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Monitor: New Publications on Comic Books



Joachim Kalka
100 pages
ISBN 978-3-15-020448-1 (Paperback)
~€ 10,00
September 2017

Publisher’s page
Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus mit seiner Decke, Schroeder am Klavier und natürlich der Tagträumer Snoopy: Was fasziniert uns eigentlich so an diesen Kindern (und dem Hund) mit ihren Spielen und Ritualen, die doch im Grunde nichts Besonderes erleben? Joachim Kalka zieht die Schmusedecke weg von diesem daily strip, einem der bedeutendsten der Nachkriegs-USA. Er zeigt, welche Strömungen der amerikanischen Gesellschaft, etwa der Hype der Psychiatrie, wie Literatur, Filme und Mode sich in den Peanuts spiegeln, und inwieweit ihr Autor, Charles M. Schulz, sich in seinem Comic selbst verewigt hat.

Text + Kritik Sonderband:  Graphic Novels

Text + Kritik Sonderband: Graphic Novels

Andreas C. Knigge (ed.)
edition text+kritik
330 pages
ISBN 978-3-86916-615-5 (Paperback)
~€ 39,00
October 2017

Publisher’s page
Als “Graphic Novel” hat der Comic das Interesse der Feuilletons gefunden – doch was meint der Begriff? Ist er ein Marketing-Label oder handelt es sich um eine neue literarische Gattung? Lange galt der Comic als trivialer Bestandteil der Jugendkultur – und er war es in der Regel auch, da durch Jugendschutzgesetze jeder Möglichkeit erzählerischer und künstlerischer Entwicklung beraubt. In den 1960er Jahren, im Klima des Summer of Love, der Pop-Art und der Nouvelle Vague, wurde er neu entdeckt. In mehreren Werkporträts verfolgt der Band die unterschiedlichen Ansätze und Motivationen von Künstlern wie Will Eisner, Hugo Pratt, Robert Crumb oder Jacques Tardi, den Comic als eine grafische Literatur zu begreifen und zu nutzen. Weitere Beiträge widmen sich u. a. den Zeichnern und Autoren im deutschen Sprachraum, der Poetik autobiografischer “Graphic Novels”, Superhelden im Zwiespalt, Fundamentalismus und Blasphemie, Erzählformen des Mangas sowie den Bildromanen Frans Masereels. Nach dem Sonderband “Comics, Mangas, Graphic Novels” (edition text + kritik, 2009) erscheint nun das zweite, erweiterte und überarbeitete Heft mit Ergänzungen durch neue, die jüngsten Entwicklungen analysierende Beiträge.

Superman in Myth and Folklore

Superman in Myth and Folklore

Daniel Peretti
university Press of Mississippi
208 pages
ISBN 978-1-4968-1458-6 (Hardcover)
~$ 65,00
October 2017

Publisher’s page
Superman rose from popular culture –comic books, newspaper strips, radio, television, novels, and movies– but people have so embraced the character that he has now become part of folklore. This transition from popular to folk culture signals the importance of Superman to fans and to a larger American populace. Superman’s story has become a myth dramatizing identity, morality, and politics. Through examinations of tattoos, humor, costuming, and festivals, Peretti portrays Superman as a corporate-owned intellectual property and a model for behavior, a means for expression and performance of individual identity, and the focal point for disparate members of fan communities. As fans apply Superman stories to their lives, they elevate him to a mythical status. Peretti focuses on the way these fans have internalized various aspects of the character. In doing so, he delves into the meaning of Superman and his place in American culture and demonstrates the character’s staying power.

Ethics in the Gutter

Ethics in the Gutter:
Empathy and Historical Fiction in Comics

Kate Polak
Ohio State University Press
272 pages
ISBN 978-0-8142-5445-5 (Paperback)
~$ 29,95
October 2017

Publisher’s page
Ethics in the Gutter: Empathy and Historical Fiction in Comics explores an often-overlooked genre of graphic narratives: those that fictionalize historical realities. While autographics, particularly those that place the memoirist in the context of larger cultural conversations, have been the objects of sustained study, fictional graphic narratives that—as Linda Hutcheon has put it—both “enshrine and question” history are also an important area of study. By bringing narratology and psychological theory to bear on a range of graphic narratives, Kate Polak seeks to question how the form utilizes point of view and the gutter as ethical tools that shape the reader’s empathetic reactions to the content. This book’s most important questions surround how we receive and interpret representations of history, considering the ways in which what we think we know about historical atrocities can be at odds with the convoluted circumstances surrounding violence. Beginning with a new look at Watchmen, and including examinations of such popular series as Scalped and Hellblazer as well as Bayou and Deogratias, the book questions how graphic narratives create an alternative route by which to understand large-scale violence. Ethics in the Gutter explores how graphic narrative representations of violence can teach readers about the possibilities and limitations of empathy and ethics.

