Monitor of Publications

Monitor 68: 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.


Comics and the Origins of Manga: A Revisionist History

Eike Exner

Rutgers University Press
270 pages
November 2021
Publisher’s website

“Japanese comics, commonly known as manga, are a global sensation. Critics, scholars, and everyday readers have often viewed this artform through an Orientalist framework, treating manga as the exotic antithesis to American and European comics. In reality, the history of manga is deeply intertwined with Japan’s avid importation of Western technology and popular culture in the early twentieth century.
Comics and the Origins of Manga reveals how popular U.S. comics characters like Jiggs and Maggie, the Katzenjammer Kids, Felix the Cat, and Popeye achieved immense fame in Japan during the 1920s and 1930s. Modern comics had earlier developed in the United States in response to new technologies like motion pictures and sound recording, which revolutionized visual storytelling by prompting the invention of devices like speed lines and speech balloons. As audiovisual entertainment like movies and record players spread through Japan, comics followed suit. Their immediate popularity quickly encouraged Japanese editors and cartoonists to enthusiastically embrace the foreign medium and make it their own, paving the way for manga as we know it today.
By challenging the conventional wisdom that manga evolved from centuries of prior Japanese art and explaining why manga and other comics around the world share the same origin story, Comics and the Origins of Manga offers a new understanding of this increasingly influential artform.”

 

Key Terms in Comics Studies

Palgrave Studies in Comics and Graphic Novels

Erin La Cour, Simon Grennan, Rik Spanjers (eds.)

Palgrave
390 pages
January 2022
Publisher’s website

Key Terms in Comics Studies is a glossary of over 300 terms and critical concepts currently used in the Anglophone academic study of comics, including those from other languages that are currently adopted and used in English.
Written by nearly 100 international and contemporary experts from the field, the entries are succinctly defined, exemplified, and referenced. The entries are 250 words or fewer, placed in alphabetical order, and explicitly cross-referenced to others in the book.
Key Terms in Comics Studies is an invaluable tool for both students and established researchers alike.”

 

Love, Sex, Gender, and Superheroes

Jeffrey A. Brown

Rutgers University Press
244 pages
November 2021
Publisher’s website

“Impossibly muscular men and voluptuous women parade around in revealing, skintight outfits, and their romantic and sexual entanglements are a key part of the ongoing drama. Such is the state of superhero comics and movies, a genre that has become one of our leading mythologies, conveying influential messages about gender, sexuality, and relationships.
Love, Sex, Gender, and Superheroes examines a full range of superhero media, from comics to films to television to merchandising. With a keen eye for the genre’s complex and internally contradictory mythology, comics scholar Jeffrey A. Brown considers its mixed messages. Superhero comics may reinforce sex roles with their litany of phallic musclemen and slinky femme fatales, but they also blur gender binaries with their emphasis on transformation and body swaps. Similarly, while most heroes have heterosexual love interests, the genre prioritizes homosocial bonding, and it both celebrates and condemns gendered and sexualized violence.
With examples spanning from the Golden Ages of DC and Marvel comics up to recent works like the TV series The Boys, this study provides a comprehensive look at how superhero media shapes our perceptions of love, sex, and gender.”

 

Superheroes and Excess: A Philosophical Adventure

Routledge Advances in Comics Studies

Jamie Brassett, Richard Reynolds (eds.)

Routledge
304 pages
November 2021
Publisher’s website

“Finding the superhero genre in need of further investigation from philosophical standpoints that value excess as a creative drive, rather than denigrate it as a problem to be resolved, this book opens up discussions that highlight different approaches to ‘the creative excess of being’ as expressed through the genre.
While superheroes are an everyday, culturally dominant phenomena, philosophical methods and investigations have a reputation for lofty superiority. Across 13 chapters, this book facilitates a collision between the superhero genre and the discipline of philosophy, resulting in a voyage of exploration where each illuminates the other. The contributions in this book range from new voices to recognized scholars, offering superhero studies a set of critical interventions that are unusual, conceptually diverse, theoretically grounded and varied in practice. These chapters consider ‘excessive’ traits of superheroes against schools of thought that have attempted to conceptualize and understand excess by analysing texts and figures across a variety of mediums, such as The Fantastic Four, Captain America, The Vision, Logan, Black Panther and Super Hero Girls.
With its unique approach to the superhero genre, this book will be an invaluable read for students and scholars working on comic studies, transmedia studies, cultural studies, popular culture and superhero studies.”

Monitor 67: 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.


Robin and the Making of American Adolescence

Lauren R. O’Connor

Rutgers University Press
222 pages
August 2021
publisher’s website

“Holy adolescence, Batman! Robin and the Making of American Adolescence offers the first character history and analysis of the most famous superhero sidekick, Robin. Debuting just a few months after Batman himself, Robin has been an integral part of the Dark Knight’s history—and debuting just a few months prior to the word “teenager” first appearing in print, Robin has from the outset both reflected and reinforced particular images of American adolescence. Closely reading several characters who have “played” Robin over the past eighty years, Robin and the Making of American Adolescence reveals the Boy (and sometimes Girl!) Wonder as a complex figure through whom mainstream culture has addressed anxieties about adolescents in relation to sexuality, gender, and race. This book partners up comics studies and adolescent studies as a new Dynamic Duo, following Robin as he swings alongside the ever-changing American teenager and finally shining the Bat-signal on the latter half of ‘Batman and—.'”

Judge, Jury and Executioner: Essays on The Punisher in Print and on Screen

Alicia M. Goodman, Matthew J McEniry, Ryan Cassidy, Robert G. Weiner (eds.)

