Roundtable Session at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, 8-11 Jan. 2015, in Vancouver. Sponsored by the MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives.

In the past three years, a number of new books have been published on comics theory (Postema, Miodrag, Kukkonen, among others). In order to get a better perspective on what is happening in the field, this roundtable has assembled a group of scholars who take different approaches to understanding the comics form. Some of the questions that the roundtable will consider:

* What are the relative merits and drawbacks of some theoretical approaches to comics (i.e. semiotics, film theory, linguistics, visual studies, narrative theory, cognitive theory, Franco-Belgian comics theory, and the ubiquitous Scott McCloud)?

* To what extent are these discourses in conversation with each other?

* Now that many Franco-Belgian works of comics criticism are available in translation—The System of Comics, Comics and Narration by Groensteen, to name two—are we beginning to see a blending of Anglo and French comics theories, or do these seem to be two separate lines of thought?

The scholars will address these questions and others in the context of the roundtable.


Martha Kuhlman, Bryant University


Barbara Postema, Ryerson University

Michael Chaney, Dartmouth College

Jared Gardner, Ohio State University

Hugo Frey, University of Chichester

Fabrice Leroy, University of Louisiana Lafayette

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