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Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics article by Anna Peppard

Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics article by Anna Peppard

Whether you love or hate superhero comics from the early 90s, you might be interested in this article “The Power of the Marvel(ous) Image: Reading Excess in the Styles of Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, and Rob Liefeld,” which was recently published online with the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics. It will be included with the next regular issue.

The CSSC/SCEBD membership has voted to join the CFHSS

The CSSC/SCEBD membership has voted to join the CFHSS

Dear colleagues,

I am writing to inform you of the results of the recent, online vote we held on the proposal to join the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Thanks to everyone who joined in the discussion at the AGM and online for ensuring there was a robust debate on the pros and cons of this important change.

I am very pleased to announce that 55% of our active members voted, meeting the quorum requirements for online voting set out in our constitution. Out of 41 eligible ballots, 24 were cast in favour of the proposal and 17 against. The proposal to join the CFHSS and begin holding our annual conferences as part of the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences passes. The executive will contact the Federation and begin making the necessary arrangements with an eye to being part of Congress 2019 at the University of British Columbia. A CFP with all the details will be released in due course.

I know I speak for everyone involved in the CSSC/SCEBD when I say that we value our relationship with the TCAF and our Toronto roots in the New Narrative conferences. The vote was very close, and many members were ambivalent about this decision, but I hope you will give us a chance in this new chapter for our Society. For those of you who can’t make it to Vancouver next June and are looking for another Toronto-area comics studies conference, I’d like to point out that the Comics Studies Society will be holding their second conference at Ryerson University in August 2019, so keep an eye out for that CFP, too.

Always forward. Forward, always.

Benjamin Woo

Proposal to join the CFHSS

Proposal to join the CFHSS


(version française ici)

  The CSSC/SCEBD is both a scholarly association and a professional one. We are very proud of the scholarly contributions that our members make to the interdisciplinary field of comics studies and to the quality of our annual conference; however, we feel that further steps are necessary to enhance the standing of comics scholarship within our home disciplines and to grow the Society into a national scholarly association.

From time to time, we have debated the desirability of joining the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, an umbrella organization of over 160 learned societies and institutions of higher education in order to “promote dialogue on ideas and issues that are critical to the public and research communities.” In addition to their advocacy and public outreach activities and administering the Aids for Scholarly Publishing Program, the Federation – in association with a host university – convenes the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences annually.

Your executive is seeking a mandate from the membership to join the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, ideally in time to hold our next annual meeting as part of Congress 2019 in Vancouver.

There are several implications of this decision to consider. Most importantly, this will make the CSSC/SCEBD conference more expensive to attend:

  • We will pay annual dues to the Federation, which are calculated on a per-member basis but capped $500 and 7,500. (At present, we make an annual contribution of $500 to TCAF and receive two rooms here at the Marriott in exchange.)

  • While we will remain free to set our own membership dues and conference rates, all delegates to a conference held at Congress must also register for Congress and pay their registration fee (see Table). These fees support overhead, logistical support, costs for running the expo / book fair, and plenary events. They include space at the host university for all conferences, while our own fees would need to cover keynote speakers we invite, A/V, and any catering or translation services we choose to provide.

In exchange, we would be able to apply for and access funds earmarked for inviting international keynote speakers (which we are seeking to bring in, roughly, every other year) and for holding interdisciplinary roundtables in partnership with other scholarly associations at Congress. In addition, the individual host universities typically offer some travel funding to student delegates and support for accessibility accommodations, though the precise amounts and services available will vary from event to event. Less tangibly, members would have opportunities for professional advancement that we can’t offer right now, meeting with university press editors at the Expo to discuss potential projects or bringing program officers from SSHRC or MITACS in to listen to our concerns.

Importantly, the conference would now move, enabling scholars based in different regions of the country who might not otherwise be able to attend our annual meetings in Toronto, and travel stipends can be stretched by combining several conferences into one trip.

