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“Familie und Comic”: Volume 1 of “Comic Studies” (de Gruyter)

Familie und ComicThe anthology “Familie und Comic: Kritische Perspektiven auf soziale Mikrostrukturen in grafischen Narrationen” (Family and Comics: Critical Perspectives on Social Microstructures in Graphic Narratives), edited by ComFor members Barbara Margarethe Eggert and Kalina Kupczyńska as well as Véronique Sina, has just been published in print and e-book versions. It contains ten academic essays, also with strong ComFor participation, as well as a comic and various interviews with comic creators and artists. The e-book version should be available via university access.

The volume was produced in the context of the AG Comicforschung and marks the opening of the interdisciplinary publication series “Comic Studies”, which is jointly edited by Juliane Blank, Irmela Krüger-Fürhoff, and Véronique Sina at de Gruyter Verlag:

“As a pop-cultural medium, comics in particular present multifaceted perspectives on contemporary and historical concepts and metaphors of family. The interdisciplinary chapters in this publication critically reflect upon the media-specific, narrative (production) aesthetic, and/or pedagogical potentials and functions comics have to de/construct un/usual concepts of family and family structures in text and image.”

Publisher’s page

Roundtable discussion (online): “Birgit Weyhe’s ‘Rude Girl’: Comics, Blackness, and Translation Dialogue”

2023 10 06 04:00pm Ortszeit (22:00h CET) - 2023 10 06

nullNext Friday, ComFor member Elizabeth ‘Biz’ Nijdam is organizing and chairing a panel discussion at the Goethe-Institut Montreal for the German Studies Association’s Comic Studies Network with comic artist Birgit Weyhe and Dr. Priscilla Layne (UNC-Chapel Hill) about their recent collaboration on Rude Girl (2022). Involved are also the UBC Comic Studies Cluster and the Department of Classics, Modern Languages, and Linguistics at Concordia University. For those interested, online registration and participation is possible.

More information:
“In 2018, Birgit Weyhe joined a room of German comics scholars at a GSA (German Studies Association) panel on diversity and inclusion in German-language comics to bear witness to a presentation by Dr. Brett Sterling that openly criticized her graphic novel Madgermanes (2016) for its representation of Blackness and cultural appropriation. While this commentary was far from welcome, it marked the start of the author’s journey in revaluating her power and privilege as a comics artist. Soon thereafter, Weyhe met Dr. Priscilla Layne, an Associate Professor of German Weyhe und Layne in MontrealStudies at UNC-Chapel Hill with Caribbean roots. Over the course of the next few years, Weyhe and Layne collaborated on the graphic novel Rude Girl (2022), which explore Layne’s life growing up in Chicago, experience of racism, and path to German studies, all the while interrogating what it means for a White artist to represent Black lives.

This panel will take the form of a conversation with the co-creators of Rude Girl, discussing Layne and Weyhe’s collaboration and the role of comics in intersectional explorations of Black identity.”

Go to the registration site

Monitor 73: 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:
See previous Monitor posts.

Desegregating Comics: Debating Blackness in the Golden Age of American Comics

Qiana Whitted (ed.)
Rutgers University Press
May 2023
Publisher’s website

“Some comics fans view the industry’s Golden Age (1930s-1950s) as a challenging time when it comes to representations of race, an era when the few Black characters appeared as brutal savages, devious witch doctors, or unintelligible minstrels. Yet the true portrait is more complex and reveals that even as caricatures predominated, some Golden Age comics creators offered more progressive and nuanced depictions of Black people.
Desegregating Comics assembles a team of leading scholars to explore how debates about the representation of Blackness shaped both the production and reception of Golden Age comics. Some essays showcase rare titles like Negro Romance and consider the formal innovations introduced by Black comics creators like Matt Baker and Alvin Hollingsworth, while others examine the treatment of race in the work of such canonical cartoonists as George Herriman and Will Eisner. The collection also investigates how Black fans read and loved comics, but implored publishers to stop including hurtful stereotypes. As this book shows, Golden Age comics artists, writers, editors, distributors, and readers engaged in heated negotiations over how Blackness should be portrayed, and the outcomes of those debates continue to shape popular culture today.”