McFarland
193 pages
August 2021
publisher’s website

“Since the Punisher’s first appearance in the pages of Spider-Man #129, the character has become one of the most popular and controversial figures in Marvel’s vast universe. The Punisher represents one of the most recognizable types of anti-heroes. His iconic skull insignia stands for a unique type of justice: protecting the innocent while violently eliminating everyone he sees as a villain. This collection examines the Punisher from philosophical perspectives about morality and justice. Essays critique the character through the lenses of gender and feminism; consider the Punisher’s veteran status in relation the Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq wars; and examine how politics and gun violence connect the Punisher’s world with the real world. Many iterations of the Punisher are examined within, including the Netflix release of Marvel’s The Punisher, comics series such as Punisher: MAX, Marvel Knights, and Cosmic Ghost Rider, and several fan fiction stories.”

 

The Comic Strip Art of Jack B. Yeats

Michael Connerty

Palgrave Macmillan
283 pages
August 2021
publisher’s website

“This monograph seeks to recover and assess the critically neglected comic strip work produced by the Irish painter Jack B. Yeats for various British publications, including Comic Cuts, The Funny Wonder, and Puck, between 1893 and 1917. It situates the work in relation to late-Victorian and Edwardian media, entertainment and popular culture, as well as to the evolution of the British comic during this crucial period in its development. Yeats’ recurring characters, including circus horse Signor McCoy, detective pastiche Chubblock Homes, and proto-superhero Dicky the Birdman, were once very well-known, part of a boom in cheap and widely distributed comics that Alfred Harmsworth and others published in London from 1890 onwards. The repositioning of Yeats in the context of the comics, and the acknowledgement of the very substantial corpus of graphic humour that he produced, has profound implications for our understanding of his artistic career and of his significant contribution to UK comics history. This book, which also contains many examples of the work, should therefore be of value to those interested in Comics Studies, Irish Studies, and Art History.”

 

The Comics World: Comic Books, Graphic Novels, and Their Publics

Benjamin Woo, Jeremy Stoll (eds.)

University Press of Mississippi
286 pages
July 2021
publisher’s website

The Comics World: Comic Books, Graphic Novels, and Their Publics is the first collection to explicitly examine the production, circulation, and reception of comics from a social-scientific point of view. Designed to promote interdisciplinary dialogue about theory and methods in comics studies, this volume draws on approaches from fields as diverse as sociology, political science, history, folklore, communication studies, and business, among others, to study the social life of comics and graphic novels.
Taking the concept of a “comics world”—that is, the collection of people, roles, and institutions that “produce” comics as they are—as its organizing principle, the book asks readers to attend to the contexts that shape how comics move through societies and cultures. Each chapter explores a specific comics world or particular site where comics meet one of their publics, such as artists and creators; adaptors; critics and journalists; convention-goers; scanners; fans; and comics scholars themselves. Through their research, contributors demonstrate some of the ways that people participate in comics worlds and how the relationships created in these spaces can provide different perspectives on comics and comics studies.
Moving beyond the page, The Comics World explores the complexity of the lived reality of the comics world: how comics and graphic novels matter to different people at different times, within a social space shared with others.”

Journal Monitor 11: New Publications on Comic Books

The Journal Monitor is a subcategory of the regular Monitor. It is an irregularly published overview of issues of international journals on comics studies as well as special issues on corresponding topics. The introductory texts and/or tables of contents come from the respective websites.
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.


Inks: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society 5.1 & 2

online via subscription
Website

5.2

  • Michelle Ann Abate: “’Sometimes My Hand Shakes So Much I Have to Hold My Wrist to Draw’: Charles M. Schulz and Disability”
  • Yosa Vidal: “The Aesthetic and Political Economy of Betrayal in Oesterheld’s Two Versions of The Eternaut I
  • Justin Wigard: “’The Fearless Spaceman Spiff, Interplanetary Explorer Extraordinaire’: Parodic Imagination and the Pulp Aesthetic in Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes
  • Rik Spanjers, Aimée de Jongh, Kees Ribbens: “’I Am Always Amazed About What I Find Out When I Get on the Ground’: Joe Sacco On, Before, and After the Page”

5.1

  • Benjamin Bigelow, Rüdiger Singer: “Introduction: Migration in Twenty-First-Century Documentary Comics”
  • Benjamin Bigelow: “Presenting Absence: Migration and Dislocation in Lene Ask’s Dear Rikard (2014)”
  • Ning Ma: “Beyond Race: The Monkey King and Creative Polyculturalism in Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese
  • Elizabeth “Biz” Nijdam: “Tying Up Loose Ends: The Fabric of Panel Borders in Kate Evans’ Threads
  • Agnès Schaffauser: “The Wretched of the Sea: Clandestine Immigration and Graphic Artistry in Bessora and Barroux’s Alpha: Abidjan to Gare du Nord

 

Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics 

online via subscription
Website

  • Emily A. Geest, Ashley R. Knoch, Andrine A. Shufran: “Villainous snakes and heroic butterflies, the moral alignment of animal-themed characters in American superhero comic books”
  • N. Yadav: “Whose line is it anyway: graphic anthology drawing the line as a counter to mainstream rape reportage in India”
  • Jeffrey A. Brown: “‘I’m too old for this #$&%.’ Old Wolverine and masculinity”
  • Anna-Sophie Jürgens, David Tscharke, Jochen Brocks: “From Caligari to Joker: the clown prince of crime’s psychopathic science”
  • Philip Smith: “Representations of Israel, literal and allegorical, in X-Men comics”
  • Steven W. Holloway, Justina Kaiser, Brian Flota:Re-imagining (black) comic book cataloguing: increasing accessibility through metadata at one university library”
  • James Hodapp: “Fashioning Africanfuturism: African comics, Afrofuturism, and Nnedi Okorafor’s Shuri
  • Luis J. Tosina Fernández: “Visual representation of proverbs in comic books and their translation: Asterix as a paradigmatic case”
  • Fatemeh Badi-Ozaman, Masoud Sharififar, Mina Zandrahimi: “Analysing the Persian translation of sound effects in comic books by Celotti’s strategies”
  • Wajeehah Aayeshah: “Hockey sticks, purple smoke bombs, and empathy: female character representation in Pakistani comics”
  • Kalervo A. Sinervo, Ariela Freedman: “Feeling your pain: empathy in comics”
  • Raees Calafato, Freda Gudim: “Comics as a multimodal resource and students’ willingness to communicate in Russian”
  • Sohini Bera, Rajni Singh: “Appeal for embracing posthumanist perspectives in Orijit Sen’s The River of Stories
  • Harriet Earle: “Traumatic absurdity, palimpsest, and play: A Slaughterhouse-Five case study”
  • Natalia Banasik-Jemielniak: “‘Unicorn humour isn’t very subtle.’ Graphic novels and comics as a potential didactic tool for teaching irony to children: the example of Dana Simpson’s Phoebe and her unicorn
  • Betül Gaye Dinç, Ilgım Veryeri Alaca: “Göbeklitepe and Ecological Thinking: Human/Nature Entanglement in Firat Yasa’s Graphic Novel Tepe (The Hill)”
  • Manatchai Amponpeerapan, Jaray Singhakowinta: “Confrontations and exchanges of virtue ethics: a study of dialectical friendship between superman and batman in comic books”
  • Sandra Rousseau” “Of shapes and sounds : identity and Algerian memory in Nawel Louerrad’s graphic novels”
  • Bruce Mutard, Stuart Medley, Helen Kara: “Scholarship in action”
  • Kyra Kietrys: “Antonio Altarriba’s El ala rota: remembering a woman hidden in ‘the back room of history’”
  • Nicholas Werse: “Framing Religious Violence: Exploring the Paths to Faith and Apostasy in Punk Rock Jesus
  • Partha Bhattacharjee, Priyanka Tripathi, Bidisha Pal: “‘The problem of gender violence in India… was not a legal problem, but a cultural problem’: a conversation with comics creator Ram Devineni”

Studies in Comics 11.2

print via subscription
Website

  • Xosé Pereira Boán:
    ”Forging intragenerational and common memories: Revisiting Paracuellos’s graphic violence in times of confinement”
  • Benoît Crucifix: “Jojo, Jimmy and Marie Chairne: What scribbled comics can (not) tell us”
  • Keiko Miyajima: “Queering the palate: The erotics and politics of food in Japanese gourmet manga”
  • Monica Chiu: “Graphic panelling and the promotion of transnational affiliations in Thien Pham’s Sumo
  • Daniel Pinti: “Panelling without walls: Narrating the border in Barrier
  • Orion Ussner Kidder: “Fire in the jungle: Genocide and colonization in Russell and Pugh’s The Flintstones
  • Amrita Singh: “Photographic silence: Remediating the graphic to visualize migrant experience in Shaun Tan’s The Arrival
  • Christopher A. Crawford, Igor Juricevic: “Understanding pictorial metaphor in comic book covers: A test of the contextual and structural frameworks”
  • Chester N. Scoville: “‘She’s practically normal!’: Disability, gender and image in Doom Patrol
  • Dragoş Manea, Mihaela Precup: “‘Who were you crying for?’: Empathy, fantasy and the framing of the perpetrator in Nina Bunjevac’s Bezimena
  • Paul A. Aleixo, Daniel Matkin, Laura Kilby: “What do teachers think about the educational role of comic books?: A qualitative analysis”

Monitor 66: 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.


Die Shoah im Comic seit 2000: Erinnern zeichnen

Thomas Merten

De Gruyter
357 pages
May 2021
publisher’s websitee

“Wie erinnern künftige Generationen an die Shoah, wenn die letzten Zeitzeugen gestorben sind? Die Comics der vergangenen Jahre geben Hinweise darauf: Während die Kinder noch versuchen, Anschluss an die nicht mehr selbst erlebte, aber gleichwohl als einschneidend erfahrene Vergangenheit ihrer Eltern herzustellen – und sich davon zu emanzipieren –, beschäftigt sich die Enkelgeneration primär mit der Tatsache, dass sie die Shoah hauptsächlich medial oder aus zweiter Hand erzählt bekommt.
Um die Geschehnisse besser zu verstehen, versuchen die jüngeren Autorinnen und Autoren, das Bezeugen der historischen Ereignisse selbst nachzuempfinden oder versetzen die Handlung gleich gänzlich ins Jetzt – wo die Shoah vor allem als Spuren und Spätfolgen zu ihnen vordringt. So holen sie Vergangenes eindringlich in die Gegenwart und üben ihrerseits Kritik an Darstellungen, die eher Distanz als Nähe zur Shoah erzeugen. In neueren Comics wollen sie nicht mehr nur von einer vermeintlich fernen Vergangenheit erzählen, sondern deren Auswirkungen und Parallelen in der eigenen Lebenswelt verstehen. So besteht die Chance, die Shoah auch anderen zu vermitteln, die keinen persönlichen Bezug zur Geschichte mehr haben können – und damit dem Vergessen etwas entgegenzusetzen.
Diese Arbeit ordnet die Comics in die gegenwärtige Entwicklung ein, liefert eine kurze Geschichte des Sujets “Shoah-Comic” und entwickelt dazu eine Theorie des erinnernden Comics. Zusätzlich werden Werke von Autorinnen und Autoren der Kinder- und Enkelgeneration untersucht und miteinander verglichen, darunter Comics von Michel Kichka, Bernice Eisenstein, Rutu Modan, Barbara Yelin und Reinhard Kleist.
Eine Spurensuche danach, wie die Nachkommen in Sprechblasen und Panels ihre Rolle im Gefüge der Zeit finden und mit eigenem Wissen, eigenen Deutungen und eigenen Fragen anreichern.”

 

Creation, Translation, and Adaptation in Donald Duck Comics: The Dream of Three Lifetimes

Peter Cullen Bryan

Palgrave Macmillan
222 pages
May 2021
publisher’s website

“This book examines the scope and nature of Donald Duck and his family’s popularity in Germany, in contrast to the diminished role they play in America. This is achieved through examination of the respective fan communities, business practices, and universality of the characters. This work locates and understands the aspects of translation and adaptation that inform the spread of culture that have as yet been underexplored in the context of comic books. It represents a large-scale attempt to incorporate adaptation and translation studies into comics studies, through a lens of fan studies (used to examine both the American and German fan communities, as well as the work of Don Rosa). This work builds on the efforts of other scholars, including Janet Wasko and Illaria Meloni, while expanding the historical understanding of what might be the world’s best-selling comics.”

