OPEN CALL: IJOCA – International Journal of Comic Art

The International Journal of Comic Art is published two times yearly.
International and multidisciplinary in scope, IJOCA aims to publish scholarly and readable research on any aspect of comic art, defined as animation, comic books, newspaper and magazine strips, caricature, gag and political cartoons, humorous art, and humor or cartoon magazines.

A typical issue includes about 500-700 pages, averaging 30 articles and more than 200 illustrations. More than 50 countries of every continent have been subjects of articles. Additionally, International Journal of Comic Art features editorials, book and exhibition reviews, bibliographic essays, resource columns, a portfolio of cartoons worldwide, and interviews.

Manuscripts should be sent electronically to John A. Lent, email: and The manuscript should include, title (not very long), author, text, endnotes, references, short bio data of author, in that order.

Deadlines: For Fall/Winter number: May 30.
For Spring/Summer number: Dec. 31.

Online-Lecture by Walter Scott, 10 Nov 2020

Kunsthochschule Mainz is hosting an online lecture by Walter Scott, Toronto,

on Tuesday, 10. November 2020, at 18.30

In this presentation, Walter Scott will give an overview of the past ten years of his art practice, focusing on the relationship between the fiction and reality of the author and the work. He will speak about his fictional comic book character, Wendy, as well as his more gallery-focused installations, drawings, and sculptures. He will discuss how sculptural, material processes can stand as metaphors for experiences, and how that is then re-integrated into narrative fiction.

Walter Scott b. 1985, is an interdisciplinary artist working across comics, drawing, video, performance and sculpture. His comic series, Wendy, chronicles the continuing misadventures of a young artist in a satirical version of the contemporary art world.  Wendyhas been featured in Canadian Art, Art in America, and published online on the New Yorker. Recent exhibitions include The Scrawled Heel of the Real, Ashley (Berlin), and The Pathos Of Mandy, at the ISCP, New York. Walter Scott was recently an artist-in-residence, at the ISCP, in Brooklyn, New York. His new graphic novel, Wendy, Master of Art, is now available from Drawn & Quarterly.

How to register for the lecture:

Please register at the following mail-address: .
You will receive a link to the zoom-session then. The session will be opened 10 minutes before the lecture starts, so that you can connect and settle in in good time before the lecture starts.

Virtual Roundtable Series of the International Comic Arts Forum’s 2020 Virtual Conference

This week marks the kick-off for the Virtual Roundtable Series of the International Comic Arts Forum’s 2020 Virtual Conference <>.
Please join us on Thursday, November 5th at 7pm ET(4pm PT) for a roundtable discussion on
*“From Gender and Violence to Cyborgs and Selfhood:Feminist Discourses in Female-led Superhero Comics” * <>
featuring<>Susan Kirtley, Carolyn Cocca, and Sam Langsdale
Please follow the above link to find the pre-recorded talks from our roundtable participants as well as links to presentation transcripts.
This virtual roundtable event will be moderated by ICAF’s Emily Decker-Bessand streamed live via Zoom Webinar.
Please register here to participate:
For more information on #ICAFVIRTUAL <>programming, please check out the ICAF 2020 Virtual Conference Program <>.

The ICAF 2020 Virtual Conference and Virtual Roundtable Series <>:

Due to COVID-19, the International Comics Arts Forum (ICAF 2020) to be held concurrently with the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD, was canceled. However, we have reimagined a way for accepted ICAF panelists to make their contribution to ICAF and are organizing a series of online events to achieve the ICAF mission of celebrating comics through scholarship.

