Modern Language Association (MLA) 2017
5–8 January 2017
The medium of comics—often dominated by genres bound to contemporary concerns or enduring conventions—remains marginal in the study of science fiction. Likewise, the oldest questions driving science fiction scholarship—identity and difference, self and other, chance and futurity—have not been central to comics studies. In short, we have rarely asked: how do the central projects of science fiction manifest in comics form?
The Forum on Speculative Fiction and the Forum on Comics and Graphic Narratives therefore invite papers that explore this question. We especially desire proposals focused on the ways difference, otherness and futurity manifest on the comics page. How does the comics medium, a form with close ties to stable technologies of production and to the human body, manifest new visions of other technologies, bodies, times, places and selves?
This panel might cover any works that manifest such alien lines. Papers on comics of all kinds—short stories, open-ended serials and graphic novels, print and digital, newspaper and book-form—are invited, as are papers focused on any era of science fiction, from its earliest beginnings through its postmodern and contemporary phases. We welcome proposals on canonical figures such as Tezuka, Moebius, and the EC creators of the early 1950s, and on contemporary creators such as Vaughan, Lemire, and Kirkman. Potential panelists should also feel free to propose talks on independent works such as Jesse Jacobs’s By This You Shall Know Him, Dash Shaw’s Bodyworld, and Sophie Goldstein’s The Oven, or on mainstream revisions of SF tropes such as McDuffie’s Hardware, DeConnick’s Bitch Planet, and Layman’s Chew. SF manga by Hagio, Otomo, Yukimura, and many other contemporary figures, as well as European comics by creators such as Schuiten and Peeters, Mézières and Christin, Vehlmann and De Bonneval, Bilal, and others will likewise be enthusiastically considered.
250-word abstracts & CV to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 15. Note that this CFP is for a proposed, not guaranteed, session at MLA 2017; the session is contingent on approval by the MLA Program Committee. Responses to individual submissions will be sent out by the beginning of April, and the MLA Program Committee will consider the entire session proposal after that date. All prospective presenters must be MLA members by early April 2016.