Call for Papers for a proposed panel at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, 3-6 Jan. 2013, in Boston. Jointly sponsored by the MLA Division on Autobiography, Biography, and Life Writing and the MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives. … Comics and warfare are longtime companions. Organized mass violence underlies some of the most famous and enduring works in the form: the Crusades of Prince Valiant, the imperialist campaigns of Norakuro, the anti-imperialist clashes of Asterix, the global conflicts of Steve Canyon and Sgt. Rock, the wartime misadventures of noncombatants like Bécassine, and so many others. The concept of the superhero andRead More →

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. … Even as literary culture makes way for e-Readers and iPads, an opposing DIY trend champions the tactile, material qualities of printed books, flouting conventional economic wisdom and celebrating the haptic potential of reading. Indeed one effect of the digital revolution has been to highlight the virtues of pre-digital reading, turning attention to the book as art object and artifact. One expression of this phenomenon is the interest in handmade or limited-edition readable objects,Read More →

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. … Since representation is at the heart of graphic narrative in all its forms—including comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, webcomics, and panel cartoons—analyzing comics should be of central importance to scholars of race. To take but a single example, one of the pioneers of the newspaper strip, George Herriman, was a Black Southerner whose work offers subtle and complex commentary on race and color. Herriman—like Homer Plessy a mulatto from New Orleans—produced KrazyRead More →

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 →