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.

 
 

Past Issues

Volume 9 (2017-2018)

  • Issue 2
     Special Issue: Mixing Visual Media in Comics
  • Issue 1
     General Issue with "Traumics" Forum

Volume 8 (2015-2016)

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

  • Anastasia Ulanowicz Editor

  • Terry Harpold Associate Editor

  • Donald Ault Founder and Editor Emeritus

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] Comics and Fine Art

Posted 04 Nov, 2017
Guest Editors: Mark Hodge and Chase Machado

ImageTexT is accepting paper submissions for a special forum on the topic of "Comics and Fine Art." In his 1939 article "The Avant-Garde and Kitsch," art critic Clement Greenberg lamented that the "superior consciousness" that was avant-garde culture, the high art of "Picasso, Braque, Mondrian, Miro, Kandinsky, Brancusi" and so on, was under assault. According to Greenberg, it was being threatened by the "rear-guard" of cultural production, which he termed "kitsch." Greenberg included under the label of kitsch "...popular, commercial art and literature with their chromeotypes, magazine covers, illustrations, ads, slick and pulp fiction, comics, Tin Pan Alley music, tap dancing, Hollywood movies, etc., etc..." The placement of comics into the so-called rear-guard of culture is indicative of the way in which academics have viewed comics for much of the last century, predominantly in Northern America.

This hierarchy in which comics exist below fine art on the spectrum of cultural production has tended to render comics unfit for serious academic inquiry among mainstream art historians, despite the fact that, as Bart Beaty has pointed out, comics have been mined and utilized by contemporary artists for decades. Likewise, fine art has been addressed and commented upon in comics continuously throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. It is to this complicated relationship between comics and fine art, and to the nature and the mechanisms of the hierarchy that divides the two that this forum turns.

In general, we are interested in papers, which address some aspect of the dialogue between comics and fine art. The goal of this volume is not to claim a position in the canon of art history for comics, nor is it simply to criticize the system that has placed comics outside of that canon. We are looking for papers instead that seek to analyze, through comics, the nature of the perception of what is high and low culture, and the increasingly complicated relationship between the two in our postmodern world. Submissions in the range of 6,000-10,000 words are welcome.

Topics could include but are not limited to:

  • The work of comics artists who operate in (traditionally) fine art modes, such as Ho Che Anderson, Bill Sienkiewicz, Hanneriina Moisseinen, Dave McKean, Ashley Wood, and David Mack
  • Work by fine artists which actively engages comics form and content, such as Philippe Parreno, Rivane Neuenschwander, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Jasper Johns
  • Artists who work both in comics and fine art, such as Marcel Duchamp, Ad Reinhardt, Phoebe Glockner, Julie Doucet, and John Jennings
  • Work by comics artists or fine artists which defy, ignore, or attempt to bridge distinctions between comics and fine art, such as Aidan Koch, Saul Steinberg, William Steig, and Mark Newgarden
  • Comics which engage with fine art practices, artists, pastiches or parodies of art works, as well as the various Fine Art movements from around the world
  • Comics through the theories and methodologies of art history and criticism, either entirely new or responding to existing work, such as Scott Bukatman's work on Mike Mignola and sculpture
  • Artistic training and the position(ing) of cartooning within art schools

Completed submissions for this special forum are due on April 1st, 2018. Please send all submissions or questions to Chase Machado at machadoc@ufl.edu and/or Mark Hodge at mch22@ufl.edu. Please also read the ImageTexT submissions guidelines: http://www.english.ufl.edu/imagetext/submissions.shtml. All images should be provided as ZIP files.

[cfp]

Submission Deadline: March 28, 2018

Posted 12 Oct, 2017

Special Issue Editors: Najwa Al-Tabaa, Ashley Manchester, and Katherine Shaeffer

ImageTexT invites authors to submit articles for the special issue, “Comics Read But Seldom Seen: Diversity and Representation in Comics.”

