Monitor of Publications

Monitor 48: 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: redaktion@comicgesellschaft.de. → See previous Monitor posts.

Adventure Comics and Youth Cultures in India

Raminder Kaur and Saif Eqbal
Routledge
226 pages
ISBN 978-1138358683 (Paperback)
~£29.99
October 2018
Publisher’s website

“This pioneering book presents a history and ethnography of adventure comic books for young people in India with a particular focus on vernacular superheroism. It chronicles popular and youth culture in the subcontinent from the mid-twentieth century to the contemporary era dominated by creative audio-video-digital outlets.
The authors highlight early precedents in adventures set by the avuncular detective Chacha Chaudhary with his ‘faster than a computer brain’, the forays of the film veteran Amitabh Bachchan’s superheroic alter ego called Supremo, the Protectors of Earth and Mankind (P.O.E.M.), along with the exploits of key comic book characters, such as Nagraj, Super Commando Dhruv, Parmanu, Doga, Shakti and Chandika. The book considers how pulp literature, western comics, television programmes, technological developments and major space ventures sparked a thirst for extraterrestrial action and how these laid the grounds for vernacular ventures in the Indian superhero comics genre. It contains descriptions, textual and contextual analyses, excerpts of interviews with comic book creators, producers, retailers and distributers, together with the views, dreams and fantasies of young readers of adventure comics. These narratives touch upon special powers, super-intelligence, phenomenal technologies, justice, vengeance, geopolitics, romance, sex and the amazing potentials of masked identities enabled by navigation of the internet.”

The Disappearance of Hong Kong in Comics, Advertising and Graphic Design

Wendy Wong
Palgrave
245 pages
ISBN 978-3-319-92095-5 (Hardcover)
~$84.99
November 2018
Publisher’s website

“This book examines Hong Kong’s struggle against the disappearance of its unique identity under the historical challenges of colonialism, in addition to the more recent reimposition of Chinese authoritarian government control, as reflected in three under-researched forms of visual media: comics, advertising and graphic design. Each section of the book focuses on one of these three forms, and each chapter focuses on one stage of Hong Kong’s changing cultural identity. The articulative position of this book is on studies of visual cultural history and media communication. Its case studies will broaden readers’ own cultural knowledge for a more international understanding. The Disappearance of Hong Kong in Comics, Advertising and Graphic Design advances the development of its three key subjects in terms of identity, communication and cultural politics, aiming to reach a wide range of multidisciplinary readers.”

Superhero Bodies: Identity, Materiality, Transformation

Wendy Haslem, Elizabeth MacFarlane and Sarah Richardson (eds.)
Routledge
196 pages
ISBN 978-1138389892 (Hardcover)
~£115.99
November 2018
Publisher’s website

“Throughout the history of the genre, the superhero has been characterised primarily by physical transformation and physical difference. Superhero Bodies: Identity, Materiality, Transformation explores the transformation of the superhero body across multiple media forms including comics, film, television, literature and the graphic novel. How does the body of the hero offer new ways to imagine identities?  How does it represent or subvert cultural ideals? How are ideologies of race, gender and disability signified or destabilised in the physicality of the superhero? How are superhero bodies drawn, written and filmed across diverse forms of media and across histories?
This volume collects essays that attend to the physicality of superheroes: the transformative bodies of superheroes, the superhero’s position in urban and natural spaces, the dialectic between the superhero’s physical and metaphysical self, and the superhero body’s relationship with violence. This will be the first collection of scholarly research specifically dedicated to investigating the diversity of superhero bodies, their emergence, their powers, their secrets, their histories and their transformations.”

Comics: Interdisziplinäre Perspektiven aus Theorie und Praxis auf ein Stiefkind der Medienpädagogik

Christine Dallmann, Anja Hartung, Alfons Aigner and Kai-Thorsten Buchele (eds.)
Kopaed
280 pages
ISBN 978-3-86736-495-9 (Paperback)
~€20.00
December 2018
Publisher’s website

“Comics standen lange im Verruf, simpler Unterhaltungsstoff zu sein, der nur mehr von der Lektüre anspruchsvoller, ja bildungswertvoller Literatur abzuhalten suche. Bereits die bewahrpädagogische Debatte im frühen 20. Jahrhundert verurteilte Comics als „Schmutz und Schund“ und damit als schädlich für die moralische und geistige Entwicklung von Kindern und Jugendlichen. Wenngleich bewahrpädagogische Positionen sich gegenwärtig eher gegen andere Medien richten, haben sich viele Vorbehalte gegen Comics bis heute gehalten. Zu Unrecht, meint Ralf Vollbrecht, und dem stimmen die Herausgeberinnen und Herausgeber dieses Bandes zu und unternehmen den Versuch einer medienpädagogisch motivierten Annäherung. Dabei werden Bezüge sowohl zum wissenschaftlichen Werk und Wirken von Ralf Vollbrecht als auch zu seinen Comic-Präferenzen hergestellt. Mit diesem durchaus unkonventionellen Ansatz möge der Band hier und da bereichernde Einblicke gewähren, in seiner bebilderten Form auch unterhalten und möglicherweise sogar eine weitere Beschäftigung mit dem Themenfeld Comics aus medienpädagogischer Perspektive anregen.”

