ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies

ISSN: 1549-6732

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[cfp] Comics as Scholarship: Digital Humanities Quarterly Special Issue

Posted 23 Oct, 2012

Edited by Anastasia Salter and Roger Whitson

Comic Version of the CFP

While the coexistence of images and text towards a shared purpose is now an established part of our digital landscape, often in conjunction with animation, interaction and sound, scholarly forms are still dominated by the textual. But meaningful juxtapositions of media as sequential art offer an opportunity for scholarly reflection, as works such as Bryan Talbot's Alice in Sunderland and Robert Berry's Ulysses Seen remind us. Often, the comic form is still associated with simplicity or beginners. Series of graphic scholarship spawn titles like McLuhan for Beginners that suggest comics are only a tool for transitioning to "real" monographs. But of course, McLuhan himself used experimental forms in his scholarship: The Medium is the Massage has more in common with graphic novels than it does with his text-heavier volumes.

Taking the graphic novel as a scholarly text and transforming it into digital can make things even more interesting. The digital editions of graphic novels, including the CD version (with animations, billed as "interactive literature") of Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe, the many layers of Art Spiegelman's Meta Maus, and the work of Scott McCloud in his Understanding Comics trilogy add another dimension to the form. Comic books evolving online are already texts of study for the digitally-minded humanities, but can they also offer inspiration for rethinking our own forms of communication? We seek a series of articles in the form of sequential art (digital, interactive or traditional) from a variety of critical and disciplinary perspectives that may address one or more of the following questions:

  • How can a problem in your field of humanities scholarship be addressed, re-contextualized or explored using the affordances of the comics form?
  • How can we use the comics form (as redefined and extended through interactive media) to reflect on our processes of scholarship?
  • How do you peer review visual media like comic panels?
  • What can the comic medium contribute to scholarly debates?
  • How does digital technology make comics scholarship easier to make?
  • How can scholars who arenít adept at illustration engage in comics scholarship?
  • How can we make comic writing more ubiquitous?
  • What forms of digital comics can be important for scholarship?

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