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 →

We of the MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives are proud to announce our sessions for the 128th Annual MLA Convention, to be held 3-6 January 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. See below for our lineup—including our first-ever social event, a cash bar on Saturday evening, January 5! Besides the sessions we’re sponsoring, there will of course be others in Boston devoted to comics (which we’ll list in a future post). Comics studies within the MLA continues to be a robust, very active area. Do bookmark this blog and check back in over the weeks to come, as the convention draws nearer! We’ll be postingRead More →

This weekend, May 18-20, thanks to the tireless work of our own Hillary Chute, the University of Chicago‘s newly established Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry is hosting: Comics: Philosophy & Practice—a symposium that brings together what is certainly the most distinguished roster of comic artists ever assembled for an academic event: Lynda Barry, Alison Bechdel, Ivan Brunetti, Charles Burns, Dan Clowes, R. Crumb, Phoebe Gloeckner, Justin Green, Ben Katchor, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Françoise Mouly, Gary Panter, Joe Sacco, Seth, Art Spiegelman, Carol Tyler, and Chris Ware. Wow! These artists will be doing talks and workshops, interviews and panels, throughout the weekend. It all starts tonight,Read More →

The MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives plans to propose three panels for MLA 2013, to be held in Boston on 3-6 January: Black Studies and Comics New England DIY Comics Graphic Lives in Wartime (co-sponsored with the MLA Division on Autobiography, Biography, and Life Writing) The Call for Papers (CFP) for these panels has closed. The Group has gathered in abstracts for all three topics, and is now in the process of reviewing the abstracts, designing the panels, and submitting final proposals to the MLA Program Committee. We expect to confirm our slate of MLA 2013 programming sometime in June—please watch thisRead More →

The MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives has extended the deadline for its proposed MLA 2013 session, Black Studies and Comics, to 16 March 2012. We encourage all interested scholars to submit a proposal! … BLACK STUDIES AND COMICS Call for Papers for a proposed panel at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, 3-6 Jan. 2013, in Boston. Sponsored by the MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives. Submission deadline: 16 March 2012. This proposed panel seeks to explore how the methods of Black Studies may inform comic studies, and vice versa. We hope collaboration between these fields will yield greaterRead More →

The MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives sponsored three successful panels for the MLA 2012 conference in Seattle, 5-8 Jan. 2012. Make that very successful panels: all three were well attended, lively, stimulating, and innovative. Sadly, we were able to get photos of just one, the last, “Why Comics Are and Are Not Picture Books,” which took place on Saturday evening, 7 January. See the images below! This panel was packed, with a SRO crowd, and prompted an excellent discussion, thanks to the provocative work of panelists Perry Nodelman, Phil Nel, Michael Joseph, and Joseph Thomas. The panel was co-sponsored by the ComicsRead More →