CFP: Storyworlds and Transmedia Universes

Joint International Conference of Graphic Novels and Comics and 20th Anniversary of the International Bande dessinée Society
Manchester Metropolitan University
June 24 - 28, 2019
Stichtag: 01.02.2019

The notion of a storyworld, that is to say a shared universe within which the settings, characters, objects, events, and actions of one or more narrative are present, existed long before the present day media.  Examples include myths and legends of Antiquity, folktales and Arthurian romances.  Today’s storyworlds, described by Mark Wolf (2012) as, “transnarrative, transmedia, and transauthorial in nature” (14), open up fresh opportunities.  Storyworlds have found a fertile terrain in comic strips and graphic novels.  After all, the text/images form provides narratives dedicated to specific characters, times and places; these narratives are often used as source material for adaptations in film, games and broadcast media.   Consequently creators, fans and corporations can interact with other forms beyond comics, thereby developing characters and narratives, as well as exploring new storytelling methods.

The possibilities seem almost infinite. Storyworlds may relate to Marvel’s and DC’s extended universes of the future.  They can be adapted or constructed from half-remembered myths and legends, as in Isabel Greenberg’s Encyclopedia of Early Earth.  Some story worlds (e.g. the manga Barefoot Gen) reveal historical events from individual perspectives.  Others recount alternate histories (e.g. the Gallo-Roman era in Asterix by Goscinny/Uderzo, or the Belle Epoque with Adèle Blanc-Sec by Tardi).  Still others offer parallel worlds (e.g. Clockwatch by Yomi Ayeni, ( which is a collaboratively created storyworld involving fandom), or the ‘Sword and Sorcery’ parody Donjon started by Sfar and Trondheim, which invites contributions from other artists and has given rise to numerous side projects.

This CFP is based on the place of comics and graphic novels in constructing or adapting stories, as well as on techniques for creating story worlds.  This conference will also mark the 20th Anniversary of the first International Bande dessinée meeting in 1999. Reflections on the critical reception of comics and bande dessinées  over the past two decades would be welcome.

We are therefore looking for 20 minute long papers about comics/graphic novels from all over the world, which are themed around, but not limited to, any of the following:

  • Storyworlds in comic strip history
  • Storyworlds and transmedia universe creation/iterations of characters
  • Authorial voices in multiple authored texts
  • Copyright and ownership issues
  • Fandom creators/ creations
  • Comic book serialization of other transmedial universes (eg: Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
  • Alternative histories and parallel universes
  • Reboots and revisions
  • Comics and myth-making
  • How storyworlds are constructed.


Wolf, Mark J. P. (2012) Building Imaginary Worlds: The Theory and History of Subcreation. New York, London: Routledge.

Please send your abstracts (150-200 words) and bios (up to 100 words) to by February 1st, 2019.

For further information please contact: Organising Committee:  Joan Ormrod:;  Matthew Screech:;  David Huxley;  Chris Murray;  Julia Round;  Laurence Grove

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