Monitor of Publications

Monitor 70: 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.


Contagious Imagination: The Work and Art of Lynda Barry

Jane Tolmie (ed.)

University Press of Mississippi
July 2022
Publisher’s website

“Lynda Barry (b. 1956) is best known for her distinctive style and unique voice, first popularized in her underground weekly comic Ernie Pook’s Comeek. Since then, she has published prolifically, including numerous comics, illustrated novels, and nonfiction books exploring the creative process. Barry’s work is genre- and form-bending, often using collage to create what she calls “word with drawing” vignettes. Her art, imaginative and self-reflective, allows her to discuss gender, race, relationships, memory, and her personal, everyday lived experience. It is through this experience that Barry examines the creative process and offers to readers ways to record and examine their own lives.
The essays in Contagious Imagination: The Work and Art of Lynda Barry, edited by Jane Tolmie, study the pedagogy of Barry’s work and its application academically and practically. Examining Barry’s career and work from the point of view of research-creation, Contagious Imagination applies Barry’s unique mixture of teaching, art, learning, and creativity to the very form of the volume, exploring Barry’s imaginative praxis and offering readers their own.
With a foreword by Frederick Luis Aldama and an afterword by Glenn Willmott, this volume explores the impact of Barry’s work in and out of the classroom. Divided into four sections—Teaching and Learning, which focuses on critical pedagogy; Comics and Autobiography, which targets various practices of rememorying; Cruddy, a self-explanatory category that offers two extraordinary critical interventions into Barry criticism around a challenging text; and Research-Creation, which offers two creative, synthetic artistic pieces that embody and enact Barry’s own mixed academic and creative investments—this book offers numerous inroads into Barry’s idiosyncratic imagination and what it can teach us about ourselves.”

 

Superheld*innen: Gottheiten der Gegenwart?

Nicolaus Wilder

Kiel University Press
August 2022
Publisher’s website

“Superheld*innen fristen trotz ihrer fast 100 Jahre währenden medialen Präsenz ein Nischendasein im wissenschaftlichen Diskurs. Auch wenn dieses aufzubrechen scheint, ist die Perspektive nach wie vor von einer massenkulturkritischen Haltung dominiert, deren Blick notwendigerweise verschlossen bleibt für das Hoffnungsvolle, Orientierende und Bedeutungsvolle ihrer Narrative. Diese überwiegend im Fandiskurs artikulierte Gegenseite erweist sich jedoch als bestens anschlussfähig an eine pädagogische Betrachtungsweise, die durch das Buch eröffnet wird.”

 

Vertigo Comics: British Creators, US Editors, and the Making of a Transformational Imprint

Isabelle Licari-Guillaume

Routledge
August 2022
Publisher’s website

“This book explores the so-called “British Invasion” of DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, which played an important role in redefining the mainstream comics industry in the US during the early 1990s.
Focusing on British creators within Vertigo, this study traces the evolution of the line from its creation in 1993 to its demise in 2019. Through an approach grounded in cultural history, the book disentangles the imprint’s complex roots, showing how editors channelled the potential of its British writers at a time of deep-seated economic and cultural change within the comics industry, and promoted a sense of cohesion across titles that defied categories. The author also delves into lesser-known aspects of the Invasion, exploring less-canonical periods and creators that are often eclipsed by Vertigo’s early star writers.
An innovative contribution on a key element of comic book history, this volume will appeal both to researchers of Vertigo scholarship and to fans of the imprint. It will also be an essential read for those interested in transatlantic collaborations and exchanges in the entertainment industry, processes of cultural legitimation and cultural hierarchies, and to anyone working on the representation of national and social identities.”

 

Critical Approaches to Horror Comic Books: Red Ink in the Gutter

John Darowski, Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns (eds.)

Routledge
August 2022
Publisher’s website

“This volume explores how horror comic books have negotiated with the social and cultural anxieties framing a specific era and geographical space.
Paying attention to academic gaps in comics’ scholarship, these chapters engage with the study of comics from varying interdisciplinary perspectives, such as Marxism; posthumanism; and theories of adaptation, sociology, existentialism, and psychology. Without neglecting the classical era, the book presents case studies ranging from the mainstream comics to the independents, simultaneously offering new critical insights on zones of vacancy within the study of horror comic books while examining a global selection of horror comics from countries such as India (City of Sorrows), France (Zombillénium), Spain (Creepy), Italy (Dylan Dog), and Japan (Tanabe Gou’s Manga Adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft), as well as the United States.
One of the first books centered exclusively on close readings of an under-studied field, this collection will have an appeal to scholars and students of horror comics studies, visual rhetoric, philosophy, sociology, media studies, pop culture, and film studies. It will also appeal to anyone interested in comic books in general and to those interested in investigating intricacies of the horror genre.”

