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Monitor 51: 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.

 

Peanuts and American Culture: Essays on Charles M. Schulz’s Iconic Comic Strip

Peter W. Y. Lee
McFarland
211 pages
March 2019
Publisher’s website

Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz insisted good ol’ Charlie Brown and his friends were neither “great art” nor “significant.” Yet Schulz’s acclaimed daily comic strip—syndicated in thousands of newspapers over five decades—brilliantly mirrored tensions in American society during the second half of the 20th century.
Focusing on the strip’s Cold War roots, this collection of new essays explores existentialism, the reshaping of the nuclear family, the Civil Rights Movement, 1960s counterculture, feminism, psychiatry and fear of the bomb. Chapters focus on the development of Lucy, Peppermint Patty, Schroeder, Franklin, Shermy, Snoopy and the other characters that became American icons.”

 

Serial Selves: Identity and Representation in Autobiographical Comics

Frederik Byrn Køhlert
Rutgers University Press
242 pages
March 2019
Publisher’s website

“Autobiography is one of the most dynamic and quickly-growing genres in contemporary comics and graphic narratives. In Serial Selves, Frederik Byrn Køhlert examines the genre’s potential for representing lives and perspectives that have been socially marginalized or excluded. With a focus on the comics form’s ability to produce alternative and challenging autobiographical narratives, thematic chapters investigate the work of artists writing from perspectives of marginality including gender, sexuality, disability, and race, as well as trauma. Interdisciplinary in scope and attuned to theories and methods from both literary and visual studies, the book provides detailed formal analysis to show that the highly personal and hand-drawn aesthetics of comics can help artists push against established narrative and visual conventions, and in the process invent new ways of seeing and being seen.
As the first comparative study of how comics artists from a wide range of backgrounds use the form to write and draw themselves into cultural visibility, Serial Selves will be of interest to anyone interested in the current boom in autobiographical comics, as well as issues of representation in comics and visual culture more broadly.”

 

The Ages of The Flash: Essays on the Fastest Man Alive

Joseph J. Darowski (ed.)
McFarland
194 pages
April 2019
Publisher’s website

“While many American superheroes have multiple powers and complex gadgets, the Flash is simply fast. This simplicity makes his character easily comprehendible for all audiences, whether they are avid comic fans or newcomers to the genre, and in turn he has become one of the most iconic figures in the comic-book industry. This collection of new essays serves as a stepping-stone to an even greater understanding of the Flash, examining various iterations of his character—including those of Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, Wally West and Bart Allen—and what they reveal about the era in which they were written.”

 

The Artistry of Neil Gaiman: Finding Light in the Shadows

Joseph Michael Sommers and Kyle Eveleth (eds.)
University Press of Mississippi
300 pages
April 2019
Publisher’s website

“Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) reigns as one of the most critically decorated and popular authors of the last fifty years. Perhaps best known as the writer of the Harvey, Eisner, and World Fantasy-award winning series The Sandman, Gaiman quickly became equally renowned in literary circles for Neverwhere, Coraline, and award-winning American Gods, as well as the Newbery and Carnegie Medal-winning The Graveyard Book. For adults, children, comics readers, and viewers of the BBC’s Doctor Who, Gaiman’s writing has crossed the borders of virtually all media, making him a celebrity around the world.
Despite Gaiman’s incredible contributions to comics, his work remains underrepresented in sustained fashion in comics studies. The thirteen essays and two interviews with Gaiman and his frequent collaborator, artist P. Craig Russell, examine the work of Gaiman and his many illustrators. The essays discuss Gaiman’s oeuvre regarding the qualities that make his work unique in his eschewing of typical categories, his proclamations to “make good art,” and his own constant efforts to do so however the genres and audiences may slip into one another.
The Artistry of Neil Gaiman forms a complicated picture of a man who always seems fully assembled virtually from the start of his career, but only came to feel comfortable in his own voice far later in life. “

Monitor 50: 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.