 

Politics in the Gutters: American Politicians and Elections in Comic Book Media

Christina M. Knopf

University Press of Mississippi
306 pages
July 2021
publisher’s website

“From the moment Captain America punched Hitler in the jaw, comic books have always been political, and whether it is Marvel’s chairman Ike Perlmutter making a campaign contribution to Donald Trump in 2016 or Marvel’s character Howard the Duck running for president during America’s bicentennial in 1976, the politics of comics have overlapped with the politics of campaigns and governance. Pop culture opens avenues for people to declare their participation in a collective project and helps them to shape their understandings of civic responsibility, leadership, communal history, and present concerns.
Politics in the Gutters: American Politicians and Elections in Comic Book Media opens with an examination of campaign comic books used by the likes of Herbert Hoover and Harry S. Truman, follows the rise of political counterculture comix of the 1960s, and continues on to the graphic novel version of the 9/11 Report and the cottage industry of Sarah Palin comics. It ends with a consideration of comparisons to Donald Trump as a supervillain and a look at comics connections to the pandemic and protests that marked the 2020 election year.
More than just escapist entertainment, comics offer a popular yet complicated vision of the American political tableau. Politics in the Gutters considers the political myths, moments, and mimeses, in comic books—from nonfiction to science fiction, superhero to supernatural, serious to satirical, golden age to present day—to consider how they represent, re-present, underpin, and/or undermine ideas and ideals about American electoral politics.”

 

Rebirth of the English Comic Strip: A Kaleidoscope, 1847-1870

David Kunzle

University Press of Mississippi
472 pages
July 2021
publisher’s website

Rebirth of the English Comic Strip: A Kaleidoscope, 1847–1870 enters deep into an era of comic history that has been entirely neglected. This buried cache of mid-Victorian graphic humor is marvelously rich in pictorial narratives of all kinds. Author David Kunzle calls this period a “rebirth” because of the preceding long hiatus in use of the new genre, since the Great Age of Caricature (c. 1780–c. 1820) when the comic strip was practiced as a sideline. Suddenly in 1847, a new, post-Töpffer comic strip sparks to life in Britain, mostly in periodicals, and especially in Punch, where all the best artists of the period participated, if only sporadically: Richard Doyle, John Tenniel, John Leech, Charles Keene, and George Du Maurier. Until now, this aspect of the extensive oeuvre of the well-known masters of the new journal cartoon in Punch has been almost completely ignored. Exceptionally, George Cruikshank revived just once in The Bottle, independently, the whole serious, contrasting Hogarthian picture story.
Numerous comic strips and picture stories appeared in periodicals other than Punch by artists who were likewise largely ignored. Like the Punch luminaries, they adopt in semirealistic style sociopolitical subject matter easily accessible to their (lower-)middle-class readership. The topics covered in and out of Punch by these strips and graphic novels range from French enemies King Louis-Philippe and Emperor Napoleon III to farcical treatment of major historical events: the Bayeux tapestry (1848), the Great Exhibition of 1851, and the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. Artists explore a great variety of social types, occupations, and situations such as the emigrant, the tourist, fox hunting and Indian big game hunting, dueling, the forlorn lover, the student, the artist, the toothache, the burglar, the paramilitary volunteer, Darwinian animal metamorphoses, and even nightmares. In Rebirth of the English Comic Strip, Kunzle analyzes these much-neglected works down to the precocious modernist and absurdist scribbles of Marie Duval, Europe’s first female professional cartoonist.”

New Publication: Handbook of Comics and Graphic Narratives

Today we announce a publication that has the potential to quickly become a standard work in the field of comics studies: the Handbook of Comics and Graphic Narratives, published by De Gruyter. Edited by Sebastian Domsch, Dan Hassler-Forest and ComFor member Dirk Vanderbeke, this handbook unites a variety of critical approaches, historical contexts, and close readings. We are particularly happy that there are several ComFor members among the contributors to this unique volume.

Go to publisher’s website.

Publisher’s description:

“Whether one describes them as sequential art, graphic narratives or graphic novels, comics have become a vital part of contemporary culture. Their range of expression contains a tremendous variety of forms, genres and modes − from high to low, from serial entertainment for children to complex works of art. This has led to a growing interest in comics as a field of scholarly analysis, as comics studies has established itself as a major branch of criticism. This handbook combines a systematic survey of theories and concepts developed in the field alongside an overview of the most important contexts and themes and a wealth of close readings of seminal works and authors. It will prove to be an indispensable handbook for a large readership, ranging from researchers and instructors to students and anyone else with a general interest in this fascinating medium.”

Contents:

Introduction

  • Sebastian Domsch, Dirk Vanderbeke, Dan Hassler-Forest: “Comics Studies: Survey of the Field”

Part I: Systematic Aspects

Part II: Contexts and Themes

  • Stephan Packard: “Politics”
  • Dan Hassler-Forest: “World-Building”
  • Astrid Böger: “Life Writing”
  • Anna Oleszczuk: “Gender”
  • Kay Sohini: “Queerness”
  • Heike Elisabeth Jüngst: “Science Comics”
  • Sandra Heinen: “Postcolonial Perspectives”
  • Marie Vanderbeke: “DocuComics in the Classroom”
  • Dan Hassler-Forest: “Superheroes – Historical Overview”
  • Matt Yockey: “Superheroes – The Golden Age: Batman”
  • Matt Boyd Smith: “Superheroes – The Silver Age: Nick Fury”
  • William Proctor: “Superheroes – The Dark Age: Superheroes in the 1980s”