Let us be clear: we have benefited immensely from our partnership with TCAF, and we know that the Festival has been and remains a draw for many conference attendees. But, at a time when the field of comics studies is showing immense growth in published research contributions, successful external grants, and numbers of scholars pursuing comics research, we feel that our society may not be able to keep up while remaining locked into these dates and this location – moreover, that it is important that comics studies and not only individual comics scholars be represented at the country’s largest gathering of humanities and social science researchers.

Table. Cotisations pour le Congrès 2018 (U. De Regina) / Registration Fees for Congress 2018 (U Regina)

Prècoces / Early Bird Rates

Règuliers / Regular Rates




Étudiants, retraités et sans salaire / Students, retired and unwaged



Link to the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Link to VOTING PAGE (May 30- June 06)



As per our constitution, the CSSC holds elections every two years for all positions except President (as the secretary-treasurer position automatically rolls into the position of president). We welcome all members current on their dues to vote in this election. If you are not current, please take a moment to visit our membership page and renew. The voting page will be open until May 07.

CSSC Conference and Elections

CSSC Conference and Elections

The CSSC website has been updated and now includes payment options for CSSC membership and earlybird conference registration. The earlybird registration fee will run until the end of April. Barbara Postema is beginning to create the conference programme to share with you soon, so if you haven’t done so yet, please remember to confirm whether you will be joining us and if you’re willing to moderate. 

In the meantime we are also preparing for online elections for the CSSC executive committee. The first step for this is the call for nominations. Please find all information regarding this process below.

As our conference approaches and 2018 marks an election year for the CSSC, the Executive Committee is officially opening up the call for nominations for several available positions. If you are unfamiliar with the executive roles, there are five positions, four of which are electable: Vice President Communications (English), Vice President Communications (French), and Vice President Website, and Secretary/Treasurer, which turns over automatically into the position of President after two years.

As usual, all four positions are up for election:

Vice President Communications (English) and Vice President Communications (French): The Vice-Presidents of Communications shall be elected for a term of two years. The Vice-Presidents of Communications shall undertake initiatives to publicize the society and to recruit new members, and shall send such materials as a poster, brochure, and call for papers to people who may be interested in the affairs of the society. The Vice-Presidents of Communication will manage the society’s social media presence and coordinate with the VP Website to manage the website.

Secretary/Treasurer: The Secretary-Treasurer shall be elected for a four-year term, which shall begin with a two-year term as Secretary-Treasurer. Upon completion of the term, the Secretary-Treasurer will normally assume the functions of the President. As Secretary-Treasurer, he/she shall manage the finances of the society, keep the books and membership lists, and record the minutes of meetings for the Executive Committee and the members. He/she shall present a financial statement at the Annual General Meeting.

Vice President Website: The VP Website shall be elected for a term of two years. The VP Website shall coordinate with the Vice-Presidents of Communications in particular and the executive in general to maintain the society’s website. The VP Website shall know how to create and manage a website.

Last year at the AGM, we altered the nomination and election processes in our constitution so that elections can be held online. This allows for all members in good standing to vote, regardless of presence at the AGM. We are now calling for nominations by email.

Nomination and Voting Process:

The nomination process will run until April 2, 2018. Please send an email to to nominate yourself or another individual. Specify the role for which you would like to stand, briefly outline your background and platforms, and provide a preferred email address where members may contact you with questions during the election period. Think of this like a short stump speech: tell us who you are, why you feel you are qualified for the position in question, and what you will do for the society. In the event that you are nominating someone else, please provide us with contact information for that individual so that we can contact them to ask if they are willing to stand.

Once all nominees are selected and campaign materials are collected and disseminated, we will open up voting for a period of three weeks, from April 9-May 1, 2018, inclusive.

