18th ComFor Annual Conference 2023: „What was, is, becomes comics studies – for us?“

From December 11-13, 2023, the 18th annual conference of the Society for Comics Studies (ComFor) will take place at the Stiftung Akademie Waldschlösschen in 37130 Gleichen. The event will be organized by Christina Meyer, Vanessa Ossa, and Lukas R.A. Wilde.

On the occasion of ComFor’s upcoming tenth anniversary as a registered association, this timespan will be subject to a critical reflection: How has comics studies developed and changed over the past ten years? Which recurring, but also new questions and research perspectives have we been dealing with since 2014? Which disciplinary shortcomings or desiderata do we need to address more precisely together in the future? „What was, is, becomes comics studies – for us?“ quite literally addresses our institution as well as the biographically shaped perspectives of our participating members.

Individual seats to participate in the lectures and panel discussions are still available, inquiries can be sent informally to

Read more: Full program

Monitor 74: New Publications on Comic Books

Monitor is an irregularly published overview of publications from the previous six months that may be of relevance to comics studies scholars. The introductory texts are the respective publishers’. Do you have suggestions or information on new releases that have been overlooked and should be introduced on our website? Please let us know via email:
See previous Monitor posts.

Disability and the Superhero: Essays on Ableism and Representation in Comic Media

Amber E. George (ed.)
Ch. A. Bachmann Verlag
June 2023
Publisher’s website

“This is a collection of essays that analyze the presence of ableism in superhero narratives from television shows, films, and comics. Contributors use critical disability studies, media studies, cultural studies, and other interdisciplinary fields to unveil the misinformation, stigma, and exclusion caused by ableist representations of disability or disability-related experiences. Ableism is unmasked in media franchises such as DC Comics, Marvel, Sesame Street, and more.
These essays go beyond what is currently available in critical disability superhero studies, and explore both the well-known and lesser-known characters including Iron Man, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, Thor, Nick Fury, Jessica Jones, War Machine, Wonder Woman, Dr. Poison, the Joker, Bucky Barnes, Punisher, Rocket and Groot, Luke Cage, Captain America, and Sesame Street’s Super Grover. They also offer insightful intersectional analyses of entire series, films, and shows such as Arrowverse and The Ables.”


The Early Reception of Manga in the West

Bildnarrative, Vol. 13

Martin de la Iglesia
Ch. A. Bachmann Verlag
March 2023
Publisher’s website

“Nowadays, manga are ubiquitous not only in their home country Japan but also in the Western world. In some Western countries, they have even surpassed American and European comics in popularity. When did this manga boom start? Many people would think of the late 1990s, when dubbed anime adaptations of manga such as Dragon Ball or Sailor Moon ran on television.
This book, however, explores an earlier wave of manga around the year 1990. It examines what the first translated editions of Kazuo Koike and Gōseki Kojima’s Lone Wolf and Cub and Shōtarō Ishinomori’s Japan Inc. looked like, and how readers in the United States and in Germany reacted towards these manga.
Their impact was still rather limited, but then, this first manga wave culminated in 1988/1991 when Katsuhiro Ōtomo’s manga masterpiece, Akira, was published in English and German, among other languages. Its reception in the West is analysed in great depth in this book, including chapters on the perception of Akira as cyberpunk and its anime adaptation.
Akira opened the floodgates, and in its wake, many more manga titles found their way to American and European readers, including even lengthy but otherwise mediocre series such as Kazuo Koike and Ryōichi Ikegami’s Crying Freeman, the last of the four manga examined in this book. Although manga sales would later soar to greater heights in the 2000s with One Piece, Naruto and others, the first manga wave of ca. 1987–1995 deserves to be remembered for having paved the way.”


Drawing from the Archives: Comics Memory in the Contemporary Graphic Novel

Benoît Crucifix
Cambridge UP
July 2023
Publisher’s website

“Following Art Spiegelman’s declaration that ‘the future of comics is in the past,’ this book considers comics memory in the contemporary North American graphic novel. Cartoonists such as Chris Ware, Seth, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, and others have not only produced some of the most important graphic novels, they have also turned to the history of comics as a common visual heritage to pass on to new readers. This book is a full-length study of contemporary cartoonists when they are at work as historians: it offers a detailed description of how they draw from the archives of comics history, examining the different gestures of collecting, curating, reprinting, forging, swiping, and undrawing that give shape to their engagement with the past. In recognizing these different acts of transmission, this book argues for a material and vernacular history of how comics are remembered, shared, and recirculated over time.”


The Rise of the Graphic Novel: Computational Criticism and the Evolution of Literary Value

Cambridge Studies in Graphic Narratives

Alexander Dunst
Cambridge UP
July 2023
Publisher’s website

“Bringing digital humanities methods to the study of comics, this monograph traces the emergence of the graphic novel at the intersection of popular and literary culture. Based on a representative corpus of over 250 graphic novels from the United States, Canada, and Great Britain, it shows how the genre has built on the visual style of comics while adopting selected features of the contemporary novel. This argument positions the graphic novel as a crucial case study for our understanding of twenty-first-century culture. More than simply a niche format, graphic novels demonstrate how contemporary literature reworks elements of genre narrative, reconfiguring rather than abolishing distinctions between high and low. The book also puts forward a new historical periodization for the graphic novel, centered on integration into the literary marketplace and leading to an explosive growth in page length and a diversification of aesthetic styles.”


The Cambridge Companion to Comics

Cambridge Companions to Literature

Maaheen Ahmed (ed.)
Cambridge UP
August 2023
Publisher’s website

“The Cambridge Companion to Comics presents comics as a multifaceted prism, generating productive and insightful dialogues with the most salient issues concerning the humanities at large. This volume provides readers with the histories and theories necessary for studying comics. It consists of three sections: Forms maps the most significant comics forms, including material formats and techniques. Readings brings together a selection of tools to equip readers with a critical understanding of comics. Uses examines the roles accorded to comics in museums, galleries, and education. Chapters explore comics through several key aspects, including drawing, serialities, adaptation, transmedia storytelling, issues of stereotyping and representation, and the lives of comics in institutional and social settings. This volume emphasizes the relationship between comics and other media and modes of expression. It offers close readings of vital works, covering more than a century of comics production and extending across visual, literary and cultural disciplines.”

Online-reading with Jason Reynolds

2023 10 25 13:30 Uhr

Stuntboy rettet die WeltComing Wednesday, ComFor-member Daniel Stein is organizing and chairing an online reading with U.S. children’s and young adult fiction author Jason Reynolds.

“Reynolds is a New York Times bestselling author as well as the recipient of numerous honors and awards. He was also a “National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature” from 2020 to 2022. He has written a number of books for children and young adults. With “Stuntboy Saves the World” (illustrated by Raúl the Third, translated by Anja Hansen-Schmidt; Karibu Verlag 2023), his first graphic novel – according to the publisher’s website a comic novel with color illustrations about superheroes, courage and friendship for children aged 10 and up (see cover attached) – has just been published. Jason lives in Washington, DC. Reynolds will read in English; moderation and discussion will take place in English and German.”

Registration and access data for the WebEx room from Dr. Jana Mikota at