Erika-Fuchs-Haus, Schwarzenbach a.d. Saale
November 8 - 10, 2019
The 14th Annual Conference of the Society for Comics Studies (ComFor) is dedicated to the idea of comparative comics studies: Relations and transformations within the art form that cross and bridge cultural, lingual, economic, juridical, political, and media divisions. These include referential and derivative formats such as citation, parody, pastiche, travesty, imitation, and emulation of genres, characters, and motifs, in which one comic recalls another comic, or any other medium: In all of these cases, a relation is established that connects one or more comics to others. But the scope of comparative comics studies also includes translations, transfers, adaptations, and many other kinds of metamorphosis. These take place not merely from one language to another, but also take into account changes in audience orientation, in technical and economic conditions, in legal and conventional rules, and any other co-determining circumstance that leaves its traces: on the new comic’s text, sometimes on its pictures as well, and always on the mechanisms of production, marketing, media practices, and interpretations to which comics are subjected.
A paradigmatic example of such interfaces and mediations is Erika Fuchsʼ famous oeuvre of translations. She transported Disney comics – most notably including, but by no means limited to Barksʼ Duck stories – into German. But rather than merely translating the American English of the original into a corollary suitable to the young Federal Republic of Germany, Fuchs enacted a design that mediated a plethora of cultural, lingual, comical, and critical designs from the original in a congenial fashion. Moving far beyond a search for individual solutions to given problems of translation, her creativity gave birth to a wholly new ‘Entenhausen’ created from, but not totally convergent with, Barks’ ‘Duckburg’.
In the often marginal art form of comics, which from those margins has been commenting and critiquing mainstream media since its inception, and has always been apt to transform and caricature, to reshape and disfigure, many such ‘Entenhausens’ can be found: a manifold of diverse but concrete zones of de- and re-differentiation in translations, localisations, imitations, and adaptations. It is in these transmissions that comics express a fundamental potential for and joy in appropriation and estrangement, featuring not only individual comics recreated under changing conditions, but at once demonstrating the nomadic identity of an aesthetics perpetually left homeless and yet at home in any number of places. It is for these reasons that ComFor’s 14th Annual Conference is organized in co-operation with the Erika-Fuchs-House in Schwarzenbach an der Saale.
Topics welcome at the conference may include:
- lingual translations in comics in the immediate sense, adapting a comic for the language of a new audience;
- the more rare but more incisive translational modification of a comic’s pictures;
- cultural translations, which may apply to individual comics, but also to complete genres or the art form as a whole;
- how comics are culturally situated and localized;
- emendations that occur under censorship, but also feature in parodies and unauthorised franchises;
- and the vast area of media adaptations.
Beyond exploring each year’s specific conference topic, ComFor is dedicated to promoting co- operation and communication among comics scholars from all fields. This is why in addition to the panels on the various aspects of comparative comics studies, the 2019 conference will reintroduce the open forum, at which workshop reports on planned and current – but not finished – projects in comics studies of all sizes and ambitions are welcome.
We are looking forward to your abstracts of roughly 500 words, plus a short bio-bibliographical information, in German or English at firstname.lastname@example.org . The deadline is May 5, 2019. Please mark your abstract as intended either for the topical conference panels on comparative comics studies, or the open forum.
Organisers: Christian Bachmann, Juliane Blank, Alexandra Hentschel und Stephan Packard