Extended Deadline – CFP: comics as sound objects

Special issue edited by Benoît Glaude (UGent) & Ian Hague (London College of Communication, UAL)
Stichtag: 12.01.2023

Comicalités and the editors invite contributions to a special collection about comics as sound objects. The collection will examine how comics can be adapted, remediated and/or transformed into aural works. Drawing on the rich history of audible comics and audio adaptations, we invite researchers from any academic field to explore the affordances and constraints sounds offer to the presentation of this ostensibly visual form. In doing so, we draw on the accounts of comics practitioners such as Jacques Martin and Dennis O’Neil, both of whom have emphasised the importance of sounds in the development of their creative practices.

“One day, as I was going to my piano class, I walked by the open window of the Châtenay-Malabry patronage [catholic youth club] and heard intriguing exclamations. I entered to see what was happening. A slideshow was being displayed, from the adventures of Tintin, while the commentator performed the different voices, whilst mimicking the action. […] Stunned by this amazing discovery, I went home to tell my parents that I wanted to become a cartoonist.” (Jacques Martin (1921-2010) quoted by Thierry Groensteen, Avec Alix, Tournai, Casterman, 1984, p. 17)

“You know, one of the things we haven’t talked about is the old Superman radio show. […] I think maybe that was a bigger influence upon me than the Superman comic books. That was everyday during my childhood, Monday through Friday, 5:15, St. Louis radio. Comic books were maybe once a week, until I got older and into the habit of trading them with my friends. But we all listened to those radio shows.” (Dennis O’Neil (1939-2020), interviewed in The Krypton Companion, Michael Eury (ed.), Raleigh, NC, TwoMorrows, 2006, p. 119.)

The collection’s scope includes songs, radio dramas, audiobooks, and other aural forms; works which use comics to produce an audible output, such as a spoken reading of a comic would also be included. The key point is that the outcomes should be audible in nature or effect a rethinking of a comic through the aural mode. Audio-visual media such as adaptations into film or theatre, or adaptations of sounds into visual comics (e.g., a drawn adaptation of a piece of music) are not included in the scope of this collection. Contributions should consider the cultures in which the selected objects sit, and the ways in which those cultures might connect to works in different ways.

Possible themes for consideration may include (but are not limited to):

Reading comics aloud

The oral reading of comics, live, without prior rewriting, but potentially with some commentary and improvisation. This may include adult-child reading practices, screenings with voice overs and/or sound effects, and expert commentaries on comics pages (during research seminars, author interviews), etc.

  • Narratological issues of the passage from visual narration to sound narration (audionarratology).
  • Adaptation processes
  • Cultural issues: the social and cultural contexts of oral reception.
  • Multimodal, multisensory stakes: the practice shows that the narrator and/or the listener often read through the source work at the same time, generating a multisensory reading.

Recording comics

Both the performance of a comics story to make an audio recording (with prior rewriting) and its (delayed) broadcast to listeners. This would include radio dramas, audiobooks, songs, etc.

  • Adaptation processes: comics remediation, intermedia relationships.
  • Performing comics texts: onomatopoeia vs. creating additional sound content (music and sound effects).
  • Singing
  • Formats of sounds and their supports: radio, record, book-and-record set, cassette tape, computer, etc., sound formats, their archiving and preservation.
  • Acoustic notation: how might we account for the score of a song or the text of a radio sketch?

Accompanying comics

Listening to a soundtrack while reading a comic strip, as in the case of a comics soundtrack, motion comics and other types of digital comics, etc.

  • Accompaniment, paratext, autonomous work. What is the degree of autonomy of the soundtrack as a work?
  • What is the relationship between the temporality of the sound recording (homochrony) and that of the graphic narrative (heterochrony)?
  • In its relation to fiction, does the content of the soundtrack have a diegetic or extra-diegetic status?
  • In terms of the reception experience, does the addition of sound have an effect on fictional immersion?

Guidelines for submission

This call for papers is open to all researchers, regardless of their status and origin, who write in French or English. We invite them to respond by submitting two documents:

  • A short biographical note.
  • An anonymous abstract in French or English of a maximum of 3000 characters, including spaces (approx. 500 words). The abstract should outline the proposed article’s themes and theoretical position, identify the corpus, and summarise the main conclusions that are expected.
  • Formats for submissions include:
  • Short works such as presentations of theses, archives, or collections (maximum 15,000 characters, including spaces (approx. 2300-3000 words))
  • Longer articles (maximum 50,000 characters, including spaces (approx. 7600-10000 words))
  • Interviews (for example with creative practitioners or academic specialists in relevant fields such as sound studies)
  • Proposals for other formats will be considered; please contact the editors to discuss these.

All proposals will be evaluated anonymously by the journal’s editorial board. Accepted submissions will receive feedback and completed submissions will be due by the 1st of June 2023.

Proposals should be sent in Word format (.doc or .docx) to benoit.glaude@ugent.be and i.hague@lcc.arts.ac.uk. The deadline for proposals is January 12, 2023.


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BOULAIRE, Cécile, « Comment définir un livre pour la jeunesse aujourd’hui? Essai de typologie, du livre au non-livre », dans Cécile Boulaire, Claudine Hervouët et Matthieu Letourneux (dir.), L’Avenir du livre pour la jeunesse, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, 2010, p. 19-29.