Batman and the Multiplicity of Identity: The Contemporary Comic Book Superhero as Cultural Nexus

Jeffrey A. Brown
Routledge
226 pages
ISBN 978-1138302853 (Hardcover)
~£110.00
December 2018
Publisher’s website

“Concentrating primarily on contemporary depictions of Batman in the comic books, this book analyzes why Batman is so immensely popular right now in America and globally, and how the fictional Dark Knight reveals both new cultural concerns and longstanding beliefs about American values. The organizing premise is that while Batman is perceived as a very clearly defined character, he is open to a wide range of interpretations and depictions in the comics (what Henry Jenkins refers to as “multiplicities”), each of which allows access to different cultural issues. The idea of Batman functions as an anchoring point out of which multiple Batmen, or Batman-like characters, can occupy different positions: Grim Batman, Gay Batman, Female Batman, Black Batman, Cute Batman, and so on. Each iteration opens up a discussion of different cultural issues pertinent to modern society, such as sexuality, ethnicity, feminism and familial relationships.”

Monitor 47: 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: redaktion@comicgesellschaft.de. → See previous Monitor posts.

The Politics of Race, Gender and Sexuality in The Walking Dead: Essays on the Television Series and Comics

Elizabeth L. Erwin und Dawn Keetley (Eds.)
McFarland
200 pages
ISBN 978-1476668499 (Paperback)
~$39,95
August 2018
Publisher’s website

“From the beginning, both Robert Kirkman’s comics and AMC’s series of The Walking Dead have brought controversy in their presentations of race, gender and sexuality. Critics and fans have contended that the show’s identity politics have veered toward the decidedly conservative, offering up traditional understandings of masculinity, femininity, heterosexuality, racial hierarchy and white supremacy.
This collection of new essays explores the complicated nature of relationships among the story’s survivors. In the end, characters demonstrate often-surprising shifts that consistently comment on identity politics. Whether agreeing or disagreeing with critics, these essays offer a rich view of how gender, race, class and sexuality intersect in complex new ways in the TV series and comics.”

Gender and the Superhero Narrative

Michael Goodrum und Tara Prescott (Eds.)
University Press of Mississippi
306 pages
ISBN 978-1496821102 (Paperback)
~$ 30,00
October 2018
Publisher’s website

“The explosive popularity of San Diego’s Comic-Con, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One, and Netflix’s Jessica Jones and Luke Cage all signal the tidal change in superhero narratives and mainstreaming of what were once considered niche interests.
Yet just as these areas have become more openly inclusive to an audience beyond heterosexual white men, there has also been an intense backlash, most famously in 2015’s Gamergate controversy, when the tension between feminist bloggers, misogynistic gamers, and internet journalists came to a head. The place for gender in superhero narratives now represents a sort of battleground, with important changes in the industry at stake. These seismic shift s–both in the creation of superhero media and in their critical and reader reception–need reassessment not only of the role of women in comics, but also of how American society conceives of masculinity.
Gender and the Superhero Narrative launches ten essays that explore the point where social justice meets the Justice League. Ranging from comics such as Ms. Marvel, Batwoman: Elegy, and Bitch Planet to video games, Netflix, and cosplay, this volume builds a platform for important voices in comics research, engaging with controversy and community to provide deeper insight and thus inspire change.”

Incorrigibles and Innocents: Constructing Childhood and Citizenship in Progressive Era Comics

Lara Saguisag
Rutgers University Press
252 pages
ISBN 978-0-8135-9176-6 (Paperback)
~$27,95
October 2018
Publisher’s website

“Histories and criticism of comics note that comic strips published in the Progressive Era were dynamic spaces in which anxieties about race, ethnicity, class, and gender were expressed, perpetuated, and alleviated. The proliferation of comic strip children—white and nonwhite, middle-class and lower class, male and female—suggests that childhood was a subject that fascinated and preoccupied Americans at the turn of the century. Many of these strips, including R.F. Outcault’s Hogan’s Alley and Buster Brown, Rudolph Dirks’s The Katzenjammer Kids and Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland were headlined by child characters. Yet no major study has explored the significance of these verbal-visual representations of childhood. Incorrigibles and Innocents addresses this gap in scholarship, examining the ways childhood was depicted and theorized in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century comic strips. Drawing from and building on histories and theories of childhood, comics, and Progressive Era conceptualizations of citizenship and nationhood, Lara Saguisag demonstrates that child characters in comic strips expressed and complicated contemporary notions of who had a right to claim membership in a modernizing, expanding nation.”

Serials to Graphic Novels: The Evolution of the Victorian Illustrated Book

Lara Saguisag
University Press of Florida
318 pages
ISBN 978-0813064987 (Paperback)
~$24,95
October 2018
Publisher’s website

“The Victorian illustrated book came into being, flourished, and evolved during the long nineteenth century. While existing scholarship on Victorian illustrators largely centers on the realist artists of the “Sixties,” this volume examines the entire lifetime of the Victorian illustrated book. Catherine Golden offers a new framework for viewing the arc of this vibrant genre, arguing that it arose from and continually built on the creative vision of the caricature-style illustrators of the 1830s. She surveys the fluidity of illustration styles across serial installments, British and American periodicals, adult and children’s literature, and–more recently–graphic novels.
Serials to Graphic Novels examines widely recognized illustrated texts, such as The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Rabbit, and Trilby. Golden explores factors that contributed to the early popularity of the illustrated book—the growth of commodity culture, a rise in literacy, new printing technologies—and that ultimately created a mass market for illustrated fiction.
Golden identifies present-day visual adaptations of the works of Austen, Dickens, and Trollope as well as original Neo-Victorian graphic novels like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Victorian-themed novels like Batman: Noël as the heirs to the Victorian illustrated book. With these adaptations and additions, the Victorian canon has been refashioned and repurposed visually for new generations of readers.”