If you would like more information about any of the roles up for election, you can contact the current executive committee members. If you have questions about any other aspects of the election process, please get in touch with us at

CFP: The Comics of R. Crumb: Underground in the Art Museum

CFP: The Comics of R. Crumb: Underground in the Art Museum

The Comics of R. Crumb: Underground in the Art Museum is a proposed volume in the Critical Approaches to Comics Artists book series at the University Press of Mississippi. This volume will contain an array of critical essays on the comics of R. Crumb, one of the most influential and celebrated, yet controversial, comics artists, and one who has been the subject of relatively little academic study to date. Essays from many disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives are welcome, including critical approaches from comics studies, art history, critical race and ethnic studies, cultural studies, design studies, disability studies, film studies, gender and sexuality studies, literary studies, history, museum studies, music studies, and others.

Essays that address the following topics are especially welcome:

  • Crumb’s Significance and Canonization in Comics Studies
  • Crumb and Autobiographical/Confessional Comics
  • The Politics of Crumb’s Comics, Underground Comics, and the Counterculture
  • Racial and Racist Caricature in Crumb’s Comics
  • Gender, Sexuality, and Perversion in Crumb’s Comics
  • Periodical Studies and Print Culture approaches to Crumb’s work
  • Crumb’s Collaborative Work with Aline Kominsky Crumb, Harvey Pekar, and others
  • Crumb’s Editorial Work in Underground Comics
  • Museum and Gallery Exhibitions of Crumb’s Art and Illustrations
  • Crumb’s Commercial Illustrations and/as Comics Culture
  • Music Performance, Record Collecting, and Music History
  • Posters, Record Covers, Stickers, Tattoos, and Other Illustrated Objects
  • Film Adaptations of Crumb’s Comics
  • Representations of Crumb in Documentary Films
  • Crumb’s Influence on Contemporary Art, Comics, Design, and Literature

Please send a 250-500 word abstract, CV, and contact information to Daniel Worden at by January 15, 2018.

Accepted abstracts will be used in a formal book prospectus, and the deadline for full-length essays will be negotiated shortly thereafter.

Call for Papers: Canadian Society for the Study of Comics Annual Conference 2018

Call for Papers: Canadian Society for the Study of Comics Annual Conference 2018

The Canadian Society for the Study of Comics invites proposals for 15 to 20-minute papers to be presented at our annual conference, on any and all aspects of comics, graphic narrative, picturebooks, and textual-visual arts. This year we would once again be particularly interested in receiving proposals on comics by and/or about indigenous peoples. Proposals from academics and independent scholars in all fields are welcome.

The conference will take place in Toronto on May 10-11, at the Bloor Yorkville Marriott and the Toronto Reference Library. We are very pleased to announce that the academic keynote speaker for 2018 will be Canadian comics scholar Dr. Bart Beaty. The creative keynote, a joint presentation with TCAF’s Librarian and Educator Day will be announced at a later date. Please find information about the CSSC and our previous conferences on our website:

Submit a proposed paper title and 200-word abstract, along with a 50-word biography and contact information, to Barbara at by January 15, 2017.

The conference is held in collaboration with the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, a major international exhibition of independent comics artists and small publishers, which takes place May 12-13 2018 at the Toronto Reference Library and surrounding venues.

Click here to download

CFP for SUPERSEX: Essays on Sexuality, Fantasy, and the Superhero

CFP for SUPERSEX: Essays on Sexuality, Fantasy, and the Superhero

Within the superhero genre, sexuality has often been simultaneously gratuitous and invisible. Though many superheroes wear their underwear on the outside and proudly display their hard and sensuous curves inside revealing, skin-tight costumes, historical censorship and related, prevailing assumptions about the superhero genre being primarily intended for children have meant that when superheroes get banged up and laid out, it tends to be in a fight rather than in the bedroom.

