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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Monday, January 18, 2010

CFP: Arthurian-Themed Comics Collection (1/30/10--1st Stage)

Arthurian-Themed Comics Collection
(1/30/10--1st Stage)

In commemoration of the upcoming 75 anniversary of PRINCE VALIANT, I am seeking brief proposals (apx. 200-500 words) for a collection of essays on comics (comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, web comics, and adaptations into other media) based on or inspired by the Arthurian tradition. The collection will be edited by myself and Jason Tondro.

Please submit proposals to the editors for first-round consideration by 30 January 2010. (A second call for papers will be distributed this spring.)

Michael A Torregrossa
The Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages
34 Second Street
Smithfield, RI 02917-3627
United States
Visit the website at http://Arthur.of.the.Comics.blogspot.com/

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Monday, November 09, 2009

In Our Mailbox - "Graphic Novels Beyond the Basics" and "IJOCA 11.2"

It's a good day here at the ComicsResearch.org offices (okay, office): Today's mail brought two all-new, all-different publications. First up is Graphic Novels Beyond the Basics: Insights and Issues for Libraries, edited by Martha Cornog & Timothy Perper. We'll be adding an info page to our bibliography for this book soon (edit: here it is!), but in the meantime, here's how the publisher's website describes it (handy, because I just walked in the door and haven't had time to begin to read the book yet):
This study of the graphic novel and its growth in the library helps librarians utilize and develop this extraordinarily popular format in their library collections.

One of the few bright spots in 21st century print publishing, graphic novels have moved from their stereotypical fanboy niche to the bestseller list, profoundly influencing movies, television, games, music, design, and fashion along the way. The phenomenon has reached libraries as well, with librarians collecting a variety of graphic novels for patrons of all ages.

What does the surge of popularity in graphic novels mean for libraries? Graphic Novels Beyond the Basics: Insights and Issues for Libraries goes deeper into this subject than any other volume previously published, bringing together a distinguished panel of experts to examine questions librarians may encounter as they work to enhance their graphic novel holdings.

Graphic Novels Beyond the Basics begins by introducing librarians to the world of the graphic novel: popular and critically acclaimed fiction and nonfiction titles; a wide range of genres including Japanese manga and other international favorites; recurring story and character archetypes; and titles created for specific cultural audiences and female readers. The book then offers a series of chapters on key issues librarians will face with graphic novels on the shelves, including processing and retention questions, preservation and retention, collecting related media such as Japanese anime films and video games, potential grounds for patron or parental complaints, the future of graphic novels, and more.
Check out the link above for additional information; we'll update this entry once we have the table of contents on our website. The contents are wide-ranging, covering genres, readers, resources and more, all designed with library collections in mind.

The second publication in today's mail was the International Journal of Comic Art 11.2 (Fall 2009). As always, editor and publisher John Lent has assembled an embarrassment of riches: This issue is more than 500 pages long, begins with a symposium on comics in India, contains almost two dozen additional essays, includes about 70 pages of reviews, and ends with a 14-page international cartoon portfolio. And yes, this is a typical issue.

If your library doesn't already subscribe to IJOCA, do all you can to convince them to. For just $70 per yer, they get three giant-size issues, two traditional issues plus a third, all-bibliography issue - this is a steal compared to almost any other journal. And individual subscriptions are only $45 per year (all three issues). If you're counting along at home, that's about 1,000 pages of content per year, not even including the new bibliography issue (I'm curious to see how massive these volumes will be).

For more information about the International Journal of Comic Art, visit the journal's website and blog.

Happy reading!

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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. yorkc@pinetech.edu

Rafe York, Saint Cloud State University, yora0801@stcloudstate.edu

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Friday, August 28, 2009

CFP: Alan Moore and the Gothic Tradition (edited collection; Sept. 25)

Posted on behalf of Dr. Matt Green.
Call for Abstracts
Edited Collection:
Alan Moore
and the Gothic Tradition

While Alan Moore's work continues to receive acclaim from within the comics industry and in the media more widely, it remains under-represented within academic research. This edited collection will draw together current scholarly investigations of Moore and his collaborators, paying particular attention to the way in which Moore adapts, appropriates and otherwise responds to previous works from the Gothic tradition. Far from a unified or stable legacy, the Gothic is itself characterised by multiplicity and heterogeneity. For this reason, an examination of the particular ways in which Moore responds to this portion of his cultural inheritance can be expected not only to shed light upon particular aspects of the tradition more broadly, but also to yield insight into the interpretative and artistic decisions embedded in his work.

That Moore's work can be situated in relation to this tradition is evident both in the range of Gothic elements (monsters, demons, supernatural powers, plots motivated by questions of violence and oppression) present at the narrative level in his work, and, at a formal level, in the ways in which Moore and his collaborators draw on artistic techniques and forms from a range of Gothic media. The underlying premise of the collection is that Moore, and the artists with whom he works, engage in a process of dialogue with a diverse array of source material. Accordingly, the collection will address two interrelated topics: how an understanding of the Gothic can enhance our understanding of Moore's work and, conversely, the ways in which the ideas and reading practices engendered by Moore's work might impact on a reflexive analysis of one or more of the traditions out of which it emerges.

Though it is anticipated that the majority of papers will concentrate on the comics, the area in which Moore is most prolific and for which he is best known, this should not deter proposals to examine his work in other media (spoken word/audio recordings, prose fiction, etc).

Papers on any aspect of the relationship between Moore and the Gothic are invited, including, but not limited to, the following areas of enquiry:
  • Representations of monstrosity
  • The supernatural and/or superhuman
  • Violence and terror
  • The Sublime
  • Sexuality
  • Gothic technologies
  • Psychology, geography and/or the environment
  • Degeneration
  • Hybridity
  • The double
  • Gothic romanticisms
  • Magic and the occult
  • Trauma
  • Taboo
  • The uncanny
  • Crisis and catastrophe
  • Dystopia
  • Oppression and/or repression
  • The Gothic and sci-fi or detective fiction
Abstracts should be approximately 500 words and should be emailed to Dr. Matt Green (matt.green@nottingham.ac.uk) on or before Friday, September 25, 2009.

Image and credit: Alan Moore avoids confronting his own astral projection at "A Tribute to Robert Anton Wilson" in 2007. Photo by ACB; remix by Gene Kannenberg, Jr.

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