Part III: Close Readings

  • Christina Meyer: “Richard F. Outcault: The Yellow Kid
  • Corey Creekmur: “George Herriman: Krazy Kat
  • Sebastian Domsch: “Winsor McCay: Little Nemo in Slumberland
  • Eric Hoffman: “Dave Sim: Cerebus
  • Martin Lund: “Will Eisner: A Contract with God
  • Dawn Stobbart: “Raymond Briggs: When the Wind Blows
  • Joanne Pettitt: “Art Spiegelman: Maus
  • Nicola Glaubitz: “Robert Crumb”
  • Monika Pietrzak-Franger: “Alan Moore: From Hell
  • Evan Hayles Gledhill: “Neil Gaiman: The Sandman
  • Erin La Cour: “Alison Bechdel: Dykes to Watch Out For
  • Gerry Canavan: “Chris Ware: Jimmy Corrigan – The Smartest Kid on Earth
  • Erik Grayson: “Daniel Clowes: Ghost World
  • Luisa Menzel: “Martin Rowson: The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
  • Harriet Earle: “Marjane Satrapi: Persepolis
  • Oliver Moisich: “Grant Morrison: Flex Mentallo

 

Monitor 65: 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.


Mixed-Race Superheroes

Sika A. Dagbovie-Mullins, Eric L. Berlatsky (eds.)

Rutgers University Press
288 pages
April 2021
publisher’s website

“American culture has long represented mixed-race identity in paradoxical terms. On the one hand, it has been associated with weakness, abnormality, impurity, transgression, shame, and various pathologies; however, it can also connote genetic superiority, exceptional beauty, and special potentiality. This ambivalence has found its way into superhero media, which runs the gamut from Ant-Man and the Wasp’s tragic mulatta villain Ghost to the cinematic depiction of Aquaman as a heroic ‘half-breed.’
The essays in this collection contend with the multitude of ways that racial mixedness has been presented in superhero comics, films, television, and literature. They explore how superhero media positions mixed-race characters within a genre that has historically privileged racial purity and propagated images of white supremacy. The book considers such iconic heroes as Superman, Spider-Man, and The Hulk, alongside such lesser-studied characters as Valkyrie, Dr. Fate, and Steven Universe. Examining both literal and symbolic representations of racial mixing, this study interrogates how we might challenge and rewrite stereotypical narratives about mixed-race identity, both in superhero media and beyond.”

 

Alan Moore: A Critical Guide

Jackson Ayres

Bloomsbury
256 pages
April 2021
publisher’s website

“A complete guide to the comics work of the writer Alan Moore, this book helps readers explore one of the genre’s most important, compelling and subversive writers. In an accessible and easy-to-navigate format, the book covers: Moore’s comics career – from his early work in 2000AD to his breakthrough graphic novels and his later battles with the industry; Moore’s major works – including Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Saga of the Swamp Thing and Promethea; key themes and contexts – from Moore’s subversion of the superhero genre and metafictional techniques to his creative collaborations and battles with the industry for creator control; and critical approaches to Moore’s work. The book includes a bibliography of critical work on Moore and discussion questions for classroom use.”

 

Is Superman Circumcised? The Complete Jewish History of the World’s Greatest Hero

Roy Schwartz

McFarland
374 pages
May 2021
publisher’s website

“Superman is the original superhero, an American icon, and arguably the most famous character in the world—and he’s Jewish! Introduced in June 1938, the Man of Steel was created by two Jewish teens, Jerry Siegel, the son of immigrants from Eastern Europe, and Joe Shuster, an immigrant. They based their hero’s origin story on Moses, his strength on Samson, his mission on the golem, and his nebbish secret identity on themselves. They made him a refugee fleeing catastrophe on the eve of World War II and sent him to tear Nazi tanks apart nearly two years before the US joined the war. In the following decades, Superman’s mostly Jewish writers, artists, and editors continued to borrow Jewish motifs for their stories, basing Krypton’s past on Genesis and Exodus, its society on Jewish culture, the trial of Lex Luthor on Adolf Eichmann’s, and a future holiday celebrating Superman on Passover. A fascinating journey through comic book lore, American history, and Jewish tradition, this book examines the entirety of Superman’s career from 1938 to date, and is sure to give readers a newfound appreciation for the Mensch of Steel!”

 

The Comics of R. Crumb: Underground in the Art Museum

Daniel Worden (Ed.)

University Press of Mississippi
318 pages
May 2021
publisher’s website

“From his work on underground comix like Zap and Weirdo, to his cultural prominence, R. Crumb is one of the most renowned comics artists in the medium’s history. His work, beginning in the 1960s, ranges provocatively and controversially over major moments, tensions, and ideas in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, from the counterculture and the emergence of the modern environmentalist movement, to racial politics and sexual liberation.
While Crumb’s early work refined the parodic, over-the-top, and sexually explicit styles we associate with underground comix, he also pioneered the comics memoir, through his own autobiographical and confessional comics, as well as in his collaborations. More recently, Crumb has turned to long-form, book-length works, such as his acclaimed Book of Genesis and Kafka. Over the long arc of his career, Crumb has shaped the conventions of underground and alternative comics, autobiographical comics, and the “graphic novel. ” And, through his involvement in music, animation, and documentary film projects, Crumb is a widely recognized persona, an artist who has defined the vocation of the cartoonist in a widely influential way.
The Comics of R. Crumb: Underground in the Art Museum is a groundbreaking collection on the work of a pioneer of underground comix and a fixture of comics culture. Ranging from art history and literary studies, to environmental studies and religious history, the essays included in this volume cast Crumb’s work as formally sophisticated and complex in its representations of gender, sexuality, race, politics, and history, while also charting Crumb’s role in underground comix and the ways in which his work has circulated in the art museum.”


Journal Monitor 11: New Publications on Comic Books

The Journal Monitor is a subcategory of the regular Monitor. It is an irregularly published overview of issues of international journals on comics studies as well as special issues on corresponding topics. The introductory texts and/or tables of contents come from the respective websites.
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.