Comics and Sacred Texts Reimagining Religion and Graphic Narratives

Assaf Gamzou und Ken Koltun-Fromm (Eds.)
University Press of Mississippi
322 pages
ISBN 978-1496819475 (Paperback)
~$30,00
November 2018
Publisher’s website

“Comics and Sacred Texts explores how comics and notions of the sacred interweave new modes of seeing and understanding the sacral. Comics and graphic narratives help readers see religion in the everyday and in depictions of God, in transfigured, heroic selves as much as in the lives of saints and the meters of holy languages. Coeditors Assaf Gamzou and Ken Koltun-Fromm reveal the graphic character of sacred narratives, imagining new vistas for both comics and religious texts.
In both visual and linguistic forms, graphic narratives reveal representational strategies to encounter the sacred in all its ambivalence. Through close readings and critical inquiry, these essays contemplate the intersections between religion and comics in ways that critically expand our ability to think about religious landscapes, rhetorical practices, pictorial representation, and the everyday experiences of the uncanny.
Organized into four sections–Seeing the Sacred in Comics; Reimagining Sacred Texts through Comics; Transfigured Comic Selves, Monsters, and the Body; and The Everyday Sacred in Comics–the essays explore comics and graphic novels ranging from Craig Thompson’s Habibi and Marvel’s X-Men and Captain America to graphic adaptions of religious texts such as 1 Samuel and the Gospel of Mark.”

Monitor: 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:  redaktion@comicgesellschaft.de. → See previous Monitor posts.

Lone Heroes and the Myth of the American West in Comic Books, 1945-1962

David Huxley
Palgrave Macmillan
90 pages
ISBN 978-3-319-93084-8 (Hardcover)
~€ 58,84
July 2018
Publisher’s homepage

This book examines the role of comics in the perpetuation of the myth of the American West. In particular, it looks at the ways in which lone central characters, and their acts of violence, are posited as heroic. In doing so, the book raises questions both about the role of women in a supposedly male space, in addition to the portrayal of Native Americans within the context of this violence. Various adaptations of historical figures, such as Buffalo Bill and Billy the Kid, as well as film and television stars such as The Lone Ranger and Dale Evans are examined in detail. Although concentrating on American comics, examples both from Britain and France are also analyzed.

North Korean Graphic Novels: Seduction of the Innocent?

Martin Petersen
Routledge
306 pages
ISBN 978-1138046931 (Hardcover)
~£ 84.00
July 2018
Publisher’s homepage

Graphic novels (kurimchaek) are a major art form in North Korea, produced by agents of the regime to set out its vision in a range of important areas. This book provides an analysis of North Korean graphic novels, discussing the ideals they promote and the tensions within those ideals, and examining the reception of graphic novels in North Korea and by North Korean refugees in South Korea. Particular themes considered include the ideal family and how the regime promotes this; patriotism, and its conflict with class identities; and the portrayal of the Korean War – “The Fatherland Liberation War”, as it is known in North Korea – and the subsequent, continuing stand-off. Overall, the book demonstrates the importance of graphic novels in North Korea as a tool for bringing up children and for promoting North Korean ideals. In addition, however, the book also shows that although the regime sees the imaginative power of graphic novels as a necessity for effective communication, graphic novels are also viewed with caution in that they exist in everyday social life in ways that the regime may be aware of, and seeks to control, but cannot dominate completely.

Gary Larson and The Far Side

Kerry D. Soper
University Press of Mississippi
224 pages
ISBN 978-1496817631 (Softcover)
~$25.00
August 2018
Publisher’s homepage

Kerry D. Soper reminds us of The Far Side‘s groundbreaking qualities and cultural significance in Gary Larson and “The Far Side.” In the 1980s, Gary Larson (b. 1950) shook up a staid comics page by introducing a set of aesthetic devices, comedic tones, and philosophical frames that challenged and delighted many readers, even while upsetting and confusing others. His irreverent, single panels served as an alternative reality to the tame comedy of the family-friendly newspaper comics page, as well as the pervasive, button-down consumerism and conformity of the Reagan era.
In this first full study of Larson’s art, Soper follows the arc of the cartoonist’s life and career, describing the aesthetic and comedic qualities of his work, probing the business-side of his success, and exploring how The Far Side brand as a whole – with its iconic characters and accompanying set of comedic and philosophical frames – connected with its core readers. In effect, Larson reinvented his medium by creatively working within, pushing against, and often breaking past institutional, aesthetic, comedic, and philosophical parameters.

Comics Memory: Archives and Styles

Maaheen Ahmed and Benoît Crucifix  (eds.)
Palgrave Macmillan
290 pages
ISBN 978-3-319-91745-0 (Hardcover)
~€ 106,99
August 2018
Publisher’s homepage

Despite the boom in scholarship in both Comics Studies and Memory Studies, the two fields rarely interact—especially with issues beyond the representation of traumatic and autobiographical memories in comics. With a focus on the roles played by styles and archives—in their physical and metaphorical manifestations—this edited volume offers an original intervention, highlighting several novel ways of thinking about comics and memory as comics memory. Bringing together scholars as well as cultural actors, the contributions combine studies on European and North American comics and offer a representative overview of the main comics genres and forms, including superheroes, Westerns, newspaper comics, diary comics, comics reportage and alternative comics. In considering the many manifestations of memory in comics as well as the functioning and influence of institutions, public and private practices, the book exemplifies new possibilities for understanding the complex entanglements of memory and comics.