 

Seeing Comics through Art History: Alternative Approaches to the Form

Maggie Gray, Ian Horton (eds.)

Palgrave
June 2022
Publisher’s website

“This book explores what the methodologies of Art History might offer Comics Studies, in terms of addressing overlooked aspects of aesthetics, form, materiality, perception and visual style. As well as considering what Art History proposes of comic scholarship, including the questioning of some of its deep-rooted categories and procedures, it also appraises what comics and Comics Studies afford and ask of Art History. This book draws together the work of international scholars applying art-historical methodologies to the study of a range of comic strips, books, cartoons, graphic novels and manga, who, as well as being researchers, are also educators, artists, designers, curators, producers, librarians, editors, and writers, with some undertaking practice-based research. Many are trained art historians, but others come from, have migrated into, or straddle other disciplines, such as Comparative Literature, American Literature, Cultural Studies, Visual Studies, and a range of subjects within Art & Design practice.”

 

The DC Comics Universe: Critical Essays

Douglas Brode (ed.)

McFarland
August 2022
Publisher’s website

“As properties of DC comics continue to sprout over the years, narratives that were once kept sacrosanct now spill over into one another, synergizing into one bona fide creative Universe. Intended for both professional pop culture researchers and general interest readers, this collection of essays covers DC Universe multimedia, including graphic novels, video games, movies and TV shows. Each essay is written by a recognized pop culture expert offering a distinct perspective on a wide variety of topics. Even though many of the entries address important social themes like gender and racism, the book is not limited to these topics. Also included are more lighthearted essays for full verisimilitude, including analyses of long forgotten or seemingly marginal aspects of the DC Extended Universe, as well as in-depth and original interpretations of the most beloved characters and their relationships to one another. Highly accessible and approachable, this work provides previously unavailable in-roads that create a richer comprehension of the ever-expanding DC Universe.”

Journal Monitor 14: 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.


ImageTexT 13.1 & 13.2

online, open access
Website

13.2

  • Michelle Ann Abate: The Yellow Kid and The Yellow Peril – R. F. Outcault’s Comics Series, Asian Caricature, and Chinese Exclusion
  • Matthew Holder: Vigilantism and Violent Forms in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns
  • Chester Scoville: Place, Knowledge, and Bodies in This One Summer

13.1

  • Benjamin Fraser: “A Sort of Enchanted Place” – Town and Country Mysticism and the Architectural Façade in Seth’s Clyde Fans
  • Kristy Beers Fägersten, Anna Nordenstam, Margareta Wallin Wictorin: Satirizing the nuclear family in the comic art of Liv Strömquist
  • Alexandra Lampp Berglund : Deconstructing Diana – An Examination of Disability and Gender in Wonder Woman
  • José Alaniz – For Angela Likina (1982-2016): ‘We Are Here’: Queer Comics in Russia
  • Bonnie Cross: Restless Figures – Animated Horror Stories as Hypertext

 

European Comic Art  15.1

online via subscription
Website

  • Mike Classon Frangos, Anna Nordenstam: Feminist Comics in the Nordic Region — Queer, Humour and the Body
  • Leena Romu: Smashing the Ideals of Docile Femininity – Humoristic Strategies of Feminist Resistance in Finnish Women’s Comics Magazines of the 1990s and 2000s
  • Anna Vuorinne, Ralf Kauranen: Visions of Queer Places – Migration and Utopia in Finnish Queer Comics
  • Maria Margareta Österholm: The Pain and the Creeping Feeling – Skewed Girlhood in Two Graphic Novels by Åsa Grennvall
  • Nina Ernst: Bodily Experience and Visual Metaphor in Two Swedish Trans Graphic Narratives
  • Charlotte Johanne Fabricius: Processual Aesthetics and Feminist Trouble – The Comics of Rikke Villadsen
  • Adriana Margareta Dancus: Childbirth during the COVID-19 Pandemic – An Analysis of Fødselen [The birth] by Norwegian Cartoonist, Blogger, and Nurse Hanne Monge Sigbjørnsen

