Call for Papers for a panel at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, 9-12 Jan. 2014, in Chicago. Sponsored by the MLA Division on Nineteenth-Century American Literature. The MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives is pleased to announce this panel for MLA 2014 organized by its sister entity, the Division on the Nineteenth-Century American Literature. The explosion of print media in the 19th century has become a critical commonplace; the impact of photographic images on the period been studied extensively. We invite submissions that take up the combination of word and image, as in The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck (1842), theRead More →

Call for Papers for a proposed panel at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, 9-12 Jan. 2014, in Chicago. Sponsored by the MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives. The comics medium and the numerous media included under the rubric of “fine art” (such as painting, printmaking, drawing, sculpture, experimental film or video, and digital art) have a long history of both connection and divergence. In our current moment, comics are entering the space of the museum. This past year brought us significant shows by Robert Crumb and Art Spiegelman in Paris; in summer 2013 Daniel Clowes will have a retrospective at theRead More →

Call for Papers for a panel at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, 9-12 Jan. 2014, in Chicago. Sponsored by the MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives. Though comics is a dialogic form, current academic work on comics has remarkably little to say about the possibility of genuinely dialogical creation, that is, collaboration. The bulk of recent scholarly and curatorial work on comics favors the concept of cartooning as a singular personal handwriting, that is, an autographic trace, ignoring the historical importance and artistic potential of multi-authored comics. The proposed panel seeks to illuminate this blind spot in comics study by invitingRead More →

Call for Papers for a proposed panel at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, 9-12 Jan. 2014, in Chicago. Jointly sponsored by the MLA Division on Literature and Other Arts and the MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives. Spurred by the development of the Internet and wordless communication, transnationalism has come to mean a new way of thinking about the relationships and interconnectivity among cultures, languages, arts, and peoples on the international stage. Comics and graphic narratives have long been the visual and textual testament to this global interaction. From the influence of 19th and early 20th century European comic art onRead More →

Welcome to our newest Executive Committee member, Nhora Lucía Serrano. Nhora was elected to the Committee this fall, and her election confirmed by the MLA in December, just in time for her to join us in Boston. Proud to welcome you aboard, Nhora! Nhora is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at California State University, Long Beach, and co-editor (with Janelle A. Schwartz) of Curious Collectors, Collected Curiosities: An Interdisciplinary Study (2011). Her full bio can be found here. Nhora’s term on the Executive Committee will be from MLA conference year 2014 (that is, 2013-2014) to MLA 2018. We look forward to working with herRead More →

Updated, 26 Dec. 2012: Besides the three panels and the cash bar (!) sponsored by our Discussion Group (i.e. the Comics and Graphic Narratives Group), MLA 2013 in Boston will host several other sessions dedicated or strongly related to comics studies, as well as many individual papers that, as far as we can tell from the program, relate to the field. Though the number of comics-themed events this time around does not quite match the all-time high set by last year, interest in comics at the MLA obviously remains strong—a hopeful sign for the future! Sadly, the MLA’s searchable online program does not include theRead More →

Session 657. Cash Bar Arranged by the Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives Saturday, 5 January, 7:00–8:15 p.m. Independence West, Sheraton Boston … Please join us for this cash bar and informal get-together! We are eager to meet with everyone at MLA who is interested in comics studies. Members of our Executive Committee will be on hand to chat about our future plans, ideas for programming and community-building, and the further growth of comics studies both at the MLA and across academia. We invite your input, and hope to connect with you! For an overview of all MLA 2013 sessions organized by the DiscussionRead More →

Session 504. New England DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Comics Saturday, 5 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m. The Fens, Sheraton Boston Presiding: Martha B. Kuhlman, Bryant Univ. DIY (Do-It-Yourself) comics and “minicomics” are distinct from the more familiar graphic novel in at least two fundamental respects: they are relatively cheap to produce, and they sell for little money or are entirely free. Liberated from the typical economic imperatives of mass appeal and marketability, minicomics have the potential to be more spontaneous, rebellious, personal, and experimental than longer-form graphic novels—and yet they are rarely studied due to their ephemeral nature. With a regional focus befitting our Boston locale, New EnglandRead More →

Session 303. Graphic Lives in Wartime Friday, 4 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m. The Fens, Sheraton Boston Program jointly arranged by the Division on Autobiography, Biography, and Life Writing and the Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives Presiding: Linda Haverty Rugg, UC Berkeley; Joseph (Rusty) Witek, Stetson Univ.… 1. “Joe Sacco on Joe Sacco” Julia Watson, Ohio State Univ., Columbus Joe Sacco’s graphic memoirs trace a space between documentary journalism and the affective power of eyewitness testimony. They problematize the relationship of history and memory even as they take up unofficial and neglected histories and gloss them via the powerful and moving detail of visual images.Read More →

Session 132. Black Studies and Comics Thursday, 3 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m. Back Bay D, Sheraton Boston Presiding: Qiana Joelle Whitted, Univ. of South Carolina, Columbia 1. “(In)Visible Bodies: Rewriting the Politics of Passing in Incognegro, a Graphic Mystery by Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece” Christophe Dony, Univ. of Liège How can passing across racial lines be described and conveyed in the comics form? Can the medium develop specific strategies to comment on the themes of transgression and crossing inherent to the trope of passing? This paper shows how the graphic novel Incognegro (2008) goes beyond the traditional socio-historical analysis of passing and plays thematically, generically,Read More →