CFP: Experiences of the Self in Comics

Nuevas Poligrafías. Revista de Teoría Literaria y Literatura Comparada
Guest editors: Áurea Esquivel Flores y Alfredo Guzmán Tinajero
Stichtag: 15.08.2022

Since its origins, comics and their different traditions (historietas, bande dessinée, manga, etc.) have explored the territories of the self. Their authors have represented themselves in search of their own being and as a way of (re)constructing their images in the world. Since the seventies, representations of the self in comic narratives have been a prevailing resource along with others such as costumbrismo, satire, or the documentary, resources that broke with dominant narratives. This gesture towards the personal was one of the factors that favored the cultural recognition of the medium as well as its legitimation within academic reflection. The subsequent invention of the concept of the graphic novel, in addition to its editorial expansion, made it possible to delve into the experiences of the intimate, producing a plethoric creative phenomenon of innumerable and complex stories centered on sentimental, embarrassing, or painful events, which on many occasions pose particular approaches to the self, to the authorial, to the collective and to self-representation.

A widely recognized turning point of this phenomenon was Maus (1991) by Art Spiegelman, who, drawing on authors such as Justin Green, Robert Crumb, Will Eisner, or Harvey Peekar, took advantage of the ways in which the medium allows exploring the self and its relationships with memory, tradition, and pain. Another key moment in the long history of the experiences of the self in comics occurs at the turn of the millennium with the publication of two works that consolidated the paths of self-representation and emphasized the indispensable gaze of women in it: Persepolis (2000) by Marje Satrapi and Fun Home (2006) by Alison Bechdel. In these works, in which a gaze marked by the authors of Wimmen’s Comix or Ah Nana! is recognizable, it becomes clear that everyday life, identity, and growth are territories of expression and struggle in an environment apparently dominated by the heteronormative, the adventure and the puerile.

Along with this creative phenomenon, studies of the self in comics have prospered recently —above all, they have been codified and studied from the theoretical framework of the autobiography (Chaney, 2006; Chute, 2010; El Refaie, 2012; Kunka 2017)—. However, the authors have resorted to other ways of narrating themselves, such as autofiction, filiation narratives, documentaries, autobiographical fiction, graphic medicine or non-narrative comics.

In this way, the comics of the self seem not only to tell the life of their authors retrospectively, but also to address multiple and complex ways of (re)elaborating their history, their emotions, and their corporality. They explore fictions caused by desires and the fantastic, figurations of the self (Pozuelo, 2010), authorial postures (Meizoz, 2007), or dissident corporalities and sexualities. These approaches to the experiences of the self suggest fruitful avenues of observation and study.

Considering the above, for the seventh issue of Nuevas Poligrafías. Revista de Teoría Literaria y Literatura Comparada, we call specialists in the areas of literature, arts, and humanities in general to submit unpublished and original articles that address the different experiences of the self in comics, in addition to representations of the body, trauma, violence, and gender. We are interested in receiving contributions that address the visual, narrative, and aesthetic frameworks that the medium allows around these issues. Some possible approaches are:

Narratives of the self: autobiography, autofiction, stories of affiliation, etc.

  • Authorial postures and configuration of the authorial figure
  • Representations of the body
  • Gender and narratives of the self
  • Trauma, violence, and memory
  • The self in the documentary comic
  • Graphic medicine
  • The self in children’s and youth comic books
  • Comics of the self and their intermedial adaptations
  • Other approaches to comics

Even though in this issue we will privilege papers that revolve around the experiences of the self in comics, we will continue to receive papers concerning our usual topics—that is, studies of literary theory and literature in different languages, genre, visual images, themes and historical treatment, translation, popular culture, postcolonial studies, as well as intermedial and transmedial approaches. We will also receive book reviews and notes related to comparative literature and literary theory.

The length of the articles must be between 5000 and 7000 words, including notes and bibliographical references. The length of the reviews must be between 1000 and 1500 words. All contributions must adhere to the general requirements and editorial guidelines established by the journal, and they should be submitted through the editorial manager of this website. The deadline for papers to be included in this number is August 15th, 2022. The publication of number 7 of Nuevas Poligrafías. Revista de Teoría Literaria y Literatura Comparada is scheduled for February 2023.

More information 

Alfredo Guzmán Tinajero
(+52) 5539047465