CFP: Comics Fandom in Transition

Modern Language Association (MLA)
January 3 - 6, 2019
Stichtag: 15.03.2018

Comics have been involved in a wide variety of “textual transactions” at least since the 1890s origin of the comic strip. Yet comics fandom evolved in the ‘70s and ‘80s as a site of mostly straight, white, adult and male-dominated “textual transactions,” practiced in non-inclusive venues like the comics convention and the comic book store. Alternative spaces for comics fan practices have always existed. But thanks to developments such as the Internet, superhero films, graphic novels, and social justice movements, comics fandom is now undergoing a historic shift as new audiences demand inclusion in historically exclusionary comics fan communities.

This panel seeks papers on comics fan practices and the contemporary evolution thereof. Topics might include:

  • How have comics adaptations in other media (e.g. Black Panther, The Walking Dead) created new audiences?
  • How have fan fiction or fan art (e.g. The Hawkeye Initiative) offered innovative revisions of traditional texts?
  • How do YA comics, manga, webcomics, alternative comics, etc. create their own fan communities?
  • How have new fan spaces like the Internet provided alternatives to, or helped to transform, traditional fan spaces like the comic book store?

250-word abstracts to by March 15, 2018. This CFP is for a proposed, not guaranteed, session at MLA 2019, and 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 later. All prospective presenters must be current MLA members by no later than April 2018.

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