IJOCA: International Journal of Comic Art  23.1

print via subscription
Website

  • John A. Lent, Xu Ying: In Support of Their Fathers’ and Mother’s Legacies – 13 Offspring of China’s Prominent Cartoonists Explain
  • William Hamilton: Coping with Conflict: Boxing Heroes and German Comics in the Aftermath of the First World War
  • Michele Ann Abate: “Any Children?” – “The Family Circus” and the Problems of Parenthood
  • José Alaniz: “Fragging” The Afghan War – Red Blood
  • Artur Skweres: “All You Need Is Kill, Not Love – Considering the Romantic Relationship in the Manga and Film Adaptations of Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s Novel
  • Mike Rhode: Jason Little Discusses The Vagina, His NSFW Webcomic
  • Aaron Humphrey, Simon Walsh: The Border Separating Us – Autobiographical Comics of an Australian World War I Internment Camp
  • Toby Juliff: Tintin and the Jews (of Contemporary Literature)
  • Shivani Sharma: Within and Between the Visual Metaphoricity of Comics – A Semiotic Approach to the Mahābhārata in Amar Chitra Katha
  • Jeff S. Wilson: Dramatizing Ontology in 18 Days: Grant Morrison’s Mahābhārata and the Battle to Save Eternity
  • Ignacio Fernández Sarasola: The Role of Fox Feature Syndicate in the Implementation of the Comics Code Authority
  • Kirsten Møllegaard: Remembrances of Things Past – Childhood in Graphic Memoirs
  • Kinko Ito: The Social Functions and Impacts of Popular Manga in Contemporary Japan – A Case of GOLDEN KAMUY
  • Chadwick L. Roberts, Anita K. McDaniel: Slaying the Monster – Heroic Lesbian Narratives in World’s Finest
  • Angelo Letizia: Poems, Comics and the Spaces Between: An Examination of the Interplay between Poem and Pag
  • Noran Amin: The Oriental Superheroes: Political Questions in G. Willow Wilson’s Cairo: A Graphic Novel and Ms. Marvel
  • Alisia Grace Chase: The Maternal-Feminine and Matrixial Borderspace in Megan Kelso’s “Watergate Sue”
  • Felipe Rodolfo Hendriksen: Morpheus Aeternorum – Dreams, Androgyny, and Their Characteristics in Sandman (Preludes & Nocturnes) by Neil Gaiman

 

Studies in Comics  12.1

online via subscription
Website

  • Ivan Pintor Iranzo, Eva Van de Wiele: Out of family, into history – A comparative study of the superchild in Corriere dei Piccoli, TBO and The Adventures of Tintin
  • Michel De Dobbeleer: Can stereotypical housewives in Flemish family comics divorce? The cases of Jommeke and De Kiekeboes
  • Danielle Sutton: The problem with empathy – Justification and appeasement in Hey, Kiddo and Real Friends
  • Lan Dong: Drawing childhood in conflict: Malik Sajad’s Munnu: A Boy from Kashmir

 

Inks: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society  6.1

online via subscription
Website

  • Brannon Costello: Strange Daddy – Uprooting the Environmentalist Family Romance in Nancy A. Collins’ Swamp Thing
  • Amy Mazowita: Privileged Witnessing and the Graphic Self in Sarah Glidden’s How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less
  • Ashley Ecklund: Maus II‘s Emphatic Smoke – The Trace as Graphic Affect

Journal Monitor 13: 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  14.2

online, subscription
Website

  • Fransiska Louwagie, Simon Lambert: “Introduction: Tradition and Innovation in Franco-Belgian Bande dessinée
  • Annick Pellegrin: “Anchoring Retro Spirou et Fantasio and Spin-off Albums”
  • Cristina Álvares: “Spirou’s Origin Myth and Family Romances: The Domestication of Adventure in the New Adventure Comic”
  • Nicolas Martinez: “Reframing the Western Genre in Bande dessinée, from Hollywood to Ledger Art: An Intermedial Perspective”
  • Ilan Manouach: “Outlining Conceptual Practices in Comics”

Inks  5.3

online, subscription
Website

  • Jackson Ayres: “Writing for the Trade or Writing for a Trade?”
  • Lan Dong: “Drawing Histories, Documenting Experiences: Clément Baloup’s Vietnamese Memories”
  • Vincent Haddad: “Detroit vs. Everybody (Including Superheroes): Representing Race through Setting in DC Comics”
  • Susan Vanderborg: “’I Tell You I Know Nothing’: Redefining Accessibility in Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón’s The Torture Report
  • Dale Jacobs: “The 1976 Project: On Comics and Grief, or How Our Lives Intersect with What We Study”

 

