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 0A2306-585-4317sylvain.rheault@uregina.ca

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 (torsten.caeners@uni-due.de)
Gaspers M.A. (nicolas.gaspers@uni-duesseldorf.de)
Dr. Matthias Keidel (Matthias.Keidel@bistum-essen.de)
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 jround@bournemouth.ac.uk
and
schwertfeger@kunstgeschichte.uni-kiel.de
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.

Pascal Lefèvre appointed honorary doctor at Malmö university

We are happy to announce that comics historian and theorist, Professor Pascal Lefèvre is appointed honorary doctor at the Faculty of Culture and Society. As the 2020 Annual Academic Ceremony has been postponed due to the pandemic, he is the only one appointed by the University this year.

“Professor Pascal Lefèvre is a pioneer in comics research. His work on the history and theory of this art form has been fundamental to the development of the research field in Europe, not least at our Faculty,” says Rebecka Lettevall, Dean of the Faculty of Culture and Society.

Continue reading here: Pioneer in comics research is appointed honorary doctor at Malmö University

Malmö Comics Research Lab at Skillinge Comics Festival 2020

Official poster by Moa Romanova (image) och Kalle Mattsson (typography) 2020.

A panel of 3 lectures + discussion on comics research (live – via Zoom)

On Friday September 11th, Malmö Comics Research Lab will present research in progress. Jakob Dittmar will discuss documentary narration in Charlie Christensens comics, Saskia Gullstrand will give her view on comics and artistic research and Gunnar Krantz will talk about the praxis of  inking. The panel will be followed by a discussion with comics artists participating in the exhibitions at the festival.
The panel will take place between 10 to 12 AM, followed by a discussion at 13.30 to 15 PM.

For more info about the festival, please visit the official website:
https://seriefestival.wordpress.com/

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/skillingeseriefestival

Recorded seminars (more will follow):

Gunnar Krantz – introduction:
https://play.mau.se/media/t/0_607uuwm2

Saskia Gullstrand on comics and artistic research:
https://play.mau.se/media/t/0_5w66y9c6

Gunnar Krantz on the praxis of inking:
https://play.mau.se/media/t/0_jpt8gh6j

Comics Research at Malmö university

Comics Research at MaU is combining artistic research and approaches that utilise analytic methods from diverse subjects (currently mostly Literature, Visual Communication, Cultural Studies, Science of Arts, Media and Communication Studies). 

The focus of our comics research is on narratives and how they are executed, how visual and textual elements are interlinked to be read. While theories and analyses of specific examples allow us to understand much about comics, some issues and theories need to be tested in application, productions. While artistic research allows us to advance our understanding of comics production and the expression of distinct voices, reflections on experimental productions allow us to question specific aspects of comics theory and develop theories further.