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BURTON, Jessica, et Richard LEGAY, « From the Comic Strip to the Aiwaves. The Short-lived Experiment of Le Feu de camp du dimanche matin on Europe n° 1 », Media History, 2022.

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DELABORDE, Blanche, « L’ancrage des impressifs graphiques dans les mangas des années 1980-1990 », Textimage, n° 15, 2022, en ligne, https://www.revue-textimage.com/21_espaces_texte_BD/delaborde1.html

DEPRÊTRE, Évelyne, « Projet d’une séquence didactique en littérature au niveau collégial québécois à partir du roman L’étranger de Camus et de son adaptation en bande dessinée et en livre sonore », Myriades, n° 2, 2016, en ligne, http://cehum.ilch.uminho.pt/myriades/static/volumes/2-6.pdf

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FREEMAN, Matthew, “Up, Up and Across. Superman, the Second World War and the Historical Development of Transmedia Storytelling”, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, n° 35.2, 2015, p. 215-239. 

FRESNAULT-DERUELLE, Pierre, et Laurent GERBIER, « Placer sa voix : la parole, le discours et le son dans l’image. Entretien de Pierre Fresnault-Deruelle avec Laurent Gerbier », Textimage, n° 15, 2022, en ligne, http://revue-textimage.com/21_espaces_texte_BD/gerbier1.html

GLAUDE, Benoît, La Bande dialoguée: Une histoire des dialogues de bande dessinée (1830-1960), Tours, Presses universitaires François-Rabelais (Iconotextes), 2019.

GOODBREY, Daniel Merlin, “The Sound of Digital Comics”, Writing Visual Culture, n° 7, 2015, p. 21-34.

GORDON, Ian, Superman. The Persistence of An American Icon, New Brunswick, Rutgers University Press (Comics Culture), 2017.

HAGUE, Ian, Comics and the Senses. A Multisensory Approach to Comics and Graphic Novels, Abingdon, Routledge (Routledge Research in Cultural and Media Studies), 2014.

KHORDOC, Catherine, “The comic book’s soundtrack: Visual sound effects in Asterix”, dans Robin Varnum et Christina Gibbons (dir.), The Language of Comics. Word and Image, Jackson, University Press of Mississippi, 2001, p. 156-173.

LACKMANN, Ron, Comic Strips and Comic Books of Radio’s Golden Age, BearManor Media, 2004.

LESAGE, Sylvain, L’Effet livre : Métamorphoses de la bande dessinée, Tours, Presses universitaires François-Rabelais (Iconotextes), 2019.

LOHSE, Rolf, “Die Hörspieladaption von Joann Sfars Le Chat du rabbin, dans Nathalie Mälzer (dir.), Comics. Übersetzungen und Adaptionen, Berlin, Frank & Timme, 2015, p. 97–112.

MAO, Catherine, « L’œil et l’oreille dans Faire semblant c’est mentir de Dominique Goblet. D’un faire-semblant sonore à une esthétique sonore », Images Re-vues, n° 7, 2009, en ligne, http://journals.openedition.org/imagesrevues/434

MARMONNIER, Christian, Comics vinyls. 50 ans de complicité entre la bande dessinée et la musique, Paris, Ereme, 2009.

MICHALLAT, Wendy, French Cartoon Art in the 1960s and 1970s. Pilote hebdomadaire and the Teenager Bande Dessinée, Louvain, Leuven University Press (Studies in European Comics and Graphic Novels), 2018.

PAOLUCCI, Philippe, « Écouter une bande dessinée : quand le numérique rend le neuvième art audible », Hybrid, n° 6, 2019, en ligne, http://journals.openedition.org/hybrid/532 ; “Listening to Comics: When Digital Technology Makes the Ninth Art Audible”, trans. Lise Thiollier, Hybrid, n° 6, 2019, en ligne, https://doi.org/10.4000/hybrid.540

PELLITTERI, Marco, “The Aural Dimension in Comic Art”, dans Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard, Mads Walther-Hansen et Martin Knakkergaard (dir.), The Oxford Handbook of Sound and Imagination, Volume 1, Oxford University Press, 2019, p. 511-548.

ROBERT, Pascal, « Vraooum, driiing, toc et plouf… : le son en bande dessinée, entre texte et image », Bulletin des bibliothèques de France, n° 6, 2015, p. 22-33.

SANDERS, Joe Sutliff, “Chaperoning Words: Meaning-Making in Comics and Picture Books.” Children’s Literature, n° 41, 2013, p. 57-90.

SCREECH, Matthew, Remembering the Jazz Orpheus : Barney and the Blue Note by Loustal and Paringaux, The Journal of Popular Culture, n° 43.2, 2010, p. 348-367.

SMOLDEREN, Thierry, Naissances de la bande dessinée de William Hogarth à Winsor McCay, Bruxelles, Les Impression nouvelles, 2009 ; The Origins of Comics: From William Hogarth to Winsor McCay, trans. Bart Beaty and Nick Nguyen, Jackson, University Press of Mississippi, 2014.

STERNE, Jonathan, The Audible Past. Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction, Duke University Press, 2003 ; Une histoire de la modernité sonore, trad. Maxime Boidy, Paris, La Découverte – La Rue musicale (Culture sonore), 2015.

WILDE, Lukas, “Die Sounds des Comics. Fünf mal mit den Augen hören”, Spiel, n° 3.2, 2017, p. 127-161.