Arrow and Superhero Television

Arrow and Superhero Television:
Essays on Themes and Characters of the Series

James F. Iaccino, Cory Barker, and Myc Wiatrowski (eds.)
243 pages
ISBN 978-0-7864-9787-4 (Paperback)
~$ 19,99
November 2017

Publisher’s page
This collection of new essays focuses on The CW network’s hit television series Arrow—based on DC Comic’s Green Arrow—and its spin-offs The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl. Comic book adaptations have been big business for film studios since Superman (1978) and in recent years have dominated at the box office—five of the 11 highest grossing films of 2016 were adapted from comics. Superheroes have battled across the small screen for considerably longer, beginning with The Adventures of Superman (1952–1958), though with mixed results. The contributors explore the reasons behind Arrow’s success, its representation of bodies, its portrayal of women, its shifting political ideologies, and audience reception and influence on storylines.

The Canadian Alternative

The Canadian Alternative:
Cartoonists, Comics, and Graphic Novels

Dominick Grace and Eric Hoffman (eds.)
University Press of Mississippi
304 pages
ISBN 978-1-4968-1511-8 (Hardcover)
~$ 65,00
November 2017

Publisher’s page
This overview of the history of Canadian comics explores acclaimed as well as unfamiliar artists. Contributors look at the myriad ways that English-language, Francophone, indigenous, and queer Canadian comics and cartoonists pose alternatives to American comics, to dominant perceptions, even to gender and racial categories. In contrast to the United States’ melting pot, Canada has been understood to comprise a social, cultural, and ethnic mosaic, with distinct cultural variation as part of its identity. This volume reveals differences that often reflect in highly regional and localized comics such as Paul MacKinnon’s Cape Breton-specific Old Trout Funnies, Michel Rabagliati’s Montreal-based Paul comics, and Kurt Martell and Christopher Merkley’s Thunder Bay-specific zombie apocalypse. The collection also considers some of the conventionally “alternative” cartoonists, namely Seth, Dave Sim, and Chester Brown. It offers alternate views of the diverse and engaging work of two very different Canadian cartoonists who bring their own alternatives into play: Jeff Lemire in his bridging of Canadian/ US and mainstream/alternative sensibilities and Nina Bunjevac in her own blending of realism and fantasy as well as of insider/ outsider status. Despite an upsurge in research on Canadian comics, there is still remarkably little written about most major and all minor Canadian cartoonists. This volume provides insight into some of the lesser-known Canadian alternatives still awaiting full exploration.

CFP COMFOR-Conference 2018: “Spaces Between – Gender, Diversity and Identity in Comics”

2018 09 17 - 2018 09 19

Deadline: 1st of April, 2018
Spaces Between – Gender, Diversity and Identity in Comics

13th Annual Conference of the German Society for Comics Studies (ComFor), University of Cologne, 17/09/2018 – 19/09/2018

Illustration: Aisha Franz 2018

For decades, comics have been perceived as a mass phenomenon situated in popular culture, which manifests, establishes and perpetuates stereotypical (gender)  representations. Hence, the image of a particularly helpless, passive, but all the more attractive female victim is at home in the repertoire of the medium no less than the representation of a radiant, muscular, white, heterosexual hero, whose first duty consists of protecting the world and its inhabitants from catastrophe. In this sense, comics might seem alike to other forms of mass media in the age of mechanical reproduction and their tendency towards generalisations and clichés. From a historical perspective, reactions to the worldwide anti-comics campaigns of the 1950s, including self-censorship among numerous comic book publishers, also exemplarily point to heteronormative and xenophobic tendencies within mass media comics culture, which was in turn long reflected in the demographics of its readership. However, as a popular and oftentimes marginalised medium, comics never completely became one with this role of a (reactionary) stabilising force. Rather, comics are imbued with a socio-political dimension that has always encouraged comics artists to use the spaces between in a creative way,  and to question and subvert (social) norms.