We are approaching the 15th anniversary of ImageTexT, and through our years of publication and conferencing, we have seen a multitude of scholarship, texts, and representation. In a moment where diversity and difference are attacked and further marginalized in the United States, we feel, now more than ever before, the call to create a space where such topics and arguments can be realized.

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; 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); and Ramzi Fawaz published The New Mutants (2016), an exploration of queer and queer-coded mainstream superheroes.

Mainstream comics have been increasingly open to experimenting with diversity in sexuality, race, gender, and disability. Marvel has a new Muslim woman superhero; 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. Even underground comix have been charged with perpetuating misogyny and homophobia, though, despite their commitment to visually and narratively depicting more diverse representations.

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; superhero coming out narratives in new universes/continuities; conversations and backlash surrounding queer representation in mainstream comics; Northstar's highly-publicized wedding; Batwoman's canceled wedding)
  • LGBTQ+ Representation in Comics (texts by artists such as Beldan Sezen, Roberta Gregory, Mary Wings, Blue Delliquanti, Jess Fink, and/or Mariko Tamaki)
  • Rethinking Race in “Mainstream” Comics (Robert Morales and Kyle Baker's The Truth: Red, White & Black)
  • Representing the traumatic past and present (Maximilian Uriarte’s Terminal Lance: The White Donkey)
  • 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])

Please submit full articles of no more than 10,000 words to Najwa Al-Tabaa (naltabaa@ufl.edu) and Ashley Manchester (manchester@ufl.edu) by March 28, 2018.

[cfp] Call for Papers: Bodies/Borders in Jewish Women's Comics

Posted 31 May, 2017
Edited by: Heike Bauer, Andrea Greenbaum, and Sarah Lightman

Scholarship and publications on Jewish women and comics have grown considerably over the last five years. Studies such as the Eisner Award-winning Graphic Details: Jewish Women's Confessional Comics in Essays and Interviews (Lightman 2014), How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses? (Oksman 2016) and our own special issue on "Contemporary Comics by Jewish Women" (Bauer, Greenbaum, Lightman, Studies in Comics 7:2 2015) have shown that Jewish women make a significant and varied contribution to contemporary comics.

Prompted by the realization that many Jewish women artists work across national and cultural contexts, and that we have yet to examine more fully how their Jewishness intersects with other forms of identity and identification, we are now inviting contributions to a new collection of essays and interviews on Jewish women's comics in transnational context. Tentatively titled, Bodies/ Borders in Jewish Women's Comics, it will bring together scholars and artists to examine comics from a wide range of countries and cultures and present original artwork including work that has not yet been translated into English.

We are in discussion with an academic press. All submissions will be peer-reviewed. We are seeking to publish essays, interviews and artwork.

Essays should focus on Jewish women. Themes might include, but are not limited to:

  • Intersectionality
  • Sexuality and gender
  • Illness-related narratives
  • Women's bodies
  • Religious texts (Talmud, Torah etc)
  • Mothers
  • Domesticity
  • Exile/diaspora
  • Superheroes and Villains
  • Workplace Narratives
  • War and Conflict

Interviews

We are eager to publish interviews with Jewish women comic artists from around the world. Please get in touch if you would like to propose an interview.

Artwork

We are especially interested in both original artwork and previously published work that has not yet been translated into English.

Deadline for Abstracts: June 30th, 2017

Send abstracts to: Dr. Andrea Greenbaum, Professor of English, Barry University agreenbaum@barry.edu.

[general] Call for Creative Texts and Reviewers

Posted 17 May, 2017

In an effort to expand our reviews section, ImageTexT will begin inviting reviews of comics texts published by small presses, preferably engaging with the connection between image/text mediums and the social world. Since comics and animation have a long and rich history of reflecting, interacting with, and being shaped by the larger socio-cultural moment in which they were produced, image/text works have been highly influential in social movements and justice-oriented discourses throughout the world.