European Comic Art

online via subscription
Website

  • Laurence Grove, Anne Magnussen, Ann Miller: “Introduction: Re-viewing the Past and Facing the Future”
  • Philippe Delisle: “Tintin ‘In Black and White’: A Catholic Social Manifesto?”
  • Thierry Groensteen: “From Cerisy to Oubapo”
  • Jean-Christophe Menu, Fabrice Neaud: “Autobiography: An Autopsy”
  • Ann Miller: “Interview with Hannah Berry”

 

Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics

online via subscription
Website

  • Jeffery Klaehn: “Talking comics, life and art with cartoonist E.S. Glenn”
  • Andrea Modarres: “‘Aamir’s just a dork’: Ms. Marvel’s re-vision of Islam in America”
  • Justin Mellette: “Of Men and Mongrels: Myth and Queer Representation in Brian K. Vaughan’s Y: The Last Man and Saga
  • Laura Antola: “Transnational Adaptation of a Marvel comic book event: the case of X-Men: ‘fatal attractions’ in Finland”
  • Mario Grande-de-Prado: “Quantitative review of articles about comic & education in ibero-america”
  • Dr. Shilpa Daithota Bhat: “Sita-centric Revisionism in Sita’s Ramayana, Androcentric Encoding and Conceptualizing the Diasporic abla nari”
  • Darnel Degand: “Golden Legacy versus Trivialising Tropes: An examination of The Saga of Toussaint L’Ouverture and the Birth of Haiti
  • Alberta Natasia Adji, Marcella Polain: “‘We cannot heal what we will not face’: dismantling the cultural trauma and the May ’98 riots in Rani P Collaborations’ Chinese Whispers
  • Anna Nordenstam, Margareta Wallin Wictorin: “Comics craftivism: embroidery in contemporary Swedish feminist comics”
  • John Miers, Thierry Chessum, Paul Fisher Davies: “Triangulation”

 

Comicalités – Études de culture graphique

online (open access)
Website

  • Nicolas Labarre: “Selling Horror: the early Warren comics magazines”
  • Jan Baetens: “Bande dessinée, formats, hors-champ: l’enseignement des blow books”
  • Benjamin Caraco: “Devenir auteur de bande dessinée. Le cas des anciens élèves de l’atelier d’illustration de Strasbourg”

Journal Monitor 10: New Publications on Comic Books

The Journal Monitor is a subcategory of the regular Monitor. It is an irregularly published overview of issues of international journals on comics studies as well as special issues on corresponding topics. The introductory texts and/or tables of contents come from the respective websites.
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.


Inks – The Journal of the Comics Studies Society 4.3

online via subscription
Website

  • Jocelyn Sakal Froese: “Lateral Moves and Ghostly Gay Children: Queer Spatial Metaphors in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home
  • Dru Jeffries: “‘Bacon Tho’: Richard Watts’ Vegan Sidekick Comics as Social Media Activism”
  • Marc Singer: “George Pérez and the Classical Narrative Style”
  • Lorraine York: “‘A Good Place Where to Be’: Un-placing Mobilities in Julie Doucet’s My New York Diary
  • Shiamin Kwa: “‘Text Messages and Ghosts Are a JOY’: A Conversation with Cartoonist Marnie Galloway”
  • Zoë Smith: “4 Colorism: The Ashiness of It All”

 

Studies in Comics 11.1

online via subscription
Website

  • Christopher Murray, Golnar Nabizadeh: “Educational and public information comics, 1940s–present”
  • Lars Wallner, Katarina Eriksson Barajas: “Using comics and graphic novels in K-9 education: An integrative research review”
  • Helen Jones: “Caticorns and Derp Warz: Exploring children’s literacy worlds through the production of comics”
  • Sam Boer: “‘Maybe I’ll make something with it’: Comics as alternative sex education”
  • Matt Reingold: “Studying anti-Semitism using primary sources in graphic novels”
  • Brianna Anderson: “Revolutionary paratext and critical pedagogy in Nathan Hale’s One Dead Spy
  • Dona Pursall: “Learning to be a lord, a friend, ‘a human’: Lord Snooty as a comic strip representation of John Macmurray’s philosophies of social and emotional learning”
  • Damon Herd, Divya Jindal-Snape, Christopher Murray, Megan Sinclair: “Comics Jam: Creating healthcare and science communication comics – A sprint co-design methodology”
  • Zak Waipara: “The Call to Adventure”
  • Nelly Rosario: “Life Beats of Dr Diana G., as Told to Nelly Rosario”

 

