ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies

ISSN: 1549-6732

ImageTexT is a peer-reviewed, open access journal dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of comics and related media. We are published by the English Department at the University of Florida with support from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Our content is available free of charge, and regular issues of ImageTexT will be published three times per year.

Volume 7, Issue 4

A Comic of Her Own:
Women Writing, Reading and Embodying through Comics

Edited by Jeffrey A. Brown and Melissa Loucks

Contents:

 
 

Past Issues

Volume 7 (2013-2014)

Volume 6 (2011 - 2013)

Volume 5 (2010 - 2011)

Volume 4 (2008 - 2009)

Volume 3 (2006 - 2007)

Volume 2 (2005 - 2006)

Volume 1 (2004 - 2005)

Editorial Board

  • Donald Ault Founder and Editor
  • Anastasia Ulanowicz Associate Editor

Editorial Advisory Board

  • Fredric Jameson
  • W.J.T. Mitchell
  • Jerome J. McGann

Editorial Review Board

  • Martin Barker
  • Scott Bukatman
  • Richard Burt
  • Sean Carney
  • Will Eisner (in memoriam)
  • Ian Gordon
  • Terry Harpold
  • Charles Hatfield
  • M. Thomas Inge
  • John Lent
  • Jeffery Klaehn
  • David Kunzle
  • Joseph Murphy
  • Scott Nygren (in memoriam)
  • Derek Parker Royal
  • Maureen Turim
  • Roger Sabin
  • Joseph Witek
  • Julian Wolfreys
  • Phil Wegner

The Sequential Artists Workshop

A new comix art school, The Sequential Artists Workshop, is soon open in Gainesville, FL. Please see the website at http://www.sequentialartistsworkshop.org/ for details. From the SAW website:

A couple years ago we had the crazy idea to open a school; an informal, but serious school, with a curriculum to match any anywhere, but without the baggage, the loans or the politics of higher education. This was the challenge: to create an outpost of support and learning in the comics world. We’re here to educate students and support artists. SAW is a place you can come for a week or a year and forge your personal creative path in visual storytelling.

SAW's mission statement is described in this excerpt from a letter which was sent by the school's founders, who include Tom Hart and Leela Corman, before the school's opening:

We're starting this school because we recognize more and more the need for intensive training in this artform, and also want to see the good, interesting adventurous artists out there multiply and flourish. That's why we're calling it The Sequential Artists Workshop: our mission is to train and support artists.
The school is being founded by Tom Hart, who has taught cartooning at the School of Visual Arts in New York City for 10 years, and has helped countless amazing students at SVA become artists. Tom says, "Cartooning and graphic novels are becoming bigger and bigger every day. I tutor and teach more and more people who are fascinated by this medium but don't know it's workings or don't know its history, or who just need time and mentoring to practice, learn and work. We want to be a place to for those people to work, to learn the form and to become sequential artists."

You can see the letter in full on our announcement of the Workshop on the ImageTexT News Feed. We at ImageTexT hope that you will extend support to this exciting new organization.

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[cfp] Call For Papers: The Future in Comics [UPDATED: Deadline Extended]

Posted 19 Apr, 2015

Organizers: The research group on comics at the English Department, Stockholm University

Where and When: Stockholm, 3rd-5th September

Call for papers, deadline/ Notification of acceptance: 10th of May, 2015/15th of May, 2015

Website: https://futureincomics.wordpress.com

E-mail for submissions: Submissions will be handled via easychair:

https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=fic1

This conference aims to investigate ways in which comics explore the idea of "future." Its goal is to gather scholars from the field of comic studies and related fields, such as linguistics, philosophy, literary studies, cultural studies, sociology, anthropology, film studies as well as others that can discover a conceptual connection to the rigorous study of comics. Given our broad and yet specific purpose, we aim to discuss work on comics originating from all major traditions: French bande desineé, American and British comics, Italian fumetti, Japanese manga, and so on. In pursuing this cross-cultural approach, we wish to discuss not only how different conceptions of the future in comics can be compared and analysed, but also how comics offer unorthodox modes of representation that allow for creative, intellectual freedom that may be different from literature and cinema. In particular, we are interested in, but not limited to, discussing these themes:

  • The cross-roads between utopia and dystopia (e.g. Gundam's Universal Century, Transmetropolitan's representation of life in "the city", Harlock's 30th century, the world of Rogue Trooper);
  • Apocalypses and new beginnings (e.g. Nausicaä's tragic millennium, Authority's new world, X-Men's days of future past, El eternauta's alien invasion);
  • The cities of the future (e.g. Dredd's Mega city one, Akira's neo-Tokyo, RanXeroX's Rome);
  • The humans of the future: mutants, augmented humans and cyborgs (e.g. Major Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell, Tony Stark in Iron Man; 2000 A.D.'s ABC Warriors);
  • The politics of the future (e.g. Bilal's Nicopol Trilogy, Oshi's Patlabor trilogy, Marvel's Civil War);
  • Time and history (e.g. Watchmen, Planetary, Neon Genesis Evangelion);
  • Nostalgia for future pasts (e.g. Nadia, Arzach, Tom Strong, Satellite Sam);
  • Elaborations and revisitations of futures in comics (Pluto, Time2, Le Transperceneige);
  • Futures set in stone, and how to avoid or reach them (X-Men's days of future past, AppleSeed, The Invisibles).

We hope to create a conference that not only discusses these topics and uncovers how they have been addressed in comics about the future, but also to lay the foundations of future research on these topics and develop new tools for advanced comics studies. We welcome abstracts between 400 and 500 words, excluding references and title. At the moment, we are aiming at securing publishing rights for selected papers from this conference, aiming at publication in December 2016.

For further information, please contact us at:
francesco.ursini@english.su.se
or
adnan.mahmutovic@english.su.se

Electronic registration will start by the 16th of May.

[event] "Comics Read but Seldom Seen" Press Release

Posted 07 Apr, 2015

Feel free to download and distribute our press release for this weekend's 12th Annual UF Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels, "Comics Read but Seldom Seen: Diversity and Representation in Comics and Related Media."

Download the press release as as an rtf file

[cfp] Muslim Superherhoes: Comics, Islam, and Representation

Posted 03 Apr, 2015

Editors: A. David Lewis and Martin Lund

Now accepting chapter proposals for new collection with established publisher interest!

Despite turning a rather blind eye to them through much of the twentieth century, major American comic book publishers like Marvel Comics and DC Comics have featured, in the twenty-first century, numerous Muslim superhero characters, with the seeming intention to diversify their fictional universes and to provide corrective representations of Muslims in a cultural moment when stereotype and vilification of Muslims and Islam is particularly rife. The most recent example is Marvel's Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel, Feb. 2014). Although it might be easy to dismiss Ms. Marvel as something peripheral, she was discussed in various mainstream media long before her first appearance. High praise was expressed by Muslims and non-Muslims who thought the character could help "normalize" Muslims in American eyes while vehement opposition was voiced by critics who regarded her as "appeasement" of Muslims. As recently as January 2015, the character was plastered on anti-Muslim ads in San Francisco, illustrating the cultural power such characters can attain. It seems clear that, today, Muslim superheroes—and Islam in comic books, more generally—matter greatly to a large number of Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Of course, Muslim superheroes are not restricted to the post-9/11 years, to the major superhero publishers, nor to the United States. There have been limited examples of Muslim superheroes in American superhero comics since their so-called "Golden Age." And, smaller American publishers have created characters like Buraaq and the Silver Scorpion. More importantly, in recent years a steady stream of successful Muslim superhero comics has been emerging from Islamic contexts, ranging from the now multinational The 99 to the activist webcomic Qahera, much of which has also met with both approval and condemnation at home and abroad.

However, neither the historical precedents for the most recent American characters nor the contemporary diversity among Muslim superheroes is widely known. Although the Muslim superhero is becoming an increasingly important cultural phenomenon, it is still understudied and ill-understood, as is the representation of Islam in comics generally. Therefore, we are now looking for chapter proposals for the edited volume Muslim Superheroes. Through a series of close readings, this collection will study how Muslim and non-Muslim comics creators and critics have produced, reproduced, and represented different conceptions of Islam and Muslimness, embodied in superhero comics characters specifically and comic book protagonists more generally.

The purpose of the collection is threefold. First, it will assemble studies of a variety of comics characters and, thus, begin to outline the long history and diversity of Muslim superheroes. Second, it will attempt to answer some basic questions about these characters: why do Muslim superheroes keep being created?; what purposes do they serve?; how do they succeed (and how do they fail) in performing their assigned duties as signifiers of one conception of Islam or another? Third, it sets out to consider the extent of the impact Muslim superheroes have and will continue to have on both the genre and its audiences today.

Possible topics for proposals include, but are not limited to:

  • Muslim superheroes in Marvel or DC comics in a specific period ("Golden Age," "Silver Age," "Bronze Age," post-9/11)
  • Close readings of specific characters from other publishers (e. g. Buraaq, Silver Scorpion, Qahera, The 99)
  • Reception (positive and negative), consumption, and uses of Muslim superheroes
  • Translation and transposition of American superheroes in Islamic contexts

Please send a short synopsis (no more than 150 words) of your chapter, a full abstract (no more than 800 words), as well as contact information, affiliation, and a short CV with publication list to a.lewis@mcphs.edu by April 30, 2015. Feel free to direct any questions to Martin Lund at p.martin.lund@gmail.com.

About the Editors

A. David Lewis is the co-editor of Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels (Bloomsbury) and Digital Death: Mortality and Beyond in the Online Age (Praeger). He holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Boston University and is both an Executive Board Member of the Comics Studies Society and a founding member of Sacred & Sequential.

Martin Lund is a Swedish Research Council International Postdoc at Linnaeus University and Visiting Research Scholar at the Gotham Center for New York City History at the CUNY Graduate Center. He holds a Ph.D. in Jewish Studies from Lund University and is an editor of the Scandinavian Journal of Comic Art and a contributing member of Sacred & Sequential.

[general] Retirement of Dr. Don Ault, ImageTexT Founding Editor

Posted 28 Jan, 2015

ImageTexT's Founder and General Editor, Dr. Don Ault, is retiring from the University of Florida. As of our next issue release (8.1), a new faculty editorial team (consisting of General Editor Terry Harpold, Associate Editor Laurie Gries, and Associate Editor Anastasia Ulanowicz) will be leading the journal. The Editors and ImageTexT staff would like to thank Don for his integral role as Founding Editor and for his work as General Editor for the past 11 years. His stewardship has shaped ImageTexT into the quality journal it is today.

Don's teaching, scholarship, and university service have been instrumental in developing comics studies as a discipline at UF and across the country. He has been an inspiration and valued mentor to many, and his contributions to the Department of English will certainly outlive his tenure.

Don and a team of faculty and graduate students (with generous University of Florida support) published the inaugural issue of ImageTexT in 2004, following the 2002 "Will Eisner Symposium," which was the first UF Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels. ImageTexT has been a UF insitution ever since, and we are proud to be continuing Don's legacy.

We hope that you will all join us in celebrating Don's years of scholarship and service.

[cfp] 2015 UF Comics Conference: NEW PROPOSAL DEADLINE January 27

Posted 22 Jan, 2015

Comics Read but Seldom Seen: Diversity and Representation in Comics and Related Media.

Guest speakers: Sheena C. Howard and José Alaniz

Proposal dealine: January 27, 2015

The Graduate Comics Organization at the University of Florida is pleased to announce that Sheena C. Howard (Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation) and José Alaniz (Death, Disability and the Superhero: The Silver Age and Beyond) will be guest speaker's at this Spring's upcoming conference, "Comics Read but Seldom Seen: Diversity and Representation in Comics and Related Media."

The Graduate Comics Organization at the University of Florida invites applicants to submit proposals to the 12th UF Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels, "Comics Read but Seldom Seen." The conference will be held from Friday, April 10th, 2015 to Sunday, April 12th, 2015. Remember that proposals are due January 1st, 2015!