Comic Books, Graphic Novels and the Holocaust: Beyond Maus

Ewa Stańczyk (ed.)
Routledge
132 pages
ISBN 978-1138598645 (Hardcover)
~£ 92,00
September 2018
Publisher’s homepage

This book analyses the portrayals of the Holocaust in newspaper cartoons, educational pamphlets, short stories and graphic novels. Focusing on recognised and lesser-known illustrators from Europe and beyond, the volume looks at autobiographical and fictional accounts and seeks to paint a broader picture of Holocaust comic strips from the 1940s to the present. The book shows that the genre is a capacious one, not only dealing with the killing of millions of Jews but also with Jewish lives in war-torn Europe, the personal and transgenerational memory of the Second World War and the wider national and transnational legacies of the Shoah. The chapters in this collection point to the aesthetic diversity of the genre which uses figurative and allegorical representation, as well as applying different stylistics, from realism to fantasy. Finally, the contributions to this volume show new developments in comic books and graphic novels on the Holocaust, including the rise of alternative publications, aimed at the adult reader, and the emergence of state-funded educational comics written with young readers in mind.

Monitor: New Publications on Comic Books

Superman and Comic Book Brand Continuity

Superman and Comic Book Brand Continuity

Phillip Bevin
Routledge
166 pages
ISBN 978-0-8153-6859-5 (Hardcover)
~£ 92,00
August 2018

Publisher’s page
Superman and Comic Book Brand Continuity traces the development of comic book continuity through the case study of Superman, examining the character’s own evolution across several media, including comics, radio, television, and film. Superman’s relationship with continuity illustrates a key feature of the way in which people in western societies construct stories about themselves. In this respect, the book is a study of narrative and how comic book continuity reflects the way that, in wider western post-enlightenment culture, storytelling shapes the common sense and received wisdoms that influence how we perceive “reality.” The scope of the analysis extends from Superman’s creation in the late 1930s to the recent films Man of Steel (2013) and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), as well as the current comic book reboot Rebirth (2016).

Comics and Adaptation

Comics and Adaptation

Benoît Mitaine, David Roche, and Isabelle Schmitt-Pitiot (eds.)
University Press of Mississippi
240 pages
ISBN 978-1-4968-0337-5 (Hardcover)
~$ 70,00
August 2018

Publisher’s page
Both comics studies and adaptation studies have grown separately over the past twenty years. Yet there are few in-depth studies of comic books and adaptations together. Available for the first time in English, this collection pores over the phenomenon of comic books and adaptation, sifting through comics as both sources and results of adaptation. Essays shed light on the many ways adaptation studies inform research on comic books and content adapted from them. Contributors concentrate on fidelity to the source materials, comparative analysis, forms of media, adaptation and myth, adaptation and intertextuality, as well as adaptation and ideology. After an introduction that assesses adaptation studies as a framework, the book examines comics adaptations of literary texts as more than just illustrations of their sources. Essayists then focus on adaptations of comics, often from a transmedia perspective. Case studies analyze both famous and lesser-known American, Belgian, French, Italian, and Spanish comics.

Iron Man vs. Captain America and Philosophy

Iron Man vs. Captain America and Philosophy

Nicolas Michaud and Jessica Watkins (eds.)
Open Court
276 pages
ISBN 978-0-8126-9976-0 (Softcover)
~$ 19,95
August 2018

Publisher’s page
Iron Man or Captain America? Which one is superior―as a hero, as a role model, or as a personification of American virtue? Philosophers who take different sides come together in Iron Man versus Captain America to debate these issues and arrive at a deeper understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of these iconic characters. The discussion ranges over politics, religion, ethics, psychology, and metaphysics. The book you have in your hands is a little unusual. Often, philosophy and popular culture books explore many aspects of a pop culture phenomenon. This book focuses on one specific question, “Who is better?” You might think that there isn’t much to say on this issue, and we’re sure you have your own opinion already, but comparing Captain America and Iron Man brings out a lot of questions and problems we don’t normally think about.

The reason why these two men in philosophical competition with each other is so important and terrifying isn’t just because they are the good guys, but because they are both our good guys. Let’s be honest, Iron man isn’t exactly a Communist superhero, and Captain America is well Captain America. Tony Stark is the poster boy for capitalism. In fact, Stan Lee created him specifically to see if he could make people love a ragingly selfish capitalist. Captain America was created originally as a kind of propaganda to support our war effort . . . his first issue shows him punching Hitler! BOTH represent key aspects of the United States: Our economic, social philosophy “competition makes things better” and the ideas of patriotism, liberty, and just doing the right thing. When these heroes fight, they’re revealing something we know at the core of our being is both a tremendous strength and a tremendous danger in our society . . . We are at intellectual war with ourselves! And we don’t just mean liberals and conservatives, religious and non-religious, Ford and Chevy. We mean each of us living here in the States embodies a fight between these two men and their philosophies . . . the unsolvable problem of safety vs. freedom.