Litcomix: Literary Theory and the Graphic Novel

Adam Geczy, Jonathan McBurnie
Rutgers University Press
March 2023
Publisher’s website

“Critical studies of the graphic novel have often employed methodologies taken from film theory and art criticism. Yet, as graphic novels from Maus to Watchmen have entered the literary canon, perhaps the time has come to develop theories for interpreting and evaluating graphic novels that are drawn from classic models of literary theory and criticism.
Using the methodology of Georg Lukács and his detailed defense of literary realism as a socially embedded practice, Litcomix tackles difficult questions about reading graphic novels as literature. What critical standards should we use to measure the quality of a graphic novel? How does the genre contribute to our understanding of ourselves and the world? What qualities distinguish it from other forms of literature?
LitComix hones its theoretical approach through case studies taken from across the diverse world of comics, from Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s groundbreaking manga to the Hernandez Brothers’ influential alt-comix. Whether looking at graphic novel adaptations of Proust or considering how Jack Kirby’s use of intertextuality makes him the Balzac of comics, this study offers fresh perspectives on how we might appreciate graphic novels as literature.”


Understanding Superhero Comic Books: A History of Key Elements, Creators, Events and Controversies

Alex Grand
June 2023
Publisher’s website

“This work dissects the origin and growth of superhero comic books, their major influences, and the creators behind them. It demonstrates how Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America and many more stand as time capsules of their eras, rising and falling with societal changes, and reflecting an amalgam of influences. The book covers in detail the iconic superhero comic book creators and their unique contributions in their quest for realism, including Julius Schwartz and the science-fiction origins of superheroes; the collaborative design of the Marvel Universe by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, and Steve Ditko; Jim Starlin’s incorporation of the death of superheroes in comic books; John Byrne and the revitalization of superheroes in the modern age; and Alan Moore’s deconstruction of superheroes.”


Hero Me Not: The Containment of the Most Powerful Black, Female Superhero

Chesya Burke
Rutgers University Press
April 2023
Publisher’s website

“First introduced in the pages of X-Men, Storm is probably the most recognized Black female superhero. She is also one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe, with abilities that allow her to control the weather itself. Yet that power is almost always deployed in the service of White characters, and Storm is rarely treated as an authority figure.
Hero Me Not offers an in-depth look at this fascinating yet often frustrating character through all her manifestations in comics, animation, and films. Chesya Burke examines the coding of Storm as racially “exotic,” an African woman who nonetheless has bright white hair and blue eyes and was portrayed onscreen by biracial actresses Halle Berry and Alexandra Shipp. She shows how Storm, created by White writers and artists, was an amalgam of various Black stereotypes, from the Mammy and the Jezebel to the Magical Negro, resulting in a new stereotype she terms the Negro Spiritual Woman.
With chapters focusing on the history, transmedia representation, and racial politics of Storm, Burke offers a very personal account of what it means to be a Black female comics fan searching popular culture for positive images of powerful women who look like you.”


The Archie/Sabrina Universe: Essays on the Comics and Their Adaptations

Heather McAlpine, W. Ron Sweeney, Jess Wind (eds.)
April 2023
Publisher’s website

“Intersecting with fan studies, TV and comics studies, queer, disability and feminist studies, as well as popular culture and media scholarship, this collection of essays is the first to offer critical examinations of Riverdale, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and the broader Archie/Sabrina comics universe. Its authors interrogate these texts in an effort not only to make sense of their chaotic stories, but to understand our own ongoing fascination with their narratives. Contributing to a greater cultural conversation about representation in media, authors find unexpected value in the oftentimes ridiculous (mis)adventures of the Archie/Sabrina expanded universe.”

