CfP: Drawing the Line: Comics and Adaptation

Proposed Session at
Modern Language Association (MLA) 2017
5–8 January 2017
Stichtag: 15.03.2016

While comics adaptations have frequently been derided for “dumbing down” great works of literature through adaptation, recent movie adaptations of comics have conquered the box office and brought new attention to the medium. These intriguing developments beg the questions—How might comics be transformed by such adaptations? What is the potential for comics in reworking other forms? Recent books, such as Stephen Tabachnick and Esther Bendit Saltzman’s anthology Drawn from the Classics (2015) and the University of Leicester Conference (2015) on “Comics and Adaptation in the European Context” indicate growing academic interest in issues surrounding comics adaptations. This roundtable seeks to extend this scholarly conversation, exploring intersections between Comics and Adaptation Studies. Papers with an international or global focus are particularly welcome.

Relevant questions include:

  • What are the affordances particular to comics? In what way do these translate (or not) into other forms?
  • How have comics been remediated?
  • In what ways have digital and multimodal technologies changed the reading (and writing) of comics?
  • How can theory illuminate our understanding of comics adaptations?
  • What examples shed light on the successes and failures of adaptation?
  • How have various plots been adapted into different comics? How have text-based narratives been translated into image/texts? And from comics into other forms? What is lost and what is gained in these retellings?

Please send 250-word abstracts to Susan Kirtley ( by March 15. Acceptances will be announced by early April.

Please note: This CFP is for a proposed, not guaranteed, session at MLA 2017, which means that the session is contingent on approval by the MLA Program Committee. Responses to individual submissions will be sent out by the beginning of April, but the MLA Program Committee will not consider the entire session proposal until after that date. All prospective presenters must be current MLA members by no later than April 2016.

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