ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies

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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.

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