At ImageTexT, we believe it is the academic community's responsibility to keep social concerns in public discourse, resisting the normalization of hate-based rhetoric, images, or actions with our scholarly engagement. Given the critical socio-political climate of the contemporary United States and other locations, we feel comics that explicitly visualize social justice issues deserve academic and popular attention that helps illuminate the many ways these texts connect with or affect the actual lived experiences of those involved in these issues. To that end, we invite authors, publishers, or readers to recommend small-press texts that they believe deeply and critically engage with various social justice issues. Some of the texts we currently have available for review include:

  • Drawing the Line: Indian Women Fight Back, Ad Astra Comix
  • War in the Neighborhood, Ad Astra Comix
  • Dumb, Georgia Webber, Radiator Comics
  • The Weight, Melissa Mendes, Radiator Comics
  • Inner City Romance, Guy Colwell (new 2015 collected edition)
  • Disco Cry, Marianna Serocka, Centrala Press
  • Power & Magic: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology, Joamette Gil

Please visit the ImageTexT website to find other scholarly and creative titles available for review.

We invite scholars, authors, and critics to submit 1,500-3,000 word reviews of these or any other small press, socially-oriented image/text works. To inquire about a specific title, suggest a title for review, or ask any other questions about the reviews process at ImageTexT, please email Ashley Manchester at manchester@ufl.edu and/or Charles Acheson at cpacheson21@ufl.edu.

[general] Alex Robinson Voyages Into OUR EXPANDING UNIVERSE!

Posted 17 May, 2017

Ever since the days of his massive award-winning debut Box Office Poison, Alex Robinson has been one of the indie comics community's biggest stars -- "A master cartoonist," as Publishers Weekly put it. Now, like Halley's comet, he's completed another lengthy trip around the solar system and come back with a powerful new graphic novel: Our Expanding Universe!

OUR EXPANDING UNIVERSE by Alex Robinson

The award-winning author of Box Office Poison, Tricked, and Too Cool to Be Forgotten returns to his home turf, as a small constellation of city-dwellers take a frightening step into the unknown: parenthood.

Amid dinner parties, game nights, and hospital stays, a once-tight group of friends wrestle with the shifting shapes of their lives. Under the pressures of marriage and the passage of time, will they cling to the past, leap into the future, or self-destruct? Hey, not every implosion leads to a Big Bang...

OUR EXPANDING UNIVERSE by Alex Robinson
  • A 256-page, b&w softcover graphic novel with flaps, 6 1/2" x 9 5/8".
  • ISBN 978-1-60309-377-4 - Diamond Comic Distributors code: SEP15-0465
  • $19.99 (US) - coming in November
  • Click here to read an 8-page preview!

Plus: a new look for a beloved classic!

But why stop there? We're proud to unveil a snazzy new edition of Alex Robinson's groundbreaking and widely beloved debut, Box Office Poison!

This 608-page opus -- following an unforgettable ensemble cast through dreary jobs, messy apartments, new love, naked roommates, and comic-industry exploitation -- has received such honors as the Eisner Award and the Angoulême Prix du Premier Album, and was declared by Wizard Magazine the best indy graphic novel of all time.

BOX OFFICE POISON (New Cover Edition) by Alex Robinson
  • A 608-page, b&w softcover graphic novel, 6 1/2" x 9 5/8".
  • ISBN 978-1-891830-19-8 - Diamond Comic Distributors code: STAR13562
  • $29.95 (US) - coming in November
  • Click here to read a 5-page preview!
Chris Staros Top Shelf Productions PO Box 1282 Marietta GA 30061-1282 USA chris@topshelfcomix.com www.topshelfcomix.com

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All content is (c) ImageTexT 2004 - 2017 unless otherwise noted. All authors and artists retain copyright unless otherwise noted.
All images are used with permission or are permissible under fair use. Please see our legal notice.

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