Over the next several months, ICAF will host a sequence of virtual panels featuring accepted ICAF presentations. All panelists who were accepted for ICAF 2020 have been welcomed to participate in our online programming with the intention of curating monthly virtual events around specific themes.
Each presenter on our virtual roundtable series has made a pre-recording of their presentation (roughly 10 or 15 minutes) to be posted online prior to the roundtable session, which will then be streaming live on the first Thursday of every month. We encouraged presenters to produce PowerPoint presentations with images and voiceovers (and an accompanying transcript), both for reasons of accessibility and for consistency. Then each presenter will participate in a live roundtable-style discussion of their research along with two or three other presenters for approximately one hour. In this live session, each presenter will give a 5 minute summary of their presentation, before the panelists, along with an ICAF moderator, explore those themes together. These live sessions will be recorded and subsequently posted by ICAF.
While there is no true substitution for the face-to-face version of ICAF, we hope that our 2020 virtual programming will generate the kind of participation and discussion ICAF is known for, while supporting the work of current members of the ICAF community and connecting comics scholars around the world.

For questions or comments, please reach out to Biz Nijdam at <> or Frank Bramlett at <>.

Call for Papers for a Special Issue of the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies

Title of Special Issue: Cripping Graphic Medicine: Approaching Comics from a Disability Studies Perspective

Guest Editors: Gesine Wegner (Leipzig University) and Dorothee Marx (Kiel University)

At first glance, a wider public may find the connection between comics and disability rather counterintuitive, as Rosemarie Garland-Thomson remarks: “Most of us assume that comics and disability exist in two completely different worlds. […] Comics are light; disability is heavy. Comics are inviting; disability is forbidding. Comics are cheerful; disability is dismal” (Garland-Thomson 2016: x). Yet, as a growing amount of scholarship in recent years has shown (Squier and Krüger-Fürhoff 2020; Foss et al. 2016), explorations of the connection between comics and disability can spark productive analyses that enrich both comic and disability studies. In a broader sense, graphic disability narratives hold the potential to simultaneously challenge popular misconceptions of comics and of experiences of disability. As a scoping review by Matthew N. Noe and Leonard L. Levin reveals, questions of healthcare have, indeed, pertained to the study of comics for many decades, with first explorations on the topic dating back to 1958 (Noe and Levin 2020: 11). While these early studies looked at disability and illness from a purely medical gaze, the 21st-century emergence of the interdisciplinary field of “graphic medicine” (Williams) has shifted scholars, artists and medical practitioners’ attention towards comics’ potential to narrate experiences of disability and illness from “the inside out” – following in the footsteps of disabled activists and writers of the 1990s (Fries 1997).

While disability studies has been an essential part of the various disciplines that come together in graphic medicine, the field’s complex yet fruitful relation to the medical humanities, in general, has yet to be addressed more openly in the study of comics and disability. This special issue wants to foreground the effects that a disability studies-centered approach to comics can have on the larger field of graphic medicine and comic studies in general. Inspired by Zach Whalen, Chris Foss, and Jonathan W. Gray’s groundbreaking collective volume Disability in Comic Books and Graphic Narratives (2016), the issue aims to take into account and analyze a broad range of comics out of which a distinct disability studies perspective on comics ought to (further) emerge. Disability studies’ roots in the disability rights movement and its predominant resistance to medical understandings of disability make the interdisciplinary field a critical and

valuable interlocutor within graphic medicine. Appreciating disability not (primarily) as a physical state but as a form of cultural difference, disability studies is uniquely situated to both challenge and enrich some of the work done in graphic medicine and the medical humanities more generally. Simultaneously, the interdisciplinary network of scholars, artists, and medical practitioners that constitutes graphic medicine promises to offer new insights and creative forms of collaboration for research pursued within disability studies. For this issue, we welcome proposals for papers that explore these various potentials and address any of the following (or related) questions:

  • How do approaches from disability studies complicate and enrich work done at the intersection of comics and healthcare? What insights can, in turn, be gained in disability studies from research pursued at this intersection?
  • What can more recent theorizations within disability studies add to our understanding of the comics medium in general and its negotiation of disability and illness in particular?
  • How do comics about disability and illness relate to practices of normalization? For instance, how is the omnipresence of the body in comics used to enforce, challenge, and comment on notions of “the normal” (McRuer 2014)?
  • How do the different, often hierarchical positions in healthcare settings complicate renderings of illness and/or disability in comics? Which distinct, contrasting perspectives emerge in narratives told by healthcare providers, caregivers, or relatives, compared to the graphic stories told by patients themselves? And where do these perspectives overlap and enrich each other?
  • How do questions of disability in sequential art intersect with other identity categories, such as gender, race, class or sexuality (see for example the recent publication Graphic Reproduction (Johnson 2018))?
  • Which affective strategies do comics about disability or illness employ? How do comics evoke different affects and/or emotions, perhaps even such that were previously debated in disability studies (cf. Donaldson and Prendergast 2011; Kafer 2016), e.g. the “feelings and reactions— […] the mental and emotional distress—that do not yet fit within disability studies?” (Kafer 2016: 5).
  • Which comic-specific strategies do graphic narratives employ to visualize ‘invisible’ disabilities, such as mental disabilities or the effects of trauma? To what extent can comics provide a context that fosters explorations of the interconnectedness of disability and trauma?
  • How can comics’ potential to engage conversations about disability and chronic illness be applied in (higher) education beyond graphic medicine’s application in the education of future medical staff? Can comics help engage new audiences with disability studies?
  • What effect do different genre conventions have on narrating disability and/or illness in comics? How can, for instance, previous work on disabled superheroes (Alaniz 2015; Smith and Alaniz 2019) be further expanded?
  • How can comics be made accessible to different audiences (e.g. through tactile comics or image descriptions? (cf. Foss et al. 2016: 8-9).
  • How can comics foreground marginalized voices in healthcare, such as those of indigenous, BiPOC, trans*, intersex, and/or otherwise impacted patients and healthcare professionals?
  • In what ways do comics as well as comics studies address questions of the body and take into account the different embodiments of their characters and readers? How do new approaches to the body in disability studies (Mitchell et al. 2019) relate to the study of graphic narratives of disability and/or illness?
  • How do comics respond to other aspects of lived disabled experience and the distinct knowledge it creates, as theorized in crip theory (e.g. crip time, critical rethinkings of concepts like pleasure and pain)?

We explicitly welcome contributions that are based in experiential knowledge and/or use an autoethnographic approach to disability.

Please email a 500-word proposal to and marx@anglistik.uni- by February 1, 2021.

Contributors can expect to be selected and notified by March 1, 2021. Full drafts of the selected articles will be due on August 15, 2021. Please do not hesitate to contact the guest editors if you have any questions regarding this special issue.


Alaniz, José. Death, Disability, and the Superhero: The Silver Age and Beyond. University Press of Mississippi, 2014.

Alaniz, José and Scott T. Smith, editors. Uncanny Bodies. Superhero Comics and Disability. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2019.

Donaldson, Elizabeth J., and Catherine Prendergast. “Introduction: Disability and Emotion: ‘There’s No Crying in Disability Studies.’” Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies vol. 5 no. 2, 2011, pp. 129–36.

Foss, Chris, Jonathan W. Gray, and Zach Whalen, editors. Disability in Comic Books and Graphic Narratives. Palgrave, 2016.

Fries, Kenny, editor. Staring Back: The Disability Experience from the Inside Out. Plume, 1997. Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. “Foreword.” In: Disability in Comic Books and Graphic Narratives, edited by Chris Foss, Jonathan W. Gray, and Zach Whalen. Palgrave, 2016, pp. x-xiii.

Jenell Johnson, editor. 2018. Graphic reproduction. A comics anthology. Vol. 11 of Graphic medicine. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Kafer, Alison. “Un/Safe Disclosures: Scenes of Disability and Trauma.” Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies vol. 10, no. 1, 2016, pp. 1–20.

McRuer, Robert. “Normal” Keywords for American Cultural Studies, edited by Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler. NY UP, 2014, pp. 184-187.

Mitchell, David T., Susan Antebi, and Sharon L. Snyder, editors. The Matter of Disability. Materiality, Biopolitics, Crip Affect. U Michigan P, 2019.

Noe, Matthew N. and Leonard L. Levin. “Mapping the use of comics in health education: A scoping review of the graphic medicine literature.” Graphic Medicine.

Squier, Susan and Irmela Marei Krüger-Fürhoff, editors. PathoGraphics: Narrative, Aesthetics, Contention, Community. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2020.

