MLA 2020 Guaranteed Session CFP: A Decade in Comics (DEADLINE: 3/15/2019)

Call for Papers for a proposed guaranteed session at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention on January 9-12, 2020, in Seattle, Washington. This roundtable panel is sponsored by the Comics and Graphic Narratives Forum.

On the ten year anniversary of panels sponsored by the MLA Forum for Comics and Graphic Narratives, this roundtable asks established and emerging scholars to reflect on the history, the present, and the future of the field of Comics Studies. We seek narratives on the formation and early years of the Forum, as well as perspectives on where the field and the Forum are headed. This intergenerational conversation explores developments in the field of Comics Studies, including the growth of academic books and series, new academic programs, schools, and conferences, and emerging scholarly societies. In what ways has the MLA Forum mirrored the growth of the discipline and where would we like to see the conversation heading?

Call for Papers for a guaranteed panel at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, January 9-12, 2020 in Seattle, WA. Please send 250-word abstracts and bios by 15 March 2019 to Susan Kirtley ( and Margaret Galvan ( Responses to individual submissions will be sent out by the beginning of April. All prospective presenters must be current MLA members by no later than April 2019.

MLA 2020 Special Session CFP: Webcomics and/as Digital Culture (DEADLINE: 3/15/2019)

Call for Papers for a proposed special session at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention on January 9-12, 2020, in Seattle, Washington. This panel is sponsored by the Comics and Graphic Narratives Forum.

Webcomics are arguably the form of comics with the broadest reach, but scholarship on the subject has been sparse.  As a form that both takes advantage of the representational affordances of comics and the opportunities provided by the connectivity and lack of gatekeeping in the digital realm, webcomics present a rich source of possibility for comics scholars and digital media scholars alike, particularly when considering marginalized creators and characters. This panel seeks to explore the ways that webcomics have shaped and have been shaped by the digital context in which they appear. Proposed papers might consider the following questions:

  • What can the many author-curated archives of webcomics tell us about the history of the digital sphere?
  • How have webcomics changed as digital technology has evolved?
  • How do different web cartoonists, particularly those from marginalized groups, take advantage of the web’s connectivity to create communities?
  • What role do webcomics play alongside other social media in helping authors to shape a digital identity?
  • What frameworks from digital media studies or comics studies might be useful in theorizing webcomics as a form?
  • How might webcomics’ tendency to blur boundaries–between comics and digital media, between print and digital culture, between readers and authors–reframe our understanding of these entities?

Please send 300-word abstract and bio to Leah Misemer ( by 15 March 2019.  This is a proposed special session. Acceptance to the panel does not guarantee acceptance to MLA.  All panelists must be MLA members by April 2019.

MLA 2020 Special Session CFP: Transmedia Narratives of the Nonhuman (DEADLINE: 3/15/2019)

Call for Papers for a proposed special session at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention on January 9-12, 2020, in Seattle, Washington. This collaborative panel is jointly sponsored by the Comics and Graphic Narratives Forum and the Screen Arts and Culture Forum.

Comics and graphic narratives have long explored the nonhuman as allegorical representatives of the human experience. This panel examines the difference medium makes in adapting comics and graphic narratives for the screen, and how transmedia narratives of the nonhuman represent/challenge our understanding of humanity, for example:

  • How does the change from drawn representations to human actors affect conceptualizations of the non-human?
  • Is the allegorical treatment of race and sexual difference substantive transformed by shifts in medium?
  • Do anthropomorphism or thingification play out differently on screen?
  • Do the ways in which temporality and space structure the different media—the difference in the ways in which readers and viewers see, interpret, and fill in the gaps—affect the narratives attached to the characters?
  • Have multiple delivery modes shifted the allegorical narrative because of presumed changes in audience?

