book industry, the debate over the impact of comics on youth and the resulting self-imposed censorship of the industry reflect the general trends of the era. This book approaches this era in American comics by looking at comic book narratives and images, and unpacking the meaning stored within. We are interested in the many and varied ways in which containment culture is both reflected and subverted in the pages of comic books.

These essays should devote themselves to the close reading of American comic books from the 1950s. In focusing on this decade we are purposefully drawing on both the pre and post comic code era, from the late Golden Age to the early Silver Age of comics. As the title of the book suggests, the purpose of these narrative and visual analyses will be to locate a given text within the larger containment culture of the 1950s, not only in terms of how these images reflect the larger culture, but also how certain images and narratives subvert the dominant ideology of the time.

Since containment as both a foreign and domestic policy permeated every aspect of American culture in the 1950s, the focus of individual papers is wide open, from the portrayal of gender roles to anxiety over nuclear proliferation, and from commercial consumption to communist infiltration. Our goal is to present as broad a picture of comics in the fifties as possible, so we want to include essays on a wide range of subjects in terms of genre, theme, and publisher.

Essay Format/Style:
Essays are to be 3000-4500 words long (typed and double-spaced) and should be written in clear, concrete terms, avoiding jargon whenever possible. We do want to encourage contributors to use images in their submissions. Because of the reluctance of some publishers to release their images for scholastic purposes, however, there will also be a need to limit those images. As a general guideline, contributors will need to avoid using comic book covers and use no more than 2-3 images in their submission.

Anyone interested in contributing an essay should contact the editor with a brief proposal (1-2 paragraphs) and a short description of their professional, educational, and publishing background no later than April 1, 2010. Invited essays will be due as e-mail attachments no later than August 15, 2010. Further information will be sent later to those who are invited to submit essays.

If you have any questions, you should not hesitate to contact us at the addresses below:
Chris York, Chair, General Education, Pine Technical College.

Rafe York, Saint Cloud State University,

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Press Release: Erotic Comics: A Graphic History (Volume 2) - From The 1970s to the Present Day

Shameless Self-Promotion Dep't: Here's a press release for the latest book I assisted on. It's pretty self-explanatory...
Erotic Comics: A Graphic History (Volume 2)
From The 1970s to the Present Day

By Tim Pilcher
(Foreword by Alan Moore)

Picking up from where the international best-selling Erotic Comics: A Graphic History (Volume 1) left off, Volume 2 reveals how European, American and Asian artists have explored the possibility of the form in the years since the explosion of the Sixties' underground comix.

Erotic Comics: A Graphic History - Volume 2 examines how the form has become an international publishing phenomenon by showcasing artwork that has inflamed desires, incensed censors, and caused controversy.

This provocative title covers everything: the erotic comics explosion in America in the mid-’80s; the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender comics scene; UK and European erotic comic creators since the '70s; and the Japanese hentai phenomenon. The future of erotic comics online is also explored in this fascinating and surprising volume.

In the first survey of its kind in over 20 years, Erotic Comics: A Graphic History (Volume 2) completes this fascinating two-part chronicle with previously unpublished, rare and out-of-print material, featuring insights from key artists, editors, and publishers. Fully illustrated with stunning, rare, and seldom-seen art by Howard Cruse, Gengoroh Tagame, Melinda Gebbie, Hunt Emerson, Howard Chaykin, Giovanna Casotto (whose work graces the cover), Tom of Finland, Milo Manara, Junko Mizuno, and many other top erotic cartoonists. The informative text provides a sexy, intriguing, and entertaining tour through the origins of an often-overlooked art form and comic book genre.

The book is written by Tim Pilcher, with additional research by Gene Kannenberg, Jr, and a witty and insightful foreword by Alan Moore.

What the press have said about Volume 1:
"Clearly, this very tasty-looking coffee-table book has been lovingly put together by a devotee of adult comic art... This reviewer is eagerly anticipating Volume 2... A mighty impressive package all round." - Desire magazine

"Tim Pilcher knows a thing or three about comics... the quality of this latest offering was never really in any doubt... Pilcher's book does not disappoint.… (His) extremely readable copy puts artists and sub-genres into context with a confidence borne of depth of knowledge. This is enthusiast writing at its tightest and best, and your reward for reading the words that run around the pictures will be to discover all kinds of fascinating stuff you never knew about your favourite artists... " -

"...Well written, well researched, and a well considered fun read, with a lightness of touch that had a really neat educational tone." - John Higgins, comic artist and
Watchmen colourist.