Williams, Ian. “Graphic Medicine: Comics as Medical Narrative.” Medical Humanities, vol. 38, no. 1, 2012, pp. 21-27.

CfP: Beyond the Two Solitudes in the Canadian World of Comics

CRCL/RCLC (Canadian Review of Comparative Literature)
Peer-reviewed international journal

In 1945, Hugh MacLennan, novelist and professor at McGill University, published his second novel Two Solitudes in Toronto. The book rose in popularity very quickly, and took root in the Canadian imagination to express the (lack of) dialogue between the two foundational Canadian communities (the only ones recognized at that time). Cultural productions in French were rarely consumed by Anglophones or influenced by them, and reciprocally. Also, often criticized, this idiom does not take into account the Indigenous cultures, rich and diverse, that have contributed to Canadian culture.

Canadian comics, whether they are Anglophone, Francophone or Indigenous, are no exception and evolved on parallel tracks without weaving common links. Anglo-Canadian comics were mostly influenced by American comics, and Francophone BD were under the influence of the Franco-Belgian tradition. Essays dealing with Canadian comics rarely integrate the three comics traditions. If many academic and non-academic publications deal with this concept of two solitudes in various fields like literature and movies, surprisingly, nothing has been written on the topic of isolation in the Canadian comics world.

We are looking for papers that analyse examples of dialogue (or the absence thereof) between these various “solitudes” (Indigenous, Francophone, and Anglophone), whether it is on the content, or the form between two or three works. But we are also looking for proposals studying the other aspects of the comics world, such as the initiatives and roles of libraries, bookstores, fans, publishers, festival organizers, prize committees, …

The following list of topics is not exhaustive:

  • Study of one specific comic or BD which itself addresses bi-or multi-cultural issue.s through content and/or forms
  • Comparison of one comic and one BD and their mutual influences
  • Some exceptional movements and/or genres where exchanges are more obvious like the superhero genre (e.g., Capitaine Kébec) or the alternative comics/BD (e.g., Doucet)
  • Study of publishers’ strategies to welcome the “other” comics tradition -study of festivals and their policies of welcoming (or not) the other linguistic or cultural traditions through awards, spaces, invitations of authors, …
  • Quantitative and historical study of comics awards or literary, artistic awards to comics in Canada
  • Study of awards to Canadian comics outside Canada and the way they are presented as Canadian
  • Study of the place Canadian artists had and have in other traditions/cultures (e,g., Tamaki in Japan [see J. Berndt])
  • Analysis of one comic or BD by Indigenous artists and their way of emphasizing (or denouncing) the (non) dialogue
  • Study of courses on comics in Canada and their inclusion (or exclusion) of the other tradition.s (see J-P. Thomas)
  • Study of courses on comics outside Canada and their inclusion of Canadian comics of various traditions
  • Study of courses on Canadian culture and its inclusion of Canadian comics

Please send an abstract of 300-400 words in French or English outlining your central argument, main academic references and a 100-word bio-bibliography

To :

By December 22, 2020; answer by January 22, 2021 Full paper between 6000 and 8000 words will be due by May 21, 2021 Tentative publication in 2022 in CRCL/RCLC (Canadian Review of Comparative Literature), a peer-reviewed international journal.
Sylvain RheaultDepartment of FrenchUniversity of ReginaRegina (SK) S4S

Comics and Society: Research, Art, and Cultural Politics

Comics and Society: Research, Art, and Cultural Politics (2019-2021) is an interdisciplinary three-year initiative that aims to cultivate our understanding of comics as a social and socially defined phenomenon and to strengthen the status of comic art and comics scholarship in the Nordic-Baltic region. Through academic discussion, artistic work, and social engagement we explore how comics take part in making sense of societies, social phenomena, and societal changes especially, but not exclusively, in the Nordic and Baltic countries.

The CFP for our final winter session has been published! We will collaborate with Circle 4: Narrative and Violence in March 2021. See the CFP here (or download as a pdf).