IJOCA – International Journal of Comic Art 22.1

Cultural Imperialism Strikes Back: A South American Symposium

print
Website

  • Martín Alejandro Salinas, Sebastián Horacio Gago: “Cultural Imperialism Strikes Back: A South American Symposium”
  • Martin Alejandro Salinas: “One World, Many Batmen: From Cultural Imperialism to the Culture of the Empire”
  • Sebastian Gago: “‘What Does a Few Lives Matter?’: Notes on Two Comic-book Invasions of Héctor Oesterheld(1974-1977)”
  • Ivan Lima Gomes: “Graphic Narratives, a Tool of Imperialism in South America? Deconstructing American Superheroes in Brazilian and Chilean Comics (1960-1970)”
  • Lucas R. Berone: “Writing the History of Comics: The Case of the Di Tella Biennial (Buenos Aires, 1968)”
  • Rodrigo Browne S., Rosmery-Ann Boegeholz C.: “Disney Academy: Donald Duck as the Western Imperialism Paradigm”
  • Ignacio Fernández Sarasola: “Toxic Reading Material: Techniques Used by Society and G overnments to Control Comic Books”
  • Jasleen Kandhari: “Graphic Narratives in Sikh Comics: Iconography and Religiosity as a Critical Art Historical Enquiry of the Sikh Comics Art Form”
  • Marty Branagan: “Tintin: From Violent, Communist-Hating Conservative to Radical Peacenik”
  • Levi Obonyo, Njoki Chege: “Lost in Modernity: Doodling in the Digital Age”
  • Robyn Johnson: “Sacrificing Healing: The Loss and Resilience of Yurok Healing in Chag Lowry and Rahsan Ekedal’s Soldiers Unknown”
  • Mirvat Mohamed, Kirsten Møllegaard: “This Land Is Whose Land? Voices of Belonging in Three First-Generation American Graphic Memoirs”
  • Chris Reyns-Chikuma: “Représentations de l’autre solitude dans quelques BD et comics canadiens dont l’histoire se passe à Montréal (Representations of the Other Solitude in Select Canadian Comics and BDs Which Take Place in Montréal)
  • Yan Chuanming, Xu Ying, John A. Lent: “Chinese Comic Art Museums and Centers”
  • Ahmed Baroody: “Anime and Gender Roles in Kuwaiti Islamic Culture: A Conflict of Cultural Values?”
  • Michal Chudolinski: “The Outdatedness of Superheroism? The Condition of the Superhero Myth: Past and Today”
  • Iwan Zahar, Toni Masdiono, John A. Lent: “Hans Jaladara, Creator of Indonesia’s Panji Tengkorak”
  • Iwan Zahar, Toni Masdiono: “Ganesh TH, the Author of Si Buta dari Goa Hantu: The Most Celebrated Comics of the Indonesian Comics Golden Age”
  • David Kunzle: “Nearly 50 Years Ago – An Early Glimpse of China’s Maoist Comics: A Review”
  • Jeffrey O. Segrave, John A. Cosgrove: “‘You’re a star if you can louse up 70% of the time’: Sport in Jeff MacNelly’s Shoe
  • Jakob F. Dittmar: “Flexible Comics?: Sequential Images on Screen Media”
  • Jason D. DeHart: “A Transmedia Case Study: Batman — The Animated Series”

 

SANE journal – Sequential Art Narrative in Education 2.5

online, open access
Website

  • David Lewkowich, Michelle Miller Stafford: “‘Because like – and so I don’t – so I think it’s maybe, I don’t know’: Performing traumatic effects while reading Lynda Barry’s The Freddie Stories

Monitor 64: 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.


Immigrants and Comics:
Graphic Spaces of Remembrance, Transaction, and Mimesis

Nhora Lucía Serrano (ed.)

Routledge
268 pages
March 2021
Publisher’s website

Immigrants and Comics is an interdisciplinary, themed anthology that focuses on how comics have played a crucial role in representing, constructing, and reifying the immigrant subject and the immigrant experience in popular global culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Nhora Lucía Serrano and a diverse group of contributors examine immigrant experience as they navigate new socio-political milieux in cartoons, comics, and graphic novels across cultures and time periods. They interrogate how immigration is portrayed in comics and how the ‘immigrant’ was an indispensable and vital trope to the development of the comics medium in the twentieth century. At the heart of the book‘s interdisciplinary nexus is a critical framework steeped in the ideas of remembrance and commemoration, what Pierre Nora calls lieux de mémoire.
This book will be of interest to students and scholars in Visual Studies, Comparative Literature, English, Ethnic Studies, Francophone Studies, American Studies, Hispanic Studies, art history, and museum studies.”

 


Hot Pants and Spandex Suits: Gender Representation in American Superhero Comic Books

Esther De Dauw

Rutgers University Press
216 pages
January 2021
Publisher’s website

“The superheroes from DC and Marvel comics are some of the most iconic characters in popular culture today. But how do these figures idealize certain gender roles, body types, sexualities, and racial identities at the expense of others?
Hot Pants and Spandex Suits offers a far-reaching look at how masculinity and femininity have been represented in American superhero comics, from the Golden and Silver Ages to the Modern Age. Scholar Esther De Dauw contrasts the bulletproof and musclebound phallic bodies of classic male heroes like Superman, Captain America, and Iron Man with the figures of female counterparts like Wonder Woman and Supergirl, who are drawn as superhumanly flexible and plastic. It also examines the genre’s ambivalent treatment of LGBTQ representation, from the presentation of gay male heroes Wiccan and Hulkling as a model minority couple to the troubling association of Batwoman’s lesbianism with monstrosity. Finally, it explores the intersection between gender and race through case studies of heroes like Luke Cage, Storm, and Ms. Marvel.
Hot Pants and Spandex Suits is a fascinating and thought-provoking consideration of what superhero comics teach us about identity, embodiment, and sexuality.”

 

R. Crumb:
Literature, Autobiography, and the Quest for Self

David Stephen Calonne

University Press of Mississippi
288 pages
February 2021
Publisher’s website

“Robert Crumb (b. 1943) read widely and deeply a long roster of authors including Robert Louis Stevenson, Charles Dickens, J. D. Salinger, Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and Allen Ginsberg, as well as religious classics including biblical, Buddhist, Hindu, and Gnostic texts. Crumb’s genius, according to author David Stephen Calonne, lies in his ability to absorb a variety of literary, artistic, and spiritual traditions and incorporate them within an original, American mode of discourse that seeks to reveal his personal search for the meaning of life.
R. Crumb: Literature, Autobiography, and the Quest for Self contains six chapters that chart Crumb’s intellectual trajectory and explore the recurring philosophical themes that permeate his depictions of literary and biographical works and the ways he responds to them through innovative, dazzling compositional techniques.
Calonne explores the ways Crumb develops concepts of solitude, despair, desire, and conflict as aspects of the quest for self in his engagement with the book of Genesis and works by Franz Kafka, Jean-Paul Sartre, the Beats, Charles Bukowski, and Philip K. Dick, as well as Crumb’s illustrations of biographies of musicians Jelly Roll Morton and Charley Patton. Calonne demonstrates how Crumb’s love for literature led him to attempt an extremely faithful rendering of the texts he admired while at the same time highlighting for his readers the particular hidden philosophical meanings he found most significant in his own autobiographical quest for identity and his authentic self.”