"...More than just a visual history, the book reads like a labor of love; images from pre-Depression nudie comics to modern-day Mexican
sensacionales are presented along with insightful essays that make the book perfectly suitable for a coffee-table centerpiece..." - Complex Magazine: The Original Buyer's Guide for Men

"Tim Pilcher's titillating new title… certainly covers the territory." -

"Sexy? Yes. Erotic? Yes. Prurient? Well, yes. And your point? We're all adults here, and this reading material is a delight. It's art, I tell ya, it's art!" - Martin Zimmerman,
About the Author:
Tim Pilcher has worked in and around the comics industry for over twenty years as a writer and editor. He is the author of Erotic Comics: A Graphic History (Volume 1), co-author of The Essential Guide to World Comics and The Complete Cartooning Course, and has contributed to numerous other publications including, Comix: The Underground Revolution, 500 Comicbook Action Heroes, The Slings and Arrows Comic Guide (1st Edition), 500 Essential Graphic Novels and the forthcoming War Comics: A Graphic History. He co-founded Les Cartoonistes Dangereux, a comic-book publishing house that released a range of original graphic novels, including the critically acclaimed White Death by Robbie Morrison and Charlie Adlard. He has worked as assistant editor at DC Comics; Vertigo imprint, and served as associate editor at Comics International, the UK's only comic book industry trade paper. He lives in Brighton, England.

Gene Kannenberg, Jr., is a respected historian of comics and the director of, a centralized directory of comics scholarship that focuses on book-length works and monographs about comic books and strips. He is the author of 500 Essential Graphic Novels. He lives in Albany, New York.

Alan Moore is the world's most famous comic book writer and the author of seminal classics such as Watchmen, V for Vendetta, From Hell and the erotic comic masterpiece Lost Girls. He lives in Northampton, England.

Tim Pilcher is available for interviews, articles and general feedback. You can contact him on:, and on +44 (0)7986 995 938. His blog, Sex, Drugs and Comic Books, is at:

[Stateside inquirers, please feel free also to contact Gene Kannenberg, Jr.]

If you would like to reproduce any images, or require a review copy of either book, please drop Tim a line stating what publication the review is for, and when it will appear.

Tim Pilcher will chairing an Erotic Comics Panel at the ICA in London on Sunday 23 November '08 at 4pm, along with artists Erich Von Gotha, Lynn Paula Russell, Garry Leach and Oh, Wicked Wanda! creator and writer Frederick Mullally.

Tim Pilcher will also be attending the 36th Festival International de la Bande Dessinée in Angoulême, France (29 Jan.–1 Feb. ’09) and the New York Comic Con (6-8 Feb. ’09).

Erotic Comics: A Graphic History (Volume 2) is published by Ilex Press in the UK on 8 January 2009 and by Abrams ComicArts in the USA, on 1 March 2009 (192pp Hardcover £20/$29.95)

Erotic Comics: A Graphic History (Volume 1) is published by Ilex Press in the UK, and Abrams in the USA, and is available now (192pp Hardcover £20/$29.95)


Erotic Comics: A Graphic History (Volume 1) has just been banned by Australian customs from entering the country. Customs have demanded that a special large sticker with an "M" on it MUST be placed on the cover -- indicating that the book is for "Mature Readers" -- otherwise the books will be prevented from being sold in Australia. Tim Pilcher said, "I find it ludicrous and risible that the Australian authorities need a big sticker to point out the book is for 'adults only'. Surely the word 'Erotic' in the title gives it away? Perhaps they got confused with the word 'Comics' and couldn't believe that adults read sequential literature!"

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Book Review Publication: "The Ten-Cent Plague"

"The Not-So-Untold Story of the Great Comic-Book Scare,"
my review essay of David Hajdu's recent book The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America, has been published in the May 23rd, 2008 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education (specifically, in The Chronicle Review, "The Magazine of Ideas"). Unfortunately, you can only read the article if you or your academic institution subscribe to the CHE. Once a sufficient length of time passes, though, I'll be able to post the full text - or a much longer version - here.

It was an honor for this independent scholar (i.e., me) to be invited to contribute to the Chronicle. I've now officially added my voice to Plague's incredibly large chorus of reviewers. Be sure to check out our
Ten-Cent Plague information page for more information about the book and its reception.

