CfP: Beginnings and Renewals in Comics

Closure - Kieler E-Journal für Comicforschung
Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel
9.-11. September 2016
Stichtag: 2016 04 30

Opening Sequence, Origin Story, and Reboot – How Do Comics Begin?
On your marks! More than any other narrative field, graphic storytelling is determined by beginnings. Case in point: 2012 saw the newest in a long line of reboots, as DC comics renumbered and restarted its series and its universe. It is not just the context of serial superhero stories, however, that is characterized by ›beginnings‹ and ›renewals‹ – any historical perspective requires both comics and comics studies to re-examine the question of beginnings.
The conference, held from the 9th to the 11th of September 2016 in Kiel, Germany, will focus on the themes of ›beginning‹ and ›renewal‹ in comics, seeking a wide range of interdisciplinary approaches to the question of what constitutes a new start in comics and for comics. This includes ›beginning‹ as a formal device as well as related inquiries into the narratological, stylistic and theoretical implications of beginnings within the structure of comics. Further approaches include the question of beginnings of the medium, its discourses and the study of comics. Last but not least: ›beginnings‹, ›renewals‹ and ›fresh starts‹ can also be analyzed as themes and motifs.

We invite proposals for papers in areas related to one or more of the following topics:

  • Beginnings/renewals as formula: How do comics start (over)? How do comic heroes ›begin‹ (again and again)? How is the opening/beginning of series started and restarted?
  • Beginnings/renewals as narrative, formal, visual strategy: is a beginning always discernible or necessary? How does a comic begin?
  • Beginnings/renewals and history: Who addresses comics at what time – and why? Which topics does the comic initiate? What are the new beginnings of comics now – on the web, transmedially, iconotextually, culturally?
  • Beginnings/renewals of form and medium: When is a comic a comic? How is its status as comic introduced at the outset?
  • Beginnings/renewals and (inter)media: What happens when comics leave their medium and become film (beginning of film adaptations and comic films, adaptation of the origin and the original, inclusion and exclusion of origin stories and reboots)?

The conference languages are German and English. Please send us your 500 word abstract for a paper (20 minutes) in either language as well as a brief bio-bibliographical note until April 30th 2016. The address:

Following the conference, selected papers will be published in issue #4 of CLOSURE, the Kiel university e-journal for comics studies. For more information about the journal and previous issues, find us at:

In individual cases, a travel grant can be offered to scholars and researchers not having access to other sources of funding to attend the conference. Please submit an informal application for discretionary support.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *