This morning Seattle’s NPR affiliate station, KUOW (Puget Sound Public Radio), ran a segment on its weekly morning show, Weekday, inspired by our panel, How Seattle Changed Comics. Listen to Weekday to hear scholars Susan Kirtley and Christopher Pizzino discuss comics in and of Seattle with host Steve Scher: Congratulations, Susan and Chris, for this terrific interview! (The comics segment begins at about 33:40 in the podcast.) We’re all at the MLA now, and getting ready for our panels. Onward!Read More →

Welcome to our newest Executive Committee member, Martha Kuhlman. Martha was elected to the Committee this fall, and her election was confirmed by the MLA in December, just in time for our work in Seattle. Welcome aboard, Martha! Martha is an Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Bryant University, a prolific comics scholar, and co-editor (with Dave Ball) of The Comics of Chris Ware: Drawing is a Way of Thinking. Her full bio can be found here. Martha’s term on the Executive Committee will be from 2012 to 2017. We are proud to welcome her to our ranks, and look forward to working with her inRead More →

In addition to the three sessions sponsored by our Discussion Group (i.e. the Comics and Graphic Narratives Group), MLA 2012 will be hosting many other events relevant to comics studies. In fact, the program shows that the MLA’s interest in comics and graphic narratives is at an all-time high. The amount of work being done on comics within the MLA now is startling to those who remember leaner, hungrier times—it’s a veritable groundswell! Unfortunately, it’s not possible to search for the subjects comics or graphic narratives in the MLA’s searchable online program. So, to spread the word about this groundswell, we of the Comics andRead More →

We, the MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives, are proud to announce our sessions for the 127th Annual MLA Convention, to be held 5-8 January 2012 in Seattle, Washington. See below for the lineup in brief—or click here to read the full abstracts for all sessions! Besides the sessions we’re sponsoring, there will be several others in Seattle dedicated to comics. Comics studies activity within the MLA, to our continuing delight, keeps growing! We’ll identify these in a future post. Please bookmark this blog and check in the weeks to come, as the Seattle meeting draws nearer! Note: Only a limited number ofRead More →

Session 371. The Material History of Spider-Man (A 50th Anniversary Observance) Friday, 6 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m. Room 606, Washington State Convention Center Presiding: Jonathan W. Gray, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY … 1. Written in the Body: Spider-Man, Venom, and the Specter of Biopower Ben Bolling, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Psychoanalytic readings of the Spider-Man mythos may be augmented by considering the nervous preoccupation with biopower that undergirds the Wall-crawler’s fifty-year transmedia history. Considered within the frame of Foucault’s biopolitics, Peter Parker’s famous encounter with the irradiated spider leads not to his individual empowerment, but rather to the co-opting of hisRead More →

Session 399. How Seattle Changed Comics Saturday, 7 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m. Room 303, Washington State Convention Center Presiding: Hillary L. Chute, University of Chicago … 1. Ernie Pook and the Emerald City: Lynda Barry’s Seattle Susan E. Kirtley, Portland State University Lynda Barry moved to Seattle from Wisconsin as a child, and though she has said she “never was happy” there, she returns to the city time and again in her work, particularly in her long-running strip Ernie Pook’s Comeek and her semi-autobiographical collection One Hundred Demons. This paper explores how Barry chooses to render Seattle through her comic art and how the city influencesRead More →

  Session 579. Why Comics Are and Are Not Picture Books Saturday, 7 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m. Room 303, Washington State Convention Center Presiding: Charles Hatfield, California State University, Northridge; Craig Svonkin, Metropolitan State College of Denver Session jointly arranged by the MLA Division on Children’s Literature and the MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives … Both picture books and comics participate in children’s culture and literacy learning; both build narratives visually. Yet their kinship is obscured by different ideological frameworks: picture books are generally seen as empowering young readers to take part in a social structure that prizes official literacy; comics, in contrast,Read More →

Preparations are well underway for the 127th Annual MLA Convention, to be held 5-8 January 2012 in Seattle, Washington. We of the Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives, after a very successful slate of panels at the 2011 convention in Los Angeles, are in the thick of planning for 2012—do check out our Calls for Papers for Seattle: Why Comics Are and Are Not Picture Books (deadline March 12, 2011) The Material History of Spider-Man (deadline March 5, 2011) How Seattle Changed Comics (deadline March 12, 2011) Feel free to post comments to this blog or to email Charles Hatfield @ charles[dot]hatfield[at]gmail[dot]com if youRead More →

How Seattle Changed Comics Call for Papers for a proposed panel at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, 5-8 Jan. 2012, Seattle, Washington. Sponsored by the MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives. The proposed session would explore how Seattle and its institutions—seminal publisher Fantagraphics; The Comics Journal; independent and minicomix scenes—have transformed contemporary comics and the cultures surrounding it. Discussion: Seattle is arguably the city that has shaped US comics the most over the past thirty years. The influence of independent publisher Fantagraphics is enormous: Fantagraphics has disseminated the work of many of the world’s most famous contemporary cartoonists, discovering and nurturingRead More →

The Material History of Spider-Man: A 50th Anniversary Observance Call for Papers for a panel at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, 5-8 Jan. 2012, Seattle. This panel will be sponsored by the MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Spider-Man’s first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15, this session wishes to examine the histories imbricated in this iconic figure. From his Cold War origins in 1962, to his emergence as a symbol of the counterculture, to his commemoration of indelible moments in 21st-century America (e.g., Amazing Spider-Man #477—the 9/11 issue, or Amazing Spider-Man #583—the Obama issue), Spider-Man’sRead More →