Monitor: New Publications on Comic Books

Comic Book Movies

Queer about Comics:
Special Issue of American Literature 90(2)

Darieck Scott and Ramzi Fawaz (eds.)
Duke University Press
Partly open access
ISSN (print) 0002-9831
June 2018

Publisher’s page
There’s something queer about comics. Whether one looks to the alternative mutant kinships of superhero stories (the epitome of queer world making), the ironic and socially negative narratives of independent comics (the epitome of queer antinormativity), or the social stigma that makes the medium marginal, juvenile, and outcast from ‘proper’ art (the epitome of queer identity), comics are rife with the social and aesthetic cues commonly attached to queer life. Moreover, the medium has had a long history as a top reading choice among those ‘queer’ subjects variously called sexual deviants, juvenile delinquents, dropouts, the working class, and minorities of all stripes. Despite this, comics studies and queer theory have remained surprisingly alienated from each other.

The Cambridge History of the Graphic Novel

The Cambridge History of the Graphic Novel

Jan Baetens, Hugo Frey, and Stephen E. Tabachnick (eds.)
Cambridge University Press
750 pages
ISBN 978-1-3167-5998-1 (Hardcover)
~£ 125,00
July 2018

Publisher’s page
The Cambridge History of the Graphic Novel provides the complete history of the graphic novel from its origins in the nineteenth century to its rise and startling success in the twentieth and twenty-first century. It includes original discussion on the current state of the graphic novel and analyzes how American, European, Middle Eastern, and Japanese renditions have shaped the field. Thirty-five leading scholars and historians unpack both forgotten trajectories as well as the famous key episodes, and explain how comics transitioned from being marketed as children’s entertainment. Essays address the masters of the form, including Art Spiegelman, Alan Moore, and Marjane Satrapi, and reflect on their publishing history as well as their social and political effects. This ambitious history offers an extensive, detailed and expansive scholarly account of the graphic novel, and will be a key resource for scholars and students.

Comic Book Movies

Comics and History:
Special Issue of Feminist Media Histories 4(3)

Kathleen McClancy (ed.)
University of California Press
273 pages
ISSN (online) 2373-7492
July 2018

Publisher’s page
Comics inherently have a complex relationship with history. Popular conceptions of ‘history’ as a line of cause-and-effect relationships culminating inevitably in the present moment are formally challenged by sequential art, which tends to refuse linear conceptions of time. Specifically, and contradicting the usual locating of history in an inaccessible past, comics as a medium depict past and present simultaneously. As Barbara Postema notes, unlike in film, all the images in comics exist at the same time—time is constructed spatially, as the eye moves from one panel to the next throughout the book, but the images themselves remain, regardless of the reader’s attention.

Monitor: New Publications on Comic Books

Comic Book Movies

Comic Book Movies

Blair Davis
Rutgers University Press
200 pages
ISBN 978-0-8135-8877-3 (Paperback)
~$ 17,95
April 2018

Publisher’s page
Comic Book Movies explores how this genre serves as a source for modern-day myths, sometimes even incorporating ancient mythic figures like Thor and Wonder Woman’s Amazons, while engaging with the questions that haunt a post-9/11 world: How do we define heroism and morality today? How far are we willing to go when fighting terror? How can we resist a dystopian state? Film scholar Blair Davis also considers how the genre’s visual style is equally important as its weighty themes, and he details how advances in digital effects have allowed filmmakers to incorporate elements of comic book art in innovative ways. As he reveals, comic book movies have inspired just as many innovations to Hollywood’s business model, with film franchises and transmedia storytelling helping to ensure that the genre will continue its reign over popular culture for years to come.

The Psychology of Marvel's Wolverine

Untamed:
The Psychology of Marvel’s Wolverine

Suzana E. Flores
McFarland Books
205 pages
ISBN 978-1-4766-7442-1 (Paperback)
~$ 92,95
June 2018

Publisher’s page
Wolverine. Logan. Weapon X. By any name, Marvel Comic’s savage, brooding antihero is, in his own words, the best at what he does—killing with gratuitous precision. Paradoxically violent yet humane, the beer-swilling, cigar-smoking mutant with retractable claws is universally misjudged in the Marvel Universe yet esteemed by fans worldwide. The author explores Wolverine’s development from bit character to modern legend over more than four decades, with a focus on his enduring appeal as an allegory for resilience through torment.

uffering Sappho

Cultures of War in Graphic Novels:
Violence, Trauma, and Memory

Tatiana Prorokova and Nimrod Tal (eds.)
Rutgers University Press
237 pages
ISBN 978-0-8135-9095-0 (Paperback)
~$ 29,95
June 2018

Publisher’s page
Cultures of War in Graphic Novels examines the representation of small-scale and often less acknowledged conflicts from around the world and throughout history. The contributors look at an array of graphic novels about conflicts such as the Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901), the Irish struggle for national independence (1916-1998), the Falkland War (1982), the Bosnian War (1992-1995), the Rwandan genocide (1994), the Israel-Lebanon War (2006), and the War on Terror (2001-). The book explores the multi-layered relation between the graphic novel as a popular medium and war as a pivotal recurring experience in human history. The focus on largely overlooked small-scale conflicts contributes not only to advance our understanding of graphic novels about war and the cultural aspects of war as reflected in graphic novels, but also our sense of the early twenty-first century, in which popular media and limited conflicts have become closely interrelated.