Some things have, of course, changed over time. Within the past decade, in particular, superhero comics and the superhero movies, television shows, cartoons, and video games they have inspired have become increasingly diverse and adult-oriented: in comics, we have seen Batman have sex with Catwoman on a rooftop and seen Iceman, a founding member of the X-Men, come out as gay; in movies, we have seen Deadpool bend over to celebrate International Women’s Day; in television, we have seen Jessica Jones and Luke Cage’s superpowered passion break a bed frame; and in the popular subgenre of superhero porn parodies, we have seen a great deal more. Yet even now, a simultaneous presence and absence remains. Circa 2017, most mainstream superhero comics, films, and television shows continue to prioritize sexiness while pushing the actual business of sexuality off-panel/off-screen. In addition, fans remain divided about whether and how sexuality should be presented in the superhero genre. Even as some fans vocally advocate for more sexual diversity, other, equally vocal fans complain that there is already too much diversity; still other fans continue to insist that sexuality has no place in superhero stories. Meanwhile, in academia: while gender is a relatively common topic within existing scholarship on the superhero genre, sexuality has only been sporadically considered, with no existing books or journals dedicated to the topic.

Supersex: Essays on Sexuality, Fantasy, and the Superhero will make visible the modes and meanings of this simultaneous presence and absence by examining the superhero genre’s complicated relationship with sexuality in as many ways and places as possible. Chapters may focus on past or present representations of sexuality in either mainstream productions or in those Underground, “indie,” or fan-based productions which have commented on, critiqued, or revised the mainstream. Ideally, this collection will bring into conversation diverse scholarly approaches exploring an equally diverse collection of texts, from Marvel and DC’s all-ages content to various revisionist narratives and parodies, as well as fanfiction, sanctioned and unsanctioned erotic art and pornography, and cosplay culture. Chapters on international (i.e. non-American) subject matter will be considered, with the caveat that such chapters must take cultural context into account, and relate themselves in some way to the American culture that originated the superhero genre and continues to dominate its production. Similarly, chapters that consider subject matter whose relationship to the superhero genre is not immediately obvious must make a case as to why such subject matter is worth considering under the superhero banner. Analyses that consider content in relation to form are especially encouraged, as are intersectional approaches, i.e., chapters that consider superhero sexuality in conjunction with gender, disability, race, etc. All chapters must address the relationship between some aspect of sexuality and the conventions of the superhero genre, including, but not limited to, costumes, superpowers, secret identities, bodily transformations, the physical enactment of Manichean conflicts, etc.

Those interested in participating in this collection are asked to send a max. 500-word abstract and a max. 1-page prospective bibliography as well as a 50-word bio to Anna Peppard at no later than December 20th, 2017. All proposals will be adjudicated by December 31st, 2017 with first drafts of accepted chapters due March 31th, 2018.

CSSC Conference May 11-12 in Toronto

CSSC Conference May 11-12 in Toronto

The annual conference and the Toronto Comic Arts Festival are fast approaching, and here’s what’s up! At the bottom of this post you’ll find an up-to-date full programme for the conference (please note that some panels have changed and all panels will be held at the Marriott Bloor Yorkville); take a look and see what’s in store! Here are a few highlights:

Keynote by Rebecca Wanzo: Wanzo, associate professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies at Washington University in St. Louis, and founding board member of the Comics Studies Society, will be presenting an address titled “Never Post, Always Present: African American Underground Comix and Post-Race and Post-Feminist Imaginaries” on Thursday afternoon. Dr. Wanzo’s talk is not to be missed!

CSSC Social: On Thursday evening at 6pm, the CSSC will have its social night at The Firkin on Bloor (just across from the hotel). Come mingle, trade floppies, and have a few beverages!

CSSC AGM: Late Friday morning, we will meet for the society Annual General Meeting. In advance of the AGM, we’d really appreciate it if all members could take just a few minutes to fill out this survey on the direction of the society. Taking the time to answer just a few questions will help immeasurably in shaping the AGM agenda!

Until May 11if you have any questions you can always get in touch with BarbaraBenChris, or Kalervo directly. If we don’t know the answer, we certainly know who does! Don’t forget to keep checking back here, on Twitter, or on our Facebook page for more updates! See you soon!


Your CSSC Exec