Comics are both visual and sequential art: they constitute a visual medium that is defined by  the sequence of its static images as well as by the spaces between the panels. Hence, the succession of sequential images in comics is by no means seamless. Rather, the conglomeration of (blank) spaces interconnects and separates them at the same time. These ‚spaces between’ might be used or construed as a reference to a realm of the ‚unshown’, wherein notions of a final, self-contained truth  are renounced and alternative worldviews that challenge the social status quo are enhanced. At the same time, the theme of the planned conference on ‚spaces between’ refers to the hybridity and ambiguity of the art form that combines picture and text: As an ‘inter-medium’, comics constitute a transgressive form which resists common classifications and mechanisms of exclusion based on hierarchical and hegemonic structures. In this respect, comics have the potential to destabilise and blur binary oppositions such as subject/object, nature/culture, man/woman, authentic/artificial, good/bad, normal/abnormal or black/white that are usually perceived as ‘natural’ and ‘given’. In certain circumstances, the medium thus has the potential to break up rigid dichotomies, and to open up spaces for the representation of ‘shades between’ – of fractions, differences and diversity.

The 13th annual conference of the German Society for Comics Studies will examine this productive potential of comics by uncovering and analysing different forms of the ‘spaces between’ within the art form itself, but also within its production and its audience. The internationally and inderdisciplinarily assembled  talks will focus on the question how gender, identity and diversity are represented and negotiated in sequential art. The conference topic Spaces Between – Gender, Diversity and Identity in Comics will draw our attention to the nexus between the medium of comics and categories of difference and identity such as gender, dis/ability, age, and ethnicity, in order to open and deepen an interdisciplinary conversation between comics studies and intersectional identity studies within the international comics studies community. In this respect, the 13th annual conference of the German Society for Comics Studies will not only contribute to the disclosure of exclusions, power structures and (hetero-)normative allocations in comics, but will also critically analyse their socio-political and communicative forms of (re-)production.

Potential topics for contributions may include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • constructions of gender in comics
  • the interplay of gender and genre in comics
  • conceptions of identity and their (de-)construction in comics
  • intersectionality and comics
  • the (re-)production and constitution of difference and power structures in comics
  • manifestations of heteronormative structures and allocations in comics
  • mechanisms of hegemonic exclusion(s) in comics
  • queerness and comics
  • historic dimensions of identities in comics
  • diversity and normalisation processes in comics
  • race, class and ethnic stereotypes in comics
  • comics and postcolonial studies
  • body images in comics
  • representations of dis/ability in comics
  • the interrelation of comics, health and corporeality in the realm of graphic medicine
  • economies of difference: gender, identity and diversity on the (international) comics market
  • spaces between, centres and peripheries: transnationality and diversity in comics culture
Open Workshop:

Beyond the discussion of each year’s special topic, the German Society for Comics Studies aims to further co-operation and dialogue in all areas of comics research. The 13th Annual Conference in Cologne will therefore continue an open workshop format that allows researchers to present and gather feedback on on-going projects within comics studies in all stages of development, and without any thematic restrictions – not limited to the conference topic. The invitation stands for colleagues in all phases of academic careers to discuss any projects on which they are currently working.

Submissions and contact:

Please address your abstracts of roughly 300 words plus a short biography (as a word and pdf file) no later than April 1st 2018 to:

Contributions to the conference will be accepted in English or German and should not exceed 20 minutes. The presentations in the open workshop are limited to 15 minutes.

We plan to publish selected contributions in an edited volume.

Participants are not required to be members of the German Society for Comics Studies. Contributions from non-members welcome!

Conference organizers:

Véronique Sina (University of Cologne, Department of Media Culture and Theatre)
Nina Heindl (University of Cologne, Department of Art History)
Christine Gundermann (University of Cologne, Department of History)

Winter School Tuebingen: “De/Recontextualizing Characters”

2018 02 27 - 2018 03 02

A Tuebingen University Winter School, organized by Lukas R.A. Wilde, brings together eleven international keynote speakers and ten junior researchers to discuss

“De/Recontextualizing Characters: Media Convergence and Pre-/Meta-Narrative Character Circulation”

Topics concerning comics and manga are especially prominent within the 4day-program, likely due to the high number of ComFor participants: Jaqueline Berndt (Stockholm), Jan-Niklas Meier (Bielefeld), Christina Meyer (Osnarbrück), Stephan Packard (Cologne), Johannes Schmid (Hamburg), Jan-Noël Thon (Nottingham), Jeff Thoss (Berlin), and Vanessa Ossa (Tübingen) .

The conference takes place in the Turmzimmer of Castle Hohentuebingen. Due to limitations regarding the number of participants we would kindly ask you to register your participation at contextualizingcharacters (ät)
The conference is supported by the Institutional Strategy of the University of Tübingen (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, ZUK 63).

Continue to the full Program (Pdf)
Continue to organizer’s page

Continue to the organizer’s announcement