CfP: Sexual Violence in Comics

Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics
Special Issue
Guest Editors: Rebecca Scherr (University of Oslo) and Mihaela Precup (University of Bucharest)
Stichtag: 01.09.2016

This special issue of the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics explores the representation of sexual violence in any form of the medium of comics. The visual representation of sexual violence tests the limits of what can be shown in different contemporary cultural spaces, but it also provides a good testing ground for what the medium of comics can do to contribute to the wider conversation about the ethics and aesthetics of the rendition of difficult subjects. Important contributions to this topic have already been made by cartoonists working in many different areas of the medium, and who speak from a variety of cultural backgrounds, from the autobiographical work of authors like Debbie Drechsler (Daddy’s Girl), Phoebe Gloeckner (A Child’s Life and Other Stories), and Katie Green (Lighter Than My Shadow), to graphic reportage (Joe Sacco’s Safe Area Gorazde), historical graphic narratives (Paolo Cossi’s Medz Yeghern. Le Grande Mal), fantasy (Saga, Sex Criminals), historical fiction (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Manifest Destiny), as well as in many other examples from both alternative and superhero comics. This list is by no means exhaustive: there are many other graphic narratives where sexual violence is not a minor plot point, but an important part of the narrative which positions it at the intersection of current conversations on violence, gender and sexuality, as well as trauma and memory.

Papers can address (but are not limited to) the following topics:

  • The limitations/taboos of the visual representation of sexual violence
  • Aesthetic modes of the representation of sexual violence
  • Representations of post-traumatic memory in the wake of sexual violence
  • The ethics of retribution/revenge
  • Power, vulnerability, and sexual violence
  • The visual construction of the interaction of violent and violated bodies
  • Sexual violence and mental illness
  • Sexual violence during war/genocide
  • The gendered nature of various acts of sexual violence

You can submit abstracts of 150 words, with a 50-word biography, by 1 September 2016; articles of 5000-7000 words will be due by 15 November 2016. This special issue of the JGNC will come out in the summer of 2017.

Please submit your abstracts and/or questions to both editors at and

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