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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.”

Call for Nominations: Martin Schüwer Publication Prize

The Society for Comics Studies (ComFor) and the Committee for Comics Studies (AG Comicforschung) of the German Society for Media Studies (GfM) present an annual award for the best article by an early stage researcher.

In 2022, the Society for Comics Studies (ComFor) and the Committee for Comics Studies (AG Comicforschung) of the German Society for Media Studies (GfM), will award the Martin Schüwer Publication Prize for Excellence in Comics Studies for the fourth time. Since 2019, the prize has been awarded annually. It promotes the work of researchers who, regardless of their actual age, do not yet hold a permanent academic as tenured faculty. Honoring outstanding publications in the interdisciplinary field of comics studies, the Martin Schüwer Publication Prize aims to create more visibility for comics-related research, promoting and communicating its importance to a wider public.

The prize is named after the late Martin Schüwer, a scholar of English Literature and Culture who specialized in comics studies and who, very unfortunately, died at a far too early age in 2013. His dissertation Wie Comics erzählen (2006) has opened up new ground for narratological comics research and has become a standard work in German-language comics studies. With this and his other works on comics as well as on the didactics of English literature, Martin Schüwer has set valuable standards regarding the excellence, accessibility and range that publications in our fields can achieve. Both as a comics researcher and as a person, Schüwer had a distinct way of talking to people, characterized by his open-mindedness and a genuine interest in others. Talking to and with others, he aimed to advance comic studies. We dedicate the award to him and this very goal.

Submission and nominations:

Eligible for submission are published texts that do not exceed the length of an article or book chapter. They may have appeared as articles in collective volumes or journals, as chapters in longer monographs, or as essays and other text types of similar length. The submitted/nominated texts may have been written by one or more authors. Authors are only eligible for the award if, at the time of nomination, they did not yet hold a permanent job position within academia.

Papers nominated for the Martin Schüwer Prize 2022 must have been published between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021, in either German or English. Texts that are still forthcoming or only accepted for publication cannot be considered. Papers can only be submitted once. Entire monographs as well as unpublished work from dissertational research are also excluded from submission. Editors of collective volumes or journal issues cannot be nominated; however, nomination of individual contributions to these collections/issues are very welcome.

To nominate yourself or others, please submit the nominated text and a short explanatory statement (300-500 words). Self-nominations are possible and welcome. The deadline for all submissions is March 31, 2022. Please send your nomination as a single pdf to schuewer-preis@comicgesellschaft.de.

Prize and award ceremony:

The official announcement of the award winner will take place at the annual conference of the German Society for Media Studies (GfM) (autumn 2022). The award ceremony will take place during the annual conference of the Gesellschaft für Comicforschung (autumn 2022). The awardee will be asked to give a lecture and introduce their research during the conference. They will also be invited to serve as a member of the jury in the following year and will receive a prize money of 1000.00 €. In addition, the German Society for Media Studies (GfM) will free them from any membership fee for one year and the ComFor will accept them as life-long Honorary Member.