The analysis of diversity and representation in comic books is an integral and growing part of Comics Studies. For example, in only the past few years, Adilifu Nama published Super Black: American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes (2011), which provides a historical overview of black comic-book superheroes and racial dynamics in superhero comics; Sheena C. Howard and Ronald L. Jackson II edited Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation (2013), an essay collection which explores representations of race in both comic books and comic strips; and Joseph J. Darowski came out with X-Men and the Mutant Metaphor: Race and Gender in the Comic Books, which examines and tracks race and gender identity in the Uncanny X-Men roster of heroes and villains (2014).

Mainstream comics have been increasingly open to experimenting with diversity in sexuality, race, gender, and disability. Marvel has a new Muslim woman superhero; "traditionally" straight superheroes have been coming out in new universes/continuities; and disability often crosses over into hyperability (as in the cases of Daredevil and Echo, Professor X, Cyborg, and Batgirl/Oracle). However, many of these experiments in diversity have been limited or problematic, and have at times generated controversy (for example, Batwoman's infamously canceled wedding). Alternative and independent comics, from the underground comix scene on, have long been a space for writers and artists to depict diverse characters who do not fit into the narrow mold of the straight, white, cissexual, neurotypical, and able-bodied male hero.

The goal of "Comics Read but Seldom Seen” is to celebrate and interrogate the representation of marginalized groups in comics and related media. "Related media” can include film and TV comic-book adaptations (as well as their promotional tie-ins), illustrated blogs, video games, news stories with accompanying photographs, street art, museum exhibits, advertisements, and all other cultural objects which juxtapose image and text to create new meaning. We are looking not only for critiques of those instances where imagetexts fall short in their representations of the marginalized, but also for thoughtful examinations of how and when comics and related media "get it right."

Possible topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Race, Space and Place in the Comics (The work of the Hernandez Brothers; Jessica Abel's La Perdida; the work of Marjane Satrapi; Joann Sfar's The Rabbi's Cat)
  • Representing Disability and Disorder (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Alison Bechdel's Fun Home; autism in Keiko Tobe's With the Light; epilepsy in David B.'s Epileptic)
  • Milestone Media and its history with DC
  • Queering the Supercommunity (LGBTQ representations in mainstream comics; "traditionally" straight superheroes coming out in new universes/continuities; conversations and backlash surrounding queer representation in mainstream comics; Northstar's highly-publicized wedding; Batwoman's canceled wedding)
  • Rethinking Race in 'Mainstream' Comics (Robert Morales and Kyle Baker's The Truth: Red, White & Black)
  • Where Disability Meets Hyperability (Daredevil and Echo; Professor X; Cyborg; Batgirl/Oracle)
  • Manga and LGBTQ issues (Trans in Moto Hagio's Wandering Son; representations of homosexuality in shounen-ai, shoujo-ai, yaoi, yuri, bara and BL)
  • Physical Disability in Manga (Inoue Takahiko's REAL)
  • Diversity and Representation in Imagetextual News Media (the visual rhetoric of diversity in photojournalism)
  • Diversity and Representation in Video Games (female leads in games [Portal, Beyond Good and Evil]; gaming characters of color [The Walking Dead]; the visual rhetoric of the Lara Croft reboot; the expansion of "queer" options dictated by player choice in Bioware RPGs)
  • Diversity and Representation in Cartoons and Anime (non-white leads in cartoons [anything from kids' superhero fare like Generator Rex to satire like The Boondocks]; gender and sexuality in anime [Revolutionary Girl Utena, anime adaptations of LGBTQ manga]; "girl power" or female-led cartoons [Powerpuff Girls, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, The Legend of Korra])

In addition to traditional, 15-20 minute presentations, "Comics Read but Seldom Seen" will also consider discussion panels from multiple presenters coordinating around a central topic or theme.

Proposals should be between 200 and 300 words, and are due January 27, 2015. All proposals should be submitted to Najwa Al-Tabaa at naltabaa@ufl.edu.

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ImageTexT is published by the Department of English at the University of Florida.