Edited by Julia Round, Kom Kunyosying and Barbara Chamberlin
Horror and comics have a long history that stretches from the earliest woodcuts, scrolls, penny dreadfuls and pulp magazines, to today’s monthly titles, graphic novels, webcomics, and dedicated imprints from both mainstream and small press publishers. Horror comics have dominated at various points in comics history, and reactions to extreme content have shaped the industry. Horror also underpins other comics genres: many of the most famous characters and titles rely on violence or fear of some kind. As a visual medium that relies on reader input, comics storytelling is uniquely positioned to oscillate between terror (through omission) and explicit horror (in drawn panels), while the multimodal language of comics allows stylized art to vividly evoke the sublime and the grotesque and encourages affective responses from audiences.
We invite proposals for chapters for a forthcoming volume. This collection will explore the development of horror within comics and graphic novels, combining close analyses of indicative texts with wider discussions of the development of archetypes, themes, formats, and subgenres. It will be genre-defining and global in scope, and so we particularly encourage submissions that go beyond the UK and US comics industries and/or engage with diverse perspectives and texts. University of Wales Press has expressed interest as part of their Horror Studies series, subject to successful peer review.
Papers may investigate the intersections of comics and horror in historical, thematic, cultural, structural, formalist, or other terms. Suggested themes might include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Histories and development of cultural traditions (e.g. fumetti neri, horror manga, EC New Trend, etc.)
- Discussions of key global developments (e.g. texts, publishers, authors, series, etc.)
- Horror comics and social anxieties (e.g. history, politics, public health, etc.)
- Intersectional analyses (e.g. gender, ethnicity, class, sexuality, religion, dis/abilities, etc.)
- Subgenres of horror in comics (e.g. body horror, psychological horror, eco horror, comedy horror, folk horror, supernatural horror, etc.)
- Horror archetypes (e.g. witches, vampires, zombies, ghosts, etc.)
- Acts of censorship and transgression
- Horror and ethnicity (e.g. horror as metaphor for racial trauma, the horror of being perceived as other, etc.)
- Horror and national / transnational identities (e.g. national vs global, local vs rural, etc.)
- Affect and the comics medium (e.g. the depiction and responses of fear, disgust, outrage, etc.)
- Visual iconography and aesthetics (e.g. the grotesque, artistic style, colour and shading, etc.)
- Comics adaptations of older horror (e.g. myth, legend, folktales, etc.) or contemporary horror (e.g. adaptation from television, film, literature, etc.)
- The presence of horror or its signifiers in other comics genres (e.g. superheroes, graphic medicine, autobiography, etc.)
- Horror readers and audiences (e.g. horror comics and childhood, reader engagement and affect, interactivity, fan cultures, cosplay, etc.)
Please send detailed proposals of 500 words and a 100 word biography to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org with the header ‘Horror Comics Collection’ by 1 September 2021. Informal enquiries may also be sent to the editors at these addresses.
Contributors will be notified of the outcome by 1 November 2021. The deadline for submission of completed draft essays (c.6000 words) will be 1 November 2022.