Comics in Academia: “What We Do When We Do Comics Studies”
Dr. Candida Rifkind, Department of English, University of Winnipeg For copy of this presentation go to: www.candidarifkind.com/community
What is comics studies? ! Scholarly study of comics & graphic novels ! 1996 = publication of Art Spiegelman’s Maus changes perceptions of storytelling in graphic form ! Around 2000 = beginnings of comics studies in universities and colleges ! usually as part of existing Humanities fields and courses, eg. English, History, Women’s and Gender Studies, Media Studies, Rhetoric and Composition, Education, etc.
! Around 2010 = dedicated courses and degree programs
What is comics studies? ! Diverse field (“indiscipline” rather than a discipline) ! Multiple disciplinary approaches from literary studies to film studies to communication to neuroscience ! Multiple methodologies, for instance: ! formalist (technique) ! cultural studies (text within cultural contexts) ! audience studies (reception) ! adaptation studies (both ways: comics adapting existing works and adaptations of comics into film or theatre)
! Scholars sometimes also creators, fans have knowledge to share with academics
Landmark works in comics studies
4 Theoretical debates in comics studies 1. Definitions: what is a comic?
2. Are comics a unique form?
! Will Eisner: comics = “sequential art” (vs. one panel cartoon) but too general for Scott McCloud
! “comics exceptionalism” debate
3. Terminology ! comics vs. graphic novels vs. graphic narratives vs. ….
Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics p. 9
Theoretical debates in comics studies 4. Creating a canon of “great works”: what is a “good” comic or graphic novel? Most studied graphic narratives in academia
Beaty & Woo argue for expanding study to bestsellers, popular, serials that fans love but academics overlook
Comics studies research: online resources
! Bonner Bibliography: online comprehensive international bibliography for comics studies
Comics studies research: online resources ! University of Florida Comics Studies
Comics studies research: online resources ! Neil Cohn’s Visual Language Lab
Comics studies research: scholarly journals Open Access ! The Comics Grid ! ImageTexT
Database Subscription Required
Comics studies research: scholarly books beyond the landmarks ! University of Mississippi Press ! Ohio State University Press ! Rutgers University Press
Comics studies research: organizations ! Comics Studies Society
Comics studies research: organizations Canadian Society for the Study of Comics/La Sociéte canadienne pour l’étude de la bande dessinée.
Comics studies at Uwinnipeg REQUIRED TEXTS
THE UNIVERSITY OF WINNIPEG Topics in Comics: Medievalism Course # ENGL-3980.002 Term: Winter 2017 Professor: Lauren Chochinov This course will aim to examine how comics negotiate the numerous literary, political, cultural, and societal issues inspired by the medieval period. Together we shall explore the long-standing relationship between medievalism and the comics medium. From the Anglo Saxon age to the England of King James I, we will question the influence of medieval literary tropes in modern comics, the relevance of the Middle Ages in twentieth/twenty-first century comics, and what happens when King Arthur, the Once and Future King, finally wakes up. In the year 3000.
Barr, Mike W. Camelot 3000. DC Comics, 2013. Bennett, Marguerite. 1602: Witch Hunter Angela. Marvel Comics, 2016. Foster, Hal. Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-1938. Fantagraphics, 2009. Fraction, Matt. Hawkeye Vol. 1: My Life As A Weapon. Marvel Comics, 2014. McCreery, Conor. Kill Shakespeare Vol. 1. IDW Publishing, 2010. Simone, Gail. Red Sonja Vol. 1: Queen of Plagues. Dynamite, 2014. Spurrior, Simon. The Spire. Boom Studios, 2016. Stevenson, Noelle. Nimona. Harper Teen, 2015. Van Hamme, Jean. Child of the Stars (Thorgal). Cinebook, 2007. Yagi, Norihiro. Claymore Vol. 1. VIZ Media LLC, 2006. Yukimura, Makoto. Vinland Saga Vol. 1. Kodansha, 2015.
Comics Studies at UWinnipeg THE UNIVERSITY OF WINNIPEG ENGL-‐3980.001 Topics in Comics and Graphic NarraEves: CANADIAN COMICS Term: Fall 2016 Professor: Dr. Candida Ri9ind
Module 1: History & Myth Brown, Chester. Louis Riel: A Comic-‐Strip biography. Chantler, ScoH. Two Generals. Yahgulanaas, Michael. Red: A Haida Manga.
Module 2: Coming-‐of-‐Age Castrée, Geneviève. SuscepAble. This course introduces students to an array of Canadian comics Cho, Michael. ShopliBer. and graphic narraAves that tell a diversity of stories, across the Lemire, Jeﬀ. The Complete Essex County. spectrum from ﬁcAon to non-‐ﬁcAon. We will pay special aHenAon to how contemporary Canadian and Indigenous comics represent Module 3: Border Crossings and unseHle Canadian naAonal mythologies, from the idea of North to hockey. As well, the readings invite discussion of such Van Kamp, Richard and ScoH Henderson. A Blanket of topics as historical ﬁcAon, peace and conﬂict, memory and BuHerﬂies. Delporte, Julie. Everywhere nostalgia, bodies and sexualiAes, race and ethnicity, place and AntennasVaughan, Brian K. and Steve Skroce. We Stand idenAty, self and other. In addiAon to the comic books, students On Guard (Deluxe Ed.). should be prepared to read criAcal and theoreAcal material.
New First Year course at UWinnipeg Winter 2018 Introduction to Reading Culture: Graphic Novels Course # ENGL-1004.3-004
This course introduces students to the diverse and vibrant storytelling worlds of graphic novels. We will read a range of literary genres, including coming-‐of-‐ age ﬁcAon, auto/biography, gothic horror, and speculaAve ﬁcAon, all in the form of comic books. Lectures and discussions will teach students the speciﬁc terminology and foundaAonal theories of comics studies, an interdisciplinary ﬁeld that draws on literary studies, cultural studies, media and communicaAon studies, art history, and ﬁlm studies. We will also pay aHenAon to the similariAes and diﬀerences between comics, literature, and ﬁlm, especially when we study ﬁlm adaptaAons of the graphic novels. Assignments will include a sequence analysis (close reading), comparaAve essay (between two texts), research essay (on one text), reading quizzes, parAcipaAon, and a ﬁnal exam.