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

Announcement: The Sequential Artists Workshop

A new comix art school, The Sequential Artists Workshop, is soon to open in Gainesville, FL. Please see the website at http://www.sequentialartistsworkshop.org/ for details. The founders of the Sequential Artists Workshop, also called SAW, are running a fundraiser at http://www.indiegogo.com/Creating-The-Sequential-Artists-Workshop.

The following is an excerpt from a letter sent by the school's founders, who include Tom Hart and Leela Corman:

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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[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.

[cfp] Call for Papers for the Panel:
The Sequential Art: Comics as a Cultural Nexus

Posted 11 Dec, 2014

(As part of the 'The Third Global Forum of Critical Studies: Asking Big Questions Again', organized by Euroacademia in Florence, Italy, 6 - 7 February 2015)

PANEL DESCRIPTION:

"Comics are just words and images. You can do anything with words and images." Harvey Pekar

The phenomenon known as comics, bandes dessinées, graphic story or fumetti was first defined as sequential art by Will Eisner in his work Comics and Sequential Art (1985). Further inquiries were led by Scott Mc Cloud (Understanding Comics) or Benoît Peeters (Lire la bande dessinée) in trying to establish a theoretical framework for this means of expression. After a long period of being perceived as a childish form of entertainment, nowadays the sequential art is a well-known and respected form of art and it has even become a field of academic research.

This panel aims to feature the transdisciplinarity of its subjects and its methods, to bring together different ways of approaches, and to highlight its numerous possibilities of cultural dialogue. The panel welcomes contributions regarding the following topics, but any other paper or subject related to sequential art is most appreciated:

  • Mainstream, independent and underground comics traditions
  • How comics have been a way of expression to social and historical subjects
  • Theoretical and critical approaches of comics
  • Otherness in comics: depiction of exotic places and alterity
  • The Superhero prototype: a way of understanding the American way of life?
  • The Space In Between. On Time and Space in comics. Phenomenological interpretations
  • The connection between comics and architecture: François Schuiten — Les cités obscures
  • Comics versus Movies
  • Feminism and Comics

If interested to apply, please see first the full details of the conference at http://euroacademia.eu/conference/3rd-forum-of-critical-studies/

You can apply online on the conference website or by sending 300 words abstract together with the details of affiliation at application@euroacademia.eu

[cfp] Comics and Medicine: Spaces of Care

Posted 02 Dec, 2014

16th – 18th July 2015
Culver Arts Center
University of California, Riverside

Theme

The theme of this year's conference, Spaces of Care, invites us to think about space as a critical element in health care and comics. Receiving medical treatment can affect how we relate to and interact with each other and our environments. Medical care is often thought of as taking place primarily in clinical spaces. A strength of comics is their ability to visualize care beyond these settings to include geographic, physical, ideological, imaginative, temporal, and social spaces. We invite the submission of a wide variety of abstracts focusing on medicine and comics in any form (e.g. graphic novels, comic strips, manga, web comics) that examine topics including, but not limited to:

  • Comics depictions of architecture and design and their impact on illness and disability
  • Comics representations of physical spaces that impact the delivery of medical care
  • Use of comics to imagine new spaces for well-being and care
  • The use of comics in creating internal bodily spaces in medical education and illustration
  • The materiality of comics as a space for expressing or demonstrating care
  • The use of space in comics to evoke intersubjective understandings of health and illness narratives
  • The use of comics to visualize geographical, ideological, and/or political boundaries and access to medical therapies
  • Ethical implications of creating comics for patients, physicians, or institutions
  • Trends in, histories of, or the use of comics in healthcare
  • The interface of graphic medicine and popular culture

Continue reading ...

[cfp] CALL FOR BOOK CHAPTERS

Posted 31 Oct, 2014

Cultures of Comics Work

Editors: Casey Brienza and Paddy Johnston

"All artistic work, like all human activity, involves the joint activity of a number, often a large number, of people. Through their cooperation, the art work we eventually see or hear comes to be and continues to be. The work always shows signs of that cooperation," wrote sociologist Howard Becker in his seminal monograph on cultural production Art Worlds. Comic art is no exception to Becker's basic insight. Writers, illustrators, graphic designers, letterers, editors, printers, typesetters, publicists, publishers, distributors, retailers, and countless others are both directly and indirectly involved in the creative production of what is commonly thought of as the comic book.

Yet comics scholars all too often advance a narrow auteurist vision of production in their research. Names such as Art Spiegelman, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, and Osamu Tezuka continue loom large in the intellectual firmament, while, despite recent calls for sociological approaches to comics scholarship, the large numbers of people without whom no comic would exist in the first place are routinely overlooked. A clear focus upon these people and the contributions of their labor is therefore long overdue and absolutely necessary to advance the boundaries of the theoretical and methodological study of comics. After all, how are we to understand any work of comic art if we know nothing about the myriad varieties of cultural work that went into its creation?

This anthology takes as its problematic the tensions between the artistic ideal and the realities of contemporary cultural production and builds upon preliminary work mapping out this important but underexplored area of inquiry in the "Comics & Cultural Work" Special Theme Month which ran through December 2013 at Comics Forum (http://comicsforum.org/comics-forum-archives/website-archive/comics-and-cultural-work). Chapters addressing the theme of cultures of comics work outlined in the previous paragraphs are solicited, with a view toward the publication of a multi-authored volume consisting of between 12-14 chapters. A series editor for a well-known academic press has expressed preliminary interest in this project.

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