Monitor: New Publications on Comic Books

Weltentwürfe im Comic/Film

Weltentwürfe im Comic/Film:
Mensch, Gesellschaft, Religion

Theresia Heimerl and Christian Wessely (eds.)
Schüren
372 pages
ISBN 978-3-89472-941-7 (Paperback)
~€ 29,90
April 2018

Publisher’s page
Comics, bis in die späten 1990er-Jahre oft als kulturelles Randprodukt gering geschätzt, geraten in Zeiten der multimedialen Kommunikation zunehmend in den Aufmerksamkeitsfokus. Im Comic erscheint das Bild auf das Allerwesentlichste hin destilliert und durch das Medium Text erweitert. In einem bis wenigen Bildern lassen sich so, optimiert für die Aufmerksamkeitsspanne der Web 2.0 – Generation, weltanschauliche, religiöse und soziale Probleme formulieren und zugleich scheinbare oder tatsächliche Lösungsvorschläge transportieren. Ihr Potential für ein Millionenpublikum entfalten sie in den letzten Dekaden aber durch zahlreiche Verfilmungen, ob als Anime, Arthouse oder Blockbuster. Die Erforschung dieses Potentials ist noch weitgehend unentdecktes Gebiet. In diesem Band werden erste Akzente gesetzt.
On Comics and Legal Aesthetics

On Comics and Legal Aesthetics:
Multimodality and the Haunted Mask of Knowing

Thomas Giddens
Routledge
230 pages
ISBN 978-1-1382-2403-2 (Hardcover)
~£ 92,00
April 2018

Publisher’s page
What are the implications of comics for law? Tackling this question, On Comics and Legal Aesthetics explores the epistemological dimensions of comics and the way this once-maligned medium can help think about – and reshape – the form of law. Traversing comics, critical, and cultural legal studies, it seeks to enrich the theorisation of comics with a critical aesthetics that expands its value and significance for law, as well as knowledge more generally. It argues that comics’ multimodality – its hybrid structure, which represents a meeting point of text, image, reason, and aesthetics – opens understanding of the limits of law’s rational texts by shifting between multiple frames and modes of presentation. Comics thereby exposes the way all forms of knowledge are shaped out of an unstructured universe, becoming a mask over this chaotic ‘beyond’. This mask of knowing remains haunted – by that which it can never fully capture or represent. Comics thus models knowledge as an infinity of nested frames haunted by the chaos without structure. In such a model, the multiple aspects of law become one region of a vast and bottomless cascade of perspectives – an infinite multiframe that extends far beyond the traditional confines of the comics page, rendering law boundless.

uffering Sappho

“Suffering Sappho!”:
Lesbian Content and Queer Female Characters in Comics

Special Issue of Journal of Lesbian Studies
Michelle Ann Abate, Karly Marie Grice, and Christine N. Stamper (eds.)
Taylor & Francis
ISSN 1089-4160
Mai 2018

Publisher’s page
Comics have been an important locus of queer female identity, community, and politics for generations. Whether taking the form of newspaper strips, comic books, or graphic novels and memoirs, the medium has a long history of featuring female same-sex attraction, relationships, and identity. This special issue explores the past place, current presence, and possible future status of lesbianism in comics. It features essays about cartoonists such as Jennifer Camper, characters such as Wonder Woman, and titles such as Lumberjanes. This special issue also includes a roundtable that examines underrepresented identities in lesbian comics. These pieces address subjects ranging from the depiction of a Latina lesbian protagonist in AMERICA: The Life and Times of America Chavez and the debut of the first lead Black lesbian female superheroine in Cyberzone to the presentation of queer women in graphic novels from South Asia and the experience of re-reading Hothead Paisan in the age of Trump.

Michelle Ann Abate, Karly Marie Grice und Christine N. Stamper: Introduction: “Suffering Sappho!”: Lesbian content and queer female characters in comics

Caitlin McGurk: Lovers, enemies, and friends: The complex and coded early history of lesbian comic strip characters

Laura M. Jiménez: PoC, LGBTQ, and gender: The intersectionality of America Chavez

Margaret Galvan: Making space: Jennifer Camper, LGBTQ anthologies, and queer comics communities

Poushali Bhadury: “There is no such thing as a straight woman”: Queer female representations in South Asian graphic narratives

Erica Gillingham: Representations of same-sex relationships between female characters in all-ages comics: Princess Princess Ever After and Lumberjanes

Sheena C. Howard: Situating Cyberzone: Black lesbian identity in comics

Cynthia Barounis: Survival angst: Reading Hothead Paisan in the Trump era

Publication: “Empirical Approaches to Comics Research”

Description:

“This edited volume brings together work in the field of empirical comics research. Drawing on computer and cognitive science, psychology and art history, linguistics and literary studies, each chapter presents innovative methods and establishes the practical and theoretical motivations for the quantitative study of comics, manga, and graphic novels. Individual chapters focus on corpus studies, the potential of crowdsourcing for comics research, annotation and narrative analysis, cognitive processing and reception studies. This volume opens up new perspectives for the study of visual narrative, making it a key reference for anyone interested in the scientific study of art and literature as well as the digital humanities.”

Contents:

1. Comics and Empirical Research: An Introduction (Alexander Dunst, Jochen Laubrock, Janina Wildfeuer)

I. Digital Approaches to Comics Research

2. Two Per Cent of What? Constructing a Corpus of Typical American Comic Books (Bart Beaty, Nick Sousanis, Benjamin Woo)

3. The Quantitative Analysis of Comics: Towards a Visual Stylometry of Graphic Narrative (Alexander Dunst, Rita Hartel)

4. “The Spider’s Web”: An Analysis of Fan Mail from Amazing Spider-Man, 1963-1995 (John Walsh, Shawn Martin, Jennifer St. Germain)

5. Crowdsourcing Comics Annotations (Mihnea Tufis and Jean-Gabriel Ganascia)

6. Computer Vision Applied to Comic Book Images (Christophe Rigaud and Jean-Christophe Burie)

II. Linguistics and Multimodal Analysis

7. From Empirical Studies to Visual Narrative Organization: Exploring Page Composition (John A. Bateman, Annika Beckmann, Rocio Varela)

8. Character Developments in Comics and Graphic Novels: A Systematic Analytical Scheme (Chiao-I Tseng, Jochen Laubrock, Jana Pflaeging)

9. How Informative are Information Comics in Science Communication? Empirical Results from an Eye Tracking Study and Knowledge Testing (Hans-Jürgen Bucher, Bettina Boy)

10. The Interpretation of an Evolving Line Drawing (Pascal Lefèvre, Gert Meesters)

III. Cognitive Processing and Comprehension

11. Viewing Static Visual Narratives Through the Lens of the Scene Perception and Event Comprehension Theory (SPECT) (Lester Loschky, John P. Hutson, Maverick E. Smith, Tim J. Smith, Joseph P. Magliano)

12. Attention to Comics: Cognitive Processing during Reading of Graphic Literature (Jochen Laubrock, Sven Hohenstein, Matthias Kümmerer)

13. Reading Words and Images: Factors Influencing Eye Movements in Comic Reading (Clare Kirtley, Christopher Murray, Phillip B. Vaughan, Benjamin W. Tatler)

14. Detecting Differences Between Adapted Narratives: Implication of Order of Modality on Exposure (Joseph P. Magliano, James Clinton, Edward J. O’Brien, David N. Rapp)

15. Visual Language Theory and the Scientific Study of Comics (Neil Cohn)

To the website

Monitor: New Publications on Comic Books

Jessica Jones, Scarred Superhero

Jessica Jones, Scarred Superhero:
Essays on Gender, Trauma and Addiction in the Netflix Series

Tim Rayborn and Abigail Keyes (eds.)
McFarland
247 pages
ISBN 978-1-4766-6684-6 (Paperback)
~$ 35,00
March 2018

Publisher’s page
Jessica Jones barged onto our screens in November 2015, courtesy of Marvel and Netflix, presenting a hard-drinking protagonist who wrestles with her own inner (and outer) demons. Gaining enhanced abilities as a teenager, she eschews the ‘super costume’ and is far more concerned with the problems of daily life. But when Jessica falls under the control of a villain, her life changes forever. Based on the comic book Alias, the show won a large following and critical acclaim for its unflinching look at subjects like abuse, trauma, PTSD, rape culture, alcoholism, drug addiction, victims’ plight and family conflicts. This collection of new essays offers insight into the show’s complex themes and story lines.

Comics Studies Here and Now

Comics Studies Here and Now

Frederick Luis Aldama (ed.)
Routledge
348 pages
ISBN 978-1-1384-9897-6 (Hardcover)
~£ 115,00
May 2018

Publisher’s page
Comics Studies Here and Now marks the arrival of comics studies scholarship that no longer feels the need to justify itself within or against other fields of study. The essays herein move us forward, some in their re-diggings into comics history and others by analyzing comics—and all its transmedial and fan-fictional offshoots—on its own terms. Comics Studies stakes the flag of our arrival—the arrival of comics studies as a full-fledged discipline that today and tomorrow excavates, examines, discusses, and analyzes all aspects that make up the resplendent planetary republic of comics. This collection of scholarly essays is a testament to the fact that comic book studies have come into their own as an academic discipline; simply and powerfully moving comic studies forward with their critical excavations and theoretical formulas based on the common sense understanding that comics add to the world as unique, transformative cultural phenomena.

Working-Class Comic Book Heroes

Working-Class Comic Book Heroes:
Class Conflict and Populist Politics in Comics

Marc DiPaolo (ed.)
University Press of Mississippi
240 pages
ISBN 978-1-4968-1664-1 (Hardcover)
~$ 90,00
May 2018

Publisher’s page
In comic books, superhero stories often depict working-class characters who struggle to make ends meet, lead fulfilling lives, and remain faithful to themselves and their own personal code of ethics. Working-Class Comic Book Heroes: Class Conflict and Populist Politics in Comics examines working-class superheroes and other protagonists who populate heroic narratives in serialized comic books. Essayists analyze and deconstruct these figures, viewing their roles as fictional stand-ins for real-world blue-collar characters. Informed by new working-class studies, the book also discusses how often working-class writers and artists created these characters. Notably Jack Kirby, a working-class Jewish artist, created several of the most recognizable working-class superheroes, including Captain America and the Thing. Contributors weigh industry histories and marketing concerns as well as the fan community’s changing attitudes towards class signifiers in superhero adventures.

Monitor: New Publications on Comic Books

Essays and Interviews on Quebec Comics

BDQ:
Essays and Interviews on Quebec Comics

Andy Brown (ed.)
Conundrum Press
224 pages
ISBN 978-1-77262-018-4 (Paperback)
~$ 25,00
November 2017

Publisher’s page
The comics community in Quebec has long been heralded as unique, blending the clear line aesthetic of Europe with the underground influences of North America. Think Tintin meets R. Crumb. Of course, most of the work is in the French language. And while artists such as Michel Rabagliati, Guy Delisle, and Julie Doucet are now internationally recognized, much of it is still unknown outside the province. Conundrum Press started its BDANG imprint in 2004 to rectify this situation by translating and publishing work from Quebec comic artists. BDANG stands for Bande Dessinée en ANGlais, or French comics in English. This volume is a companion to the imprint, collecting interviews and essays on Quebec comics, to give context to the history and breadth of the work. Read about the early strips in Montreal newspapers at the turn of the century, Albert Chartier, cartoonist of rural Quebec, the zany antics of Red Ketchup, the underground minicomics boom of the 1990s, the anglophones who found themselves a part of the mix, and the hallucinogenic punk prophet Valium.

The Marvel Studios Phenomenon

The Marvel Studios Phenomenon:
Inside a Transmedia Universe

Martin Flanagan, Andrew Livingstone, and Mike McKenny
Bloomsbury
288 pages
ISBN 978-1-5013-3853-3 (Paperback)
~£ 17,39
December 2017

Publisher’s page
Marvel Studios has provided some of the biggest worldwide cinematic hits of the last eight years, from Iron Man (2008) to the record-breaking The Avengers (2012), and beyond. Having announced plans to extend its production of connected texts in cinema, network and online television until at least 2028, the new aesthetic patterns brought about by Marvel’s ‘shared’ media universe demand analysis and understanding. The Marvel Studios Phenomenon evaluates the studio’s identity, as well as its status within the structures of parent Disney. In a new set of readings of key texts such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the thematics of superhero fiction and the role of fandom are considered. The authors identify milestones from Marvel’s complex and controversial business history, allowing us to appraise its industrial status: from a comic publisher keen to exploit its intellectual property, to an independent producer, to successful subsidiary of a vast entertainment empire.

Animal Comics

Animal Comics:
Multispecies Storyworlds in Graphic Narratives

David Herman (ed.)
Bloomsbury
280 pages
ISBN 978-1-3500-1531-9 (Hardcover)
~£ 41,00
December 2017

Publisher’s page
Animal characters abound in graphic narratives ranging from Krazy Kat and Maus to WE3 and Terra Formars. Exploring these and other multispecies storyworlds presented in words and images, Animal Comics draws together work in comics studies, narrative theory, and cross-disciplinary research on animal environments and human-animal relationships to shed new light on comics and graphic novels in which animal agents play a significant role. At the same time, the volume’s international team of contributors show how the distinctive structures and affordances of graphic narratives foreground key questions about trans-species entanglements in a more-than-human world. The writers/artists covered in the book include: Nick Abadzis, Adolpho Avril, Jeffrey Brown, Sue Coe, Matt Dembicki, Olivier Deprez, J. J. Grandville, George Herriman, Adam Hines, William Hogarth, Grant Morrison, Osamu Tezuka, Frank Quitely, Yu Sasuga, Charles M. Schultz, Art Spiegelman, Fiona Staples, Ken’ichi Tachibana, Brian K. Vaughan, and others.

Superheroes and Critical Animal Studies

Superheroes and Critical Animal Studies:
The Heroic Beasts of Total Liberation

J. L. Schatz and Sean Parson (eds.)
Rowman & Littlefield
200 pages
ISBN 978-1-4985-4926-4 (Hardcover)
~$ 90,00
December 2017

Publisher’s page
Superheroes and Critical Animal Studies explores and puts into dialogue two growing field of studies, comic studies and critical animal studies. The book’s aim is to create a form of praxis that people can use to actualize many of the values superheroes strive to protect. To this end, contributor chapters are divided into sections on the foundation of superhero representation and how to teach it, criticisms of particular superheroes and how they fall short of truly protecting the planet, and interpretations of specific characters that can be read to produce a positive orientation to the nonhuman world and craft strategies to promote liberation in the real world. Altogether, the book produces a form of scholarship on the media that is both intersectional in scope and tailored to have an impact on the reader beyond theorizing superheroes for theorization’s sake.

Alan Moore, Out from the Underground

Alan Moore, Out from the Underground:
Cartooning, Performance, and Dissent

Maggie Gray
Palgrave MacMillan
298 pages
ISBN 978-3-319-66507-8 (Hardcover)
~$ 99,99
December 2017

Publisher’s page
This book explores Alan Moore’s career as a cartoonist, as shaped by his transdisciplinary practice as a poet, illustrator, musician and playwright as well as his involvement in the Northampton Arts Lab and the hippie counterculture in which it took place. It traces Moore’s trajectory out from the underground comix scene of the 1970s and into a commercial music press rocked by the arrival of punk. In doing so it uncovers how performance has shaped Moore’s approach to comics and their political potential. Drawing on the work of Bertolt Brecht, who similarly fused political dissent with experimental popular art, this book considers what looking strangely at Alan Moore as cartoonist tells us about comics, their visual and material form, and the performance and politics of their reading and making.

Comics and Authorship

Comics and Authorship:
Special Issue of Authorship 6(2)

Maaheen Ahmed (ed.)
Ghent University
94 pages
ISSN 2034-4643
Open Access
December 2017

Open Access
If media authorship can be understood “as a site of cultural tension” (Johnson and Gray 2013, 10), then a deeper understanding of comics authorship will also provide clues regarding the sustaining—and constraining— of creative practices in other media ecologies and intermedial interactions (such as, for instance, adaptations). For comics, this implies combining insights from comics scholars, practitioners as well as agents involved in the publication and dissemination of comics. This issue, building on the findings of extant scholarship on authorship in comics and other media, hopes to provide incentive for further adventures into the (almost) unknown of comics authorship.