The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship 11

online, open access
Website

  • Anna Marta Marini: “Discursive (Re)Contruction of Mexican American Identity in J. Gonzo’s La Mano del Destino
  • Johanna Commins: “Composing the Handmaid: From Graphic Novel to Protest Icon”
  • Mike Classon Frangos: “Swedish Norm-Critical Comics and the Comics Pedagogy of Lynda Barry”
  • Chris Reyns-Chikuma: “Beyond the Two Solitudes: Differences in Fluidity in Franco-Canadian BD and Anglo-Canadian Comics Through the Influence of Manga”
  • Alessandro Scanu: “How to Tell a Story without Words: Time and Focalization in Shaun Tan’s The Arrival (2006)”
  • Niels Høegh Madsen, Mathias Stengaard, Maria Jose Schmidt-Kessen: “The Visualized Employment Contract. An Exploratory Study on Contract Visualization in Danish Employment Contracts”

 

Journal of Comics & Culture  6

online, subscription
Website

  • Joshua A. Kopin: “’A Big Hit Wit’ Each Oter’: Techniques of Belonging and Identification on Hogan’s Alley
  • Mark R. Martell: “From Invisible to Invincible: Asian American Superheroes in Comics”
  • Isabelle Martin: “’The Weight of Their Past’: Reconstructing Memory and History Through Photographs in Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do
  • Ioana Atanassova: “Superman: The Kryptonian-American Immigrant”
  • Matt Reingold: “International Migrations in Asaf Hanuka’s Ha Yehuda Ha Aravi
  • Erika Chung: “Somewhere in Between: Asian Diaspora, Superhero Comics and Identity”

 

Sane: Sequential Art Narrative in Education  2.6

online, open access
Website

  • Oliver McGarr, Guillermina Gavaldon, Francisco Manuel Sáez de Adana Herrero: “Using comics as a tool to facilitate critical reflective practice in professional education”
  • Angelo Letizia: “Empirical Drawings: Utilizing Comic Essays in the Social Studies Classroom to Teach Citizenship”

 

IJOCA: International Journal of Comic Art 22.2

print, subscription
Website

  • José Alaniz: “Survilo and Historical Trauma in Contemporary Russian Comics”
  • Marty Branagan: “Tintin: From Violent Communist-Hating Conservative to Radical Peacenik, Part 2”
  • Annabelle Cone: “The Fez, The Harem Pants, and the Embroidered Tie: Fashion and the Politics of Orientalism in Three Francophone Graphic Novels”
  • John A. Lent, Geisa Fernandes: “Far Out of the Box: The Comics of Chile’s Marcela Trujillo (Maliki)”
  • Natsume Fusanosuke: “The Characteristics of Japanese Manga”
  • Stephen Connor: “Ordinary Enemies: Robert Kanigher, Garth Ennis, and the Myth of the Unblemished Wehrmacht”
  • Pritesh Chakraborty: “Re-invention of Indian Myths in the Superhero Comic Books of Nagraj”
  • Christine Atchison: “Watchmen: An Exploration of Transcendence in Comics”
  • Francisco Saez de Adana, Michel Matly: “The 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War and American Comics”
  • John A. Lent: “Trying Times Require Re-inventiveness: Ways of Coping of Taiwan’s Ling Qun”
  • Brian Cremins: “’Reoccurring Dreams’: Music and the Elegiac Voice in John Porcellino’s Perfect Example
  • Alisia Grace Chase: “The Maternal-Feminine and Matrixial Borderspace in Megan Kelso’s Watergate Sue
  • Kosei Ono: “How Sugiura’s Ninja-Boy Comics Developed after the Asia-Pacific War”
  • Aaron Humphrey: “The Pedagogy and Potential of Educational Comics”
  • Jeffrey O. Segrave: “To Play or Not to Play? That Is the Question: Perspectives on Organized Youth Sports in Comic Strips”
  • Peter Cullen Bryan: “An Expert on Arrow: Critical Fan Activism and Gail Simone’s Twitter”
  • Andrew Edward: “Is It a Bird? Is It a Plane? It’s Jack the Ripper!”
  • Safa Al-shammary: “Habibi Worth a Thousand Words, and a Few Words Worth a Thousand Tales”
  • Kyle Eveleth: “Print Is Dead; Long Live Print!: Are Digital Comics Killing the Print Comics Industry?”
  • Angelo J. Letizia: “Comics as a Window into Disposability: Some Thoughts”
  • Mrinal Chatterjee: “Cartoons in the Time of Corona in India”

 

New Publication: Studien zur Geschichte des Comic

Studien zur Geschichte
des Comic

Bernd Dolle-Weinkauff, Dietrich Grünewald (eds.)

published by Ch. A. Bachmann
442 pages
numerous illustrations
language: German
ISBN 978-3-96234-069-8
publisher’s website

We are glad to announce that the second volume of the conference proceedings from the  10th Annual ComFor Conference 2015 in Frankfurt is finally available now, edited by honorary ComFor members Dietrich Grünewald and Bernd Dolle-Weinkauff. After the first volume investigated the representation of history in comics, the second volume is focused on the history of comics themselves.

