American Literature Association
29th Annual Conference
May 24 - 27, 2018
Hyatt Regency, San Francisco
Session One: Underground, Indie, and Alternative Publishing & the Graphic Novel
The comics and graphic narratives circle at the American Literature Association invites papers that draw out the role of underground, independent, and alternative publishing ventures in contemporary graphic novels and art comics.
Works such as Tom Spurgeon’s oral history of indie publisher Fantagraphics, We Told You So: Comics As Art, 2016 and Charles Hatfield’s Alternative Comics (2005) have begun to highlight the crucial role that independent publishing houses and self-publication played in the work of medium-defining cartoonists and graphic novelists like Lynda Barry, Charles Burns, Chris Ware, and Art Spiegelman. But the full history of underground, indie, and alternative publishing in shaping the contemporary “graphic novel” and art comics has yet to be fully articulated.
We thus welcome submissions that explore topics including:
- The print history and legacy of underground comix of the 1960s and 70s, including the formation of voices and collectives, such as the Wimmen’s Comix collective and Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly’s Raw.
- The rise of independent comics publishing during the 1980s and 1990s with the advent of medium-defining publishers such as Fantagraphics Books (1976), Drawn and Quarterly (1990), and even contemporary indie publishers like Koyama Press (2007).
- The role of self-publishing, zine culture, and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) ventures in the larger history of the graphic novel.
Session Two: Drawing While Black
Earlier this year, the campaign #Drawingwhileblack trended and momentarily highlighted the achievements of Black comic artists other artists of color who showcased their work via Twitter. While this provided an important moment of exposure, it might also be considered bittersweet. After all, the very need for this campaign underscores the extent to which contributions by Black artists have been underappreciated in both scholarly and popular forums.
With this in mind, the comics and graphic narratives circle at the American Literature Association invites discussion of the possibilities and challenges for Black comic artists. We welcome submissions that explore:
- The history of Black comic artists ranging from early contributors like Ollie Harrington, Jackie Ormes, and George Herriman to contemporary comic artists like Nilah Magruder, Keith Knight, Taneka Stotts, and others.
- How Black artists have navigated the comics publishing industry and efforts to heighten awareness of their contributions to comics and graphic narratives.
- Comics and graphic narratives that deal with Black and African American experience either in explicit terms like The Boondocks or via implicit allegories as in Krazy Kat, Cloak and Dagger, and Bitch Planet.
- The role of comics and comic fandom in Black and African American culture, more generally.
Please email an abstract (of no more than 350 words) and a brief biographical note to Alex Beringer (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than Jan 26th.