CFP: Eccentrics and eccentricities in graphic novels and comics

Amiens University workshop
at the Amiens comics festival
June 7, 2017
Stichtag: 2017 03 31

Amiens University workshop

Eccentricity, originally a late eighteenth-century notion, may be used to define a specific category of graphic novels and comics. Eccentrics voice their idiosyncratic opinions to contradict social norms without threatening the pre-established order they stem from. Eccentrics are essentially spectators – adopting an outsider’s point of view whilst observing the surroundings, paradoxically standing inside and outside the world they contemplate, as demonstrated in Sophie Aymes-Stokes and Laurent Mellet’s In and Out: Eccentricity in Britain. Daniel Sangsue (Le Récit excentrique) defines the aesthetics of eccentricity as one marked by “difformity and irregularity,” hailing Sterne’s metatextual games and narrations as a seminal source.

The workshop will be organised in conjunction with the Amiens comics festival “On a marché sur la bulle,” that focuses on what lies outside graphic norms, and will therefore focus on eccentrics and eccentricities in graphic novels and comics; any graphic work that represents the unexpected, transgressive or taboo, or the thin line between madness and sanity. Thus the notion, applied to graphic novels, provides a negative, and more fluid, definition of our narrative and aesthetic canons.

Eccentric comics and graphic novels come in all shapes and sizes: through a format – Chris Ware’s box, Building Stories, Will Eisner’s pop-up book The Spirit –, a graphic style (with a specific line or layout, an original way to deconstruct panels or borders and thus re-organize the graphic narration, as Caroline Picard does in The Voyage Out, or forerunner Fred with his Philémon series), a narrative content (Marc-Antoine Mathieu’s embedded tales) or theme (Stan Mott’s absurd locomotions), or even a fictional character (the Joker in Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s mutants). Such graphic eccentricities instill a most welcome and fertile chaos within the codified, traditional world of comics. They allow us to perceive visual narration in a novel way, and thus to question our perception of reality; no longer through hackneyed norms and clichés, but from the margins, as it were.

The 300-word proposals, in French or English, may focus on the formal aspects of graphic eccentricity (unusual formats, narratological novelties, new technological tools) or its representations (cultural, ethnic or sexual forms of exclusion, delineating minorities). They need to be sent to either of the following four addresses before the 31st of March 2017. or or

Primary sources

Secondary sources

  • Sophie Aymes-Stokes, Laurent Mellet, In and Out: Eccentricity in Britain, Cambridge, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012
  • Daniel Sangsue, Le Récit excentrique: Gautier, de Maistre, Nerval, Nodier, Paris, José Corti, 1987
  • Thierry Smolderen, Naissances de la bande dessinée, Paris, Les Impressions nouvelles, 2009

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