Publication “Cripping Graphic Medicine I” (Special Issue of the Journal of Literary & Cultural Disablility Studies)

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies 17.3ComFor-members Gesine Wegner (TU Dresden) and Dorothee Marx (Universität Kiel) have edited and recently published the first of two special issues of the Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (17.3, 2023) on the topic “Cripping Graphic Medicine”. Its subtitle is “Negotiating Empathy and the Lived Experience of Disability in and through Comics”.  The forthcoming second issue, “Cripping Graphic Medicine II: Access and Activism at the Crossroads of Intersectionality”, is scheduled for 2024.


Dorothee Marx, Gesine Wegner:
Who Sees and Who’s Seen in Graphic Medicine?

Rachael A. Zubal-Ruggieri, Diane R. Wiener:
“Cripping” Graphic Medicine

Andrew Godfrey-Meers:
Cripping Empathy in Graphic Medicine

Maria Bee Christensen-Strynø, Lisbeth Frølunde, Louise Phillips:
Crip Empathography

jt Eisenhauer Richardson, Vicky Grube, Jeff Horwat:
Comic Artists’ Navigation of Trauma, Affect, and Representation

Maite Urcaregui:
Composing Crip Corporealities, or Decomposing Comics, in Dumb and Dancing After TEN

Rachael A. Zubal-Ruggieri, Diane R. Wiener:
“Cripping” Graphic Medicine: Drawing Out the Public Sphere

Continue to “Cripping Graphic Medicine I”

CLOSURE #9.5 / ComFor-Comference 2021 »Coherence in Comics. An Interdisciplinary Approach«* published

CLOSURE #9.5A special-themed issue #9.5 of Closure: Kieler e-Journal für Comicforschung, edited by Elisabeth Krieber (Salzburg), Markus Oppolzer (Salzburg), and Hartmut Stöckl (Salzburg), has just been published: »Coherence in Comics. An Interdisciplinary Approach«. The issue represents the proceedings of the 16the annual conference of ComFor (October 2021, Salzburg). It contains contributions by ComFor-members Elisabeth Krieber, Markus Oppolzer, Lukas R.A. Wilde, Barbara M. Eggert , and Stephan Packard:

Elisabeth Krieber, Markus Oppolzer, and Hartmut Stöckl:
Coherence in Comics. An Interdisciplinary Approach: Über diese Ausgabe

Lukas R.A. Wilde:
Essayistic Comics and Non-Narrative Coherence

Barbara M. Eggert:
Comics as Coherence Machines? Case Studies on the Spectrum of Functions that Comics perform in Museums

J. Scott Jordan und Victor Dandridge, Jr.:
Invincible: Multiscale Coherence in Comics

Mark Hibbett:
Image Quotation of Past Events to Enforce Storyworld Continuity in John Byrne’s Fantastic Four

Amadeo Gandolfo:
Do The Collapse: Final Crisis and the Impossible Coherence of the Superhero Crossover

Stephan Packard:
Inferential Revision in Comics Page Interpretation: A Hermeneutic Approach to Renegotiating Panel Comprehension

Continue to CLOSURE #9.5: »Coherence in Comics. An Interdisciplinary Approach«

*Die ComFor-Redaktion bedauert den Mangel an Diversität in dieser Publikation. Wir sind bestrebt, möglichst neutral über das Feld der Comicforschung in all seiner Breite zu informieren und redaktionelle Selektionsprozesse auf ein Minimum zu beschränken. Gleichzeitig sind wir uns jedoch auch der problematischen Strukturen des Wissenschaftsbetriebs bewusst, die häufig dazu führen, dass insbesondere Comicforscherinnen sowie jene mit marginalisierten Identitäten weniger sichtbar sind. Wir wissen, dass dieses Ungleichgewicht oft nicht der Intention der Herausgeber_innen / Veranstalter_innen entspricht und möchten dies auch nicht unterstellen, wollen aber dennoch darauf aufmerksam machen, um ein Bewusstsein für dieses Problem zu schaffen.