Examples of possible topics include representations of hybridity in manga adaptations; the treatment of Vision from comic to screen; changes to the Inhumans on ABC series adaptations; the varied allegorical treatment of race in X-Men  comics, cartoons, and films; zombies as human allegories in Walking Dead or iZombie and how generic conventions of television shift the narrative; and how representations of violent acts are treated as examples of being less or more human in comics such as A History of Violence and Wanted.

Please send 250-word abstracts and 2-page CV by 15 March 2019 to Rebecca Wanzo ( and Lan Dong ( Submission will receive notification of results by April 1.

Please note this is a proposed, not a guaranteed, session at MLA 2020. It is contingent on approval by the MLA Program Committee. All prospective presenters must be MLA members by April 2019.

Quimby’s event at MLA in Chicago!

January 4, Friday, 7pm – Free Event

Drawing in the Imagination: The Power of Image and Text

It was a hunting accident—that much Charlie is sure of. That’s how his father, Matt Rizzo—a gentle intellectual who writes epic poems in Braille—had lost his vision. It’s not until Charlie’s troubled teenage years, when he’s facing time for his petty crimes, that he learns the truth.

Matt Rizzo was blinded by a shotgun blast to the face—but it was while participating in an armed robbery.

Newly blind and without hope, Matt began his bleak new life at Stateville Prison. But in this unlikely place, Matt’s life and very soul were saved by one of America’s most notorious killers: Nathan Leopold Jr., of the infamous Leopold and Loeb.


“In The Hunting Accident, light comes from darkness, crime leads to redemption, and killers save lives. It’ll probably be a movie or Netflix show in a couple years, but for now, it’s a damn great comic book.” —GQ

“The subtitle barely captures the scope of this ambitious debut graphic novel, a mix of biography, history, social commentary, literary analysis, and more.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

For more info, please contact: Susan Kirtley (

Refreshments will be provided. 

Quimby’s Bookstore Chicago, IL

Forum panels at MLA!

012: Comics Fandom in Transition

12:00 PM–1:15 PM Thursday, Jan 3, 2019

 Hyatt Regency – Roosevelt 3

1: Fandom as Import and Export in the Digital Age: Dojinshi, Comiket, and Fujoshi around Latin American Boys’ Love

Camila Gutierrez, Penn State U, University Park

2: Hi-Diddly-Ho, Tetsuo! How Bartkira’s Fandom Reimagined and Remixed Akira and The Simpsons

Charles Acheson, U of Florida

3: ‘The Concrete Representation of Our Most Subtle Feelings’: Comics Fandom in the Digital Era

Jaime Weida, Borough of Manhattan Community C, City U of New York

4: The Hybrid Lettercol: Ms. Marvel and #KamalaKorps

Leah Misemer, Georgia Inst. of Tech.


Aaron Kashtan, U of North Carolina, Charlotte


528: Making Comics, Making Meaning

1:45 PM–3:00 PM Saturday, Jan 5, 2019

 Hyatt Regency – Randolph 3

1: Epistemologies of Slowness: Teaching Visual Literacy Using Comics

Joshua Kopin, U of Texas, Austin

2: Panel/Page: A Research Drawing Jam

Leah Misemer, Georgia Inst. of Tech.

3: Drawn Words: The Significance of Lettering in the Pedagogy and Work of Kevin Huizenga

Alexander Ponomareff, U of Massachusetts, Amherst


Susan E. Kirtley, Portland State U


Margaret Galvan, U of Florida


704: Graphic Medicine’s Textual Transactions

12:00 PM–1:15 PM Sunday, Jan 6, 2019

 Hyatt Regency – Toronto

1: Graphic Medicine and Patient Education: Using Graphic Narrative to Improve Patient Care

Brian Callender, U of Chicago

2: Subject to or Subject Of: Medicine, Subjectivity, and the Representation of Disability in Una posibilidad entre mil

Elizabeth Jones, U of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

3: Multimodal Graphic Medicine and the Material Question of Spoons

Rachel Kunert-Graf, Antioch U


Erin Lamb, Hiram C


Lan Dong, U of Illinois, Springfield