Editors: Nicoletta Mandolini (CECS, Universidade do Minho, Portugal), Cristina Álvares (CEHUM, Universidade do Minho, Portugal) e María Márquez López (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Spain)
Comics and graphic novels — or graphic narratives, as some prefer to call them — are a growingly successful medium worldwide, both in popularity and critical recognition. In recent years, since the emergence and spreading of the graphic novel format with which the renaissance of comics’ popularity coincided, representations of gender-related issues and visibility assigned to gender non-hegemonic authors increased significantly. That is demonstrated by the appearance of numerous and outstanding female and queer artists experimenting with the graphic novel and by a new wave of feminist serial comics emblematised by the editorial work carried out by, among others, Image Comics. The old reputation of comics as a medium where sexism is widespread and gendered discrimination is normalised is slowly abandoning the ninth art, and even comics mainstream giants are making an evident effort towards gender equality, often coupling this with a corresponding attempt to promote other types of inclusivity aimed at avoiding racial, classist and ableist representations. However, much still needs to be done about the circulation of comics-based representations authored by gender non-hegemonic subjects and looking at gender issues through a feminist lens. In fact, sociopolitical resistances even lead to censorship in the 21st century: a recent case is Maia Kobabe with her autobiographical graphic novel Gender Queer, one of the targets of the unprecedented wave of schoolbook bans taking place in the United States. When it comes to geo-cultural contexts where feminist and queer authors exist but struggle to gain critical recognition, given the strong heteropatriarchal imprinting and structures of the societies from which their artistic works stem, the dissemination and impact of feminist, queer and non-heteropatriarchal comics are even more problematic.
The thematic section Wonder Comics. Redrawing Gender in Ibero-American Graphic Narratives aims to investigate the role of gender in the production, consumption and circulation of graphic narratives created in the Ibero-American context, a vast and heterogeneous container of cultural spaces linked by common historical, linguistic and political traits. In Ibero-American countries (Spain, Portugal and Latin America), comics (otherwise called historietas, quadrinhos or banda desenhada) have traditionally represented a significant share of the cultural productions and communication modes. In recent years, graphic narratives’ popularity has reached new heights in these countries and the emergence of advanced — and in some cases, globally successful — feminist movements and theories on the issue of gender discrimination and violence often found in the comics medium a friendly ally that has facilitated the dissemination of feminist and queer political messages. This thematic section is a space to assign visibility and critical legitimisation to Ibero-American feminist and queer comics and graphic novels. It is also a place to discuss in detail the strengths and limitations that characterise them, both in terms of adherence to the complexity of gender-related theorisations and their access to local and transnational dissemination.
For this thematic section, we invite scholars to submit contributions (research articles, interviews and book reviews) on the broad topic of gender and graphic narratives produced in Spain, Portugal and Latin America. Topics include but are not limited to:
- historical perspectives on women artists in the context of comics production and circulation;
- censorship, marginalisation and invisibilisation of feminist and queer comics and authors;
- gender and graphic narratives in the digital realm;
- auto/biographies by female/queer authors: is the graphic novel the format of freedom?;
- artivistic practices on gender-related issues involving graphic narratives’ production, distribution and reception;
- female/queer authors connected to social activist movements;
- local and transnational circulation of graphic narratives on gender-related issues;
- black feminism and other intersectionalities in Ibero-American comics;
- comics, femininity, technology and the body: towards a post-feminine identity?;
- beyond the human: gender, species and posthumanism in comics;
- comics, gender and age interaction: female genealogies between girlhood, womanhood and the old age;
- primary and secondary women/queer characters in Ibero-American comics;
- decolonisation, democracy, displacements in Ibero-American comics;
- gender, ambition and power in Ibero-American comics;
- transmedial/transgender/transnational connections in Ibero-American graphic narratives.
Submission of full manuscripts: January 2 to March 15, 2023
Editor’s decision on full articles: June 7, 2023
Deadline for submitting the full version and translated version: September 20, 2023
Issue publication date: December 2023
Additional information can be found at