Publisher’s blurb:

“Die hier versammelten Studien zur Geschichte des Comic umfassen unterschiedliche Facetten historisch orientierter Comic-Forschung im weitesten Sinn. Neben Überblicksdarstellungen zu Epochen und längeren Zeiträumen finden sich Beiträge zu einzelnen Autorinnen und Autoren, Werken und Serien. Untersuchungen zu Frühformen haben ihren Platz neben Längsschnitten durch Entwicklungen der jüngsten Zeit. Gattungsent­wicklungen, Thematiken, Medien und Märkte sowie Schnittstellen der sequenziellen Bildgeschichte zu anderen Formen des erzählenden Bildes werden ebenso diskutiert wie Vermarktungsweisen und dezidiert antikommerzielle Tendenzen sowie Positionen der historischen Comic-Forschung selbst.
Die Beiträge bieten sowohl Neuentdeckungen von Werken und Details der Geschichte des Comic, wie die Herstellung von historischen Zusammenhängen. Sie geben Einblicke in neuere Comic-Kulturen – auch osteuropäischer und fernöstlicher Länder – und deren Bezüge zu internationalen Entwicklungen. Der Band bietet Ansichten einer zunehmend vielgestaltigen Welt der Grafischen Literatur, innerhalb derer einige der bislang aus der Sicht der westeuropäischen und US-amerikanischen Forschung eher randständigen Gebiete gegenüber den Zentren hervortreten.”

Contents:

  • Dietrich GRÜNEWALD: “Zur Frühgeschichte des Comic:
    Von der Illustrationsfolge zur autonomen Bildgeschichte”
  • Bernd DOLLE-WEINKAUFF: “Zur Vor- und Frühgeschichte der sequenziellen Bilderzählung in Deutschland 1835–1860”
  • Christian A. BACHMANN: “Transatlantische Motivwanderungen am Beispiel von Traumdarstellungen:Ein Beitrag zur Thematologie des frühen Comics”
  • Benedikt BREBECK: “Beiträge deutscher Zeichner zur Entwicklung des frühen Comic Strip in den USA”
  • Michael F. SCHOLZ: “‘Comics and Their Creators’ (1942) -Zu den Anfängen der amerikanischen Comicforschung”
  • Nicolas SCHILLINGER: “Grenzen des Zeichenbaren: Geschichte und Comic in China nach 1949”
  • Jessica BAUWENS-SUGIMOTO: “A Short Overview of the History of Japanese Boys’ Love and Yaoi Manga”
  • Marie SCHRÖER: “Autobiografie im Comic: Geschichte/n, Varianten, Potentiale”
  • Véronique SINA: “‘It Ain’t Me Babe …’:Zur Geschichte und Entwicklung feministischer Comics”
  • Nina MAHRT: “Mit allen Mitteln: Kriegsreportagen als Comics”
  • Hartmut BECKER: “Werbecomics der 1950er-Jahre: Eine Revue der Konsumwelten der westdeutschen Nachkriegsgesellschaft”
  • Guido WEISSHAHN: “182 Variationen über ein Thema:Die Comicserie Knote und Karli als Beispiel für Zeitungscomics in der DDR”
  • Anna STEMMANN: “‘Der Schrecken, der die Nacht durchflattert’:Darkwing Duck als Superheldenparodie”
  • Elizabeth ‘Biz’ NIJDAM: “From Posters to Panels and Panels to Posters: Fluidity of Form in Feuchtenberger’s Comics and Graphic Art”
  • Arno METELING: “Der Vertigo-Effekt: Melancholie, Horror und Britishness in US-amerikanischen Comics um 2000”
  • Kalina KUPCZYNSKA: “Geschichte des autobiografischen Comics in Polen”
  • Brett E. STERLING: “Jenseits des Mainstreams: Zur Entwicklung der deutschsprachigen Comic-Produktion und ihrer avantgardistischen Strömungen seit 1980”
  • Lehel SATA: “Tendenzen im ungarischen Comic nach der Jahrtausendwende: Themen, Gestaltungstechniken, Wirkung”
  • Marco PELLITTERI: “Abriss einer Geschichte der Etablierung des Manga-Markts in ausgewählten europäischen Ländern”

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.”