New Flashpoints in Comics History

Call for Papers for a guaranteed roundtable panel sponsored by the Forum for Comics and Graphic Narratives at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, January 7-10, 2021 in Toronto, ON.

“For all the vibrant scholarship emerging around comics today, the medium remains a largely unplumbed and uncanonized field of texts you’ve never heard of.” —Ramzi Fawaz, “A Queer Sequence: Comics as a Disruptive Medium” (2019)

Certain moments in comics have been regarded as pivotal in our histories and often bear repeating in scholarship, including R. Crumb’s shaping of the underground and subsequent movements through publishing Zap Comix in 1968; the near-simultaneous release of a number of now canonized works like Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, and the first collected volume of Maus in 1986; and the immediate success of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis in 2003 and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home in 2006. Alongside all of these moments, there exist countless untold histories of comics. New scholarship by the likes of Lara Saguisag (Incorrigibles and Innocents [2018]), Qiana Whitted (EC Comics [2019]), and Rebecca Wanzo (The Content of Our Caricature [2020]) are plumbing these depths. This guaranteed roundtable encourages further tracing of new genealogies of comics history by asking participants: What are the defining moments in comics history that have been overlooked? We welcome work especially on diverse creators and global contexts.

Please send 250-word abstracts and bios by 15 March 2020 to 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 2020.


  1. Are they discussing a grand timeline?
    Or is this more about filling in basis in the history book?

    1. Author

      Any one of these elements would be welcome. It’ll be a roundtable discussion, so the hope is that every panelist will provide a different perspective/contribution to the central focus.

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