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Monday, March 31, 2008

Update Spotlight: David Hajdu's The Ten-Cent Plague

For the life of me, I can't recall another recent book about comics which has received as many reviews as David Hajdu's new history The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008). It re-tells the story of the controversy surrounding comic books in America and how it grew into the 1950s, when - spurred on in part by Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent - Congressional hearings were held concerning the possible contribution of comic books to juvenile delinquency.

The story it tells is well-known (if not always well-understood) by most comics scholars and aficionados of American comic books. However, it seems that the general public - or at least most book reviewers - don't remember much about it at all, if the content of many of the book's reviews is any indication.

Given the book's high media profile, we've decided to collect links to all of the reviews we can find, as soon as they appear. You can find the results at our bibliography page for The Ten-Cent Plague.

We'll post our own review shortly. But in the meantime, if you run across any reviews of the book, either in print or online, that we haven't listed, please let us know and we'll add them. Thanks!

P.S.: We're aided in large part here by the comics research bibliography's Mike Rhode, who also runs the blog ComicsDC (it's about comics in the Washington, DC area, not the comic book publisher of a similar name. And Tom Spurgeon of the Comics Reporter blog has let folks know about our project, too. Thanks, guys!

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Cartoon International Meeting [RIDEP] January 18-20, 2008 (Carquefou, France)

Posted by the courtesy of press agent Caroline Violot. This looks to be a wide-ranging and important event; readers in France are encouraged to attend!
9èmes Rencontres Internationales du Dessin de Presse (RIDEP)
Carquefou (44) les 18-19-20 janvier 2008

THE CARTOON INTERNATIONAL MEETING will be held in Carquefou (France close to Nantes) from January 18-20. It will feature twenty-five cartoonists, including Chinese cartoonists from Peking and nineteen cartoonists from France. Plantu will appear with his "Cartooning for Peace" exhibit, which was shown in ONU.

The meeting will speak about freedom of press and human rights with guests from Amnesty International, Reporters sans frontières [Reporters without Borders] and of cartoons with the FECO....

Click here for more information.

en français...

La Chine et les dessinateurs chinois à Carquefou
Pour leur 9ème édition les RIDEP prennent les couleurs de la Chine pendant 3 jours sur le site de la Fleuriaye à Carquefou (métropole nantaise).

Une délégation de dessinateurs fera le voyage spécialement de Chine avec Xia Li Chuan, qui a réalisé l'affiche des RIDEP 2008, et ses confrères Fu Hong Ge, Xia Da Chuan, Xu Pengfei, Zhang Yaoning, Zheng Wei Hua...

A travers leurs dessins les plus grands noms du dessin de presse chinois et français (Ricord, Plantu, Mulatier Frap, Dominique Lemarié, Chaunu, Biz, Million, Alex, Alexis, Thieboly,...) permettront à tous de décrypter les médias mais aussi la culture et les codes d'un pays au coeur de l'actualité internationale.

Un pays, un dessin, un message...
Abritant un cinquième de l'humanité, la Chine connaît de profonds bouleversements et un développement économique sans précédent. Mais à quel prix ? Censure, répression, crise écologique, économie sans régulation... les Droits de l'Homme et la liberté d'expression ne s'accordent pas toujours avec les réalités de la Chine d'aujourd'hui. Avec les dessinateurs qui dessineront la Chine et les chinois en toute liberté et en collaboration avec des experts de la Chine et du dessin de presse, nous apporterons un éclairage sur ce pays aux multiples facettes.

En route vers la Chine !
3 jours de rencontres et d'échanges uniques sous le trait de crayon des dessinateurs !

Au programme :
  • Animations : films, jeux chinois, cérémonie du thé, calligraphie

  • des expositions de photos (revue Mad in China par les journalistes et photographes du collectif Tendance Floue, photos du prix Niepce 2007 Bertrand Meunier), l’Exposition Dessins pour la Paix de Plantu, et le tour du monde de l’actualité avec plus de 250 dessins de presse exposés
  • des conférences-débats sur des thématiques actuelles : le métier de dessinateur de presse, les droits humains en Chine, la liberté de la presse et les Jeux Olympiques à Pékin, la Chine à deux vitesses, une Chine verte pour demain ?
En collaboration avec plus de 25 dessinateurs, des journalistes, des photographes, des sinologues, Amnesty International et Reporters Sans Frontières, la FECO (Fédération des Organisations de Dessinateurs), Marianne, la FNAC, le CLEMI...

Contact Presse: Caroline Violot Communication, 06 22 72 17 47, 02 51 800 873, cviolot @

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