 

Mysterious Travelers:
Steve Ditko and the Search for a New Liberal Identity

Zack Kruse

University Press of Mississippi
286 pages
February 2021
Publisher’s website

“Steve Ditko (1927–2018) is one of the most important contributors to American comic books. As the cocreator of Spider-Man and sole creator of Doctor Strange, Ditko made an indelible mark on American popular culture. Mysterious Travelers: Steve Ditko and the Search for a New Liberal Identity resets the conversation about his heady and powerful work. Always inward facing, Ditko’s narratives employed superhero and supernatural fantasy in the service of self-examination, and with characters like the Question, Mr. A, and Static, Ditko turned ordinary superhero comics into philosophic treatises. Many of Ditko’s philosophy-driven comics show a clear debt to ideas found in Ayn Rand’s Objectivism. Unfortunately, readers often reduce Ditko’s work to a mouthpiece for Rand’s vision. Mysterious Travelers unsettles this notion.
In this book, Zack Kruse argues that Ditko’s philosophy draws on a complicated network of ideas that is best understood as mystic liberalism. Although Ditko is not the originator of mystic liberalism, his comics provide a unique window into how such an ideology operates in popular media. Examining selections of Ditko’s output from 1953 to 1986, Kruse demonstrates how Ditko’s comics provide insight into a unique strand of American thought that has had a lasting impact.”

Monitor 63: 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.


EcoComix: Essays on the Environment in Comics and Graphic Novels

Sidney I. Dobrin (ed.)

McFarland
189 pages
September 2020
Publisher’s website

“Exploring image and imagination in conjunction with natural environments, the animal, and the human, this collection of essays turns the ecocritical and ecocompositional gaze upon comic studies. The comic form has a long tradition of representing environmental rhetoric. Through discussions of comics including A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, We3, Concrete, and Black Orchid, these essays bring the rich work of ecological criticism into dialogue with the multi-faceted landscape of comics, graphic novels, web-comics, cartoons, and animation. The contributors ask not only how nature and environment are portrayed in these texts but also how these textual forms inform how we come to know nature and environment–or what we understand those terms to represent. Interdisciplinary in approach, this collection welcomes diverse approaches that integrate not only ecocriticism and comics studies, but animal studies, posthumanism, ecofeminism, queer ecology, semiotics, visual rhetoric and communication, ecoseeing, image-text studies, space and spatial theories, writing studies, media ecology, ecomedia, and other methodological approaches.”

 

Wonder Women and Bad Girls: Superheroine and Supervillainess Archetypes in Popular Media

Valerie Estelle Frankel

McFarland
237 pages
October 2020
Publisher’s website

“Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, Shuri, and Black Widow. These four characters portray very different versions of women: the superheroine, the abuse victim, the fourth wave princess, and the spy, respectively. In this in-depth analysis of female characters in superhero media, the author begins by identifying ten eras of superhero media defined by the way they portray women. Following this, the various archetypes of superheroines are classified into four categories: boundary crossers, good girls, outcasts, and those that reclaim power. From Golden Age comics through today’s hottest films, heroines have been surprisingly assertive, diverse, and remarkable in this celebration of all the archetypes.”

 

Spanish Graphic Narratives: Recent Developments in Sequential Art

Palgrave Studies in Comics and Graphic Novels

Collin McKinney, David F. Richter (eds.)

Palgrave Macmillan
315 pages
December 2020
Publisher’s website

Spanish Graphic Narratives examines the most recent thematic and critical developments in Spanish sequential art, with essays focusing on comics published in Spain since 2007. Considering Spain’s rich literary history, contentious Civil War (1936–39), oppressive Francisco Franco regime (1939–75), and progressive contemporary politics, both the recent graphic novel production in Spain and the thematic focal points of the essays here are greatly varied. Topics of particular interest include studies on the subject of historical and personal memory; representations of gender, race, and identity; and texts dealing with Spanish customs, traditions, and the current political situation in Spain. These overarching topics share many points of contact one with another, and this interrelationship (as well as the many points of divergence) is illustrative of the uniqueness, diversity, and paradoxes of literary and cultural production in modern-day Spain, thus illuminating our understanding of Spanish national consciousness in the present day.”

 

Panthers, Hulks and Ironhearts: Marvel, Diversity and the 21st Century Superhero

Jeffrey A. Brown
Rutgers University Press
180 pages
January 2021
Publisher’s website

“Marvel is one of the hottest media companies in the world right now, and its beloved superheroes are all over film, television and comic books. Yet rather than simply cashing in on the popularity of iconic white male characters like Peter Parker, Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, Marvel has consciously diversified its lineup of superheroes, courting controversy in the process.
Panthers, Hulks, and Ironhearts offers the first comprehensive study of how Marvel has reimagined what a superhero might look like in the twenty-first century. It examines how they have revitalized older characters like Black Panther and Luke Cage, while creating new ones like Latina superhero Miss America. Furthermore, it considers the mixed fan responses to Marvel’s recasting of certain “legacy heroes,” including a Pakistani-American Ms. Marvel, a Korean-American Hulk, and a whole rainbow of multiverse Spidermen.
If the superhero comic is a quintessentially American creation, then how might the increasing diversification of Marvel’s superhero lineup reveal a fundamental shift in our understanding of American identity? This timely study answers those questions and considers what Marvel’s comics, TV series, and films might teach us about stereotyping, Orientalism, repatriation, whitewashing, and identification.”

Heroes Masked and Mythic: Echoes of Ancient Archetypes in Comic Book Characters

Christopher Wood
McFarland
264 pages
January 2021
Publisher’s website

“Epic battles, hideous monsters and a host of petty gods–the world of Classical mythology continues to fascinate and inspire. Heroes like Herakles, Achilles and Perseus have influenced Western art and literature for centuries, and today are reinvented in the modern superhero. What does Iron Man have to do with the Homeric hero Odysseus? How does the African warrior Memnon compare with Marvel’s Black Panther? Do DC’s Wonder Woman and Xena the Warrior Princess reflect the tradition of Amazon women such as Penthesileia? How does the modern superhero’s journey echo that of the epic warrior? With fresh insight into ancient Greek texts and historical art, this book examines modern superhero archetypes and iconography in comics and film as the crystallization of the hero’s journey in the modern imagination.”