Colloquium on Morals, Faith, and Religion in Superhero-Discourses

The re-scheduled colloquium “Morals, Faith and Religion in the Superhero Discourse” 
will take place on March 13 and 14, 2021, at “The Wolfsburg” in Muelheim /Ruhr (Germany) and online.

We invite all scholars – especially students, PhD students and post-docs – to send in proposals for individual papers or more experimental approaches such as workshops, reading groups, discussions etc. Contributions will be presented at a colloquium at the Wolfsburg (Mülheim an der Ruhr) on March 13th and 14th, 2021.

Submit suggestions for contributions before December 7, 2020 at latest. Young projects in initial phases, initial project ideas, junior scientists and students are as well very welcome to be part of this event.

Indicative themes for discussion may include but are not limited to:

• Religious symbolism and its significance
• Faith as a defining quality of a character
(Daredevil, Nightcrawler, Father Jordan)
• Transfer of religious characters
(Thor, Loki, Ares)
• Religious texts and rituals as sources
• Divinity, pseudo-divinity and narratives of faith and salvation
(Superman and other figures of salvation)
• Religious locations and institutions and their representation in comics (St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Asgard)
• Representations of angels, demons, witches and devils
(The Joker as a representation of the devil, Hellboy, Scarlet Witch)
• (Coping with and negotiating) experiences of (Jewish) diaspora
(Shuster / Siegel)
• Intersectionality / diversity
(Daredevil’s othering as a Catholic in protestant America)

We also made all arrangements to make sure that the event can take place either in person, online or hybrid. Please include (in the mail or the proposal) if, following Covdi-19 restrictions, you will present in person or online only.

We are looking forward to your proposals!
Organizing Chairs
Dr. Torsten Caeners (
Gaspers M.A. (
Dr. Matthias Keidel (
We aim to publish the papers in an edited volume.

Call for Papers: Gothic and Comics — Gothic Studies Special Issue 25(3)

Guest Editors: Julia Round and Susanne Schwertfeger

Comic books are as transgressive in nature as the Gothic. The comics medium traverses the boundaries of sign systems because of its composition of images and words. Comics are uncanny and liminal: their visual narrative’s iconic-sequential logic makes the obvious seem strange, and time and space merge into one as (temporal) sequences spread out in front of the reader on the (spatial) site. Pages are haunted as images and icons are echoed and repeated; identity is destabilized as voices and perspectives become fragmented and multiple, and the narratives themselves are partial and obscure. In addition, the comics medium has been consistently discredited as harmful or trivial with no intellectual credibility. From their shared roots in penny dreadfuls and pulp publishing, to their modern incarnations as wildly popular cult franchises, the comics medium and the Gothic mode therefore seem to be a perfect match.

Both horror and Gothic always have been thematic staples for the comics market and, in turn, comics have added significant themes and subjects to the Gothic – whether from the early portfolio of the publisher EC or in the form of a cape-wearing dark crusader. This proposed special issue on Gothic and Comics (25/3, to be published November 2023) will explore how comics tell and enhance Gothic stories.
We invite papers that investigate the intersections of comics and Gothic in historical, thematic, cultural, structural, formalist or other terms. Suggested themes might include (but are not limited to) the following:

• What strategies do comics use to achieve terror or horror, or to convey key Gothic themes such the abject, the uncanny, and the grotesque?
• What roles do Gothic motifs such as masks, doubles and Others play in comics and their history?
• What can comics add to the meaning and experience of ‘classic’ Gothic tales when adapted into a new medium?
• How might comics narratologies be considered Gothic?
• What structural, linguistic or visual qualities of comics speak to the Gothic, and how?
• Analyses of relevant historical subgenres of comics or the appearance of Gothic archetypes
• Explorations of Gothic themes such as trauma, social commentary, paranoia, monstrosity

Please send detailed proposals of 500 words and a 100 word biography to
by 1 March 2021.

Informal enquiries may also be sent to the editors at these addresses.
Contributors will be notified of the outcome by 1 June 2021. The deadline for submission of completed draft articles (c.6000 words) will be 1 March 2022.