 

Young People, Comics and Reading: Exploring a Complex Reading Experience

Lucia Cedeira Serantes
Elements in Publishing and Book Culture
Cambridge University Press
110 pages
February 2019
Publisher’s website

“Scholars and professionals interested in the study and engagement with young people will find this project relevant to deepening their understanding of reading practices with comics and graphic novels. Comics reading has been an understudied experience despite its potential to enrich our exploration of reading in our currently saturated media landscape. This Element is based on seventeen in-depth interviews with teens and young adults who describe themselves as readers of comics for pleasure. These interviews provide insights about how comics reading evolves with the readers and what they consider a good or bad reading experience. Special attention is paid to the place of female readers in the comics community and material aspects of reading. From these readers, one begins to understand why comics reading is something that young people do not ‘grow out of’ but an experience that they ‘grow with’.”

 

Perspectives on Digital Comics: Theoretical, Critical and Pedagogical Essays

Jeffrey S.J. Kirchoff, Mike P. Cook (eds.)
McFarland
257 pages
February 2019
Publisher’s website

“This collection of new essays explores various ways of reading, interpreting and using digital comics. Contributors discuss comics made specifically for web consumption, and also digital reproductions of print-comics. Written for those who may not be familiar with digital comics or digital comic scholarship, the essays cover perspectives on reading, criticism and analysis of specific titles, the global reach of digital comics, and how they can be used in educational settings.”

 

“I’m Just a Comic Book Boy”: Essays on the Intersection of Comics and Punk

Christopher B. Field, et al. (eds.)
McFarland
240 pages
February 2019
Publisher’s website

“Comics and the punk movement are inextricably linked—each has a foundational do-it-yourself ethos and a nonconformist spirit defiant of authority. This collection of new essays provides for the first time a thorough analysis of the intersections between comics and punk. The contributors expand the discussion beyond the familiar U.S. and UK scenes to include the influence punk has had on comics produced in other countries, such as Spain and Turkey.”

 

Urban Comics: Infrastructure and the Global City in Contemporary Graphic Narratives

Dominic Davies
Routledge
274 pages
March 2019
Publisher’s website

Urban Comics: Infrastructure and the Global City in Contemporary Graphic Narratives makes an important and timely contribution both to comics studies and urban studies, offering a decolonisation and reconfiguration of both of these already interdisciplinary fields. With chapter-length discussions of comics from cities such as Cairo, Cape Town, New Orleans, Delhi and Beirut, this book shows how artistic collectives and urban social movements working across the global South are producing some of the most exciting and formally innovative graphic narratives of the contemporary moment.
Throughout, the author reads an expansive range of graphic narratives through the vocabulary of urban studies to argue that these formal innovations should be thought of as a kind of infrastructure. This ‘infrastructural form’ allows urban comics to reveal that the built environments of our cities are not static, banal, or depoliticised, but rather highly charged material spaces that allow some forms of social life to exist while also prohibiting others. Built from a formal infrastructure of grids, gutters and panels, and capable of volumetric, multi-scalar perspectives, this book shows how urban comics are able to represent, repair and even rebuild contemporary global cities toward more socially just and sustainable ends.
Operating at the intersection of comics studies and urban studies, and offering large global surveys alongside close textual and visual analyses, this book explores and opens up the fascinating relationship between comics and graphic narratives, on the one hand, and cities and urban spaces, on the other.”

 

EC Comics: Race, Shock, and Social Protest

Qiana Whitted
Rutger’s University Press
196 pages
March 2019
Publisher’s website

“Entertaining Comics Group (EC Comics) is perhaps best-known today for lurid horror comics like Tales from the Crypt and for a publication that long outlived the company’s other titles, Mad magazine. But during its heyday in the early 1950s, EC was also an early innovator in another genre of comics: the so-called “preachies,” socially conscious stories that boldly challenged the conservatism and conformity of Eisenhower-era America.
EC Comics examines a selection of these works—sensationally-titled comics such as “Hate!,” “The Guilty!,” and “Judgment Day!”—and explores how they grappled with the civil rights struggle, antisemitism, and other forms of prejudice in America. Putting these socially aware stories into conversation with EC’s better-known horror stories, Qiana Whitted discovers surprising similarities between their narrative, aesthetic, and marketing strategies. She also recounts the controversy that these stories inspired and the central role they played in congressional hearings about offensive content in comics.
The first serious critical study of EC’s social issues comics, this book will give readers a greater appreciation of their legacy. They not only served to inspire future comics creators, but also introduced a generation of young readers to provocative ideas and progressive ideals that pointed the way to a better America.”