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Month: September 2018

‘Alternative francophone’ is preparing a special issue on digital comics

‘Alternative francophone’ is preparing a special issue on digital comics

Submissions should take into account creators working in French. A comparative approach with creators working in other languages is welcome.

Who’s Afraid of Digital in Comics?

The form to which one thinks when referring to comics can be seen to have taken into account a specific materiality, that of paper (be it newsprint, booklet or book) and editorial structures (depending on the case, penny papers, syndicates, youth oriented publications, etc.). Many formal caracteristics of comics are in fact answers to this materiality and these structures. With the growth in possibilities in terms of data storage and transmission, comics creators have seen in the digital an opportunity to free themselves from old formal and financial constraints and to explore a new frontier. However, against this phantasmatic opening, reality opposed a new set of constraints, many of which resounding as calls to creativity.

Mostly, digital comics present the scan of a page or a strip. As is the case for pages of a digital book, theses skeuomorphic interfaces content themselves to a page per page presentation, in some cases imitating the flipping of a page, oft with a sound effect. Yet, one finds a slew of new formal possibilities when the drawn work takes a digital form. Anthony Rageul (2014) on the one hand, Chris Reyns-Chikuma and Jean Sébastien (2019) on the other, inventory some ten forms.The former’s classification is in line with an aesthetic of reception: a new temporality as to reading with the assimilation of homochronous time (that of cinema) or through the construction of a narrative by the successive appearance of images; a new relationship to space through the computer window metaphor; the possibility of interaction and manipulation. The latter’s classification, centering on the diversity of auctorial projects, develops two englobing categories as to the manner in which a creator chooses to organize the narrative: in some cases, the work carries within it a strong arthrologic figure, that is the instance which presides over the narrative’s articulation as Groensteen (1999) defines this concept; in other cases, the work acts  as a figure of arbitration, opening a series of choices to the user, either in the closed structure of an arborescent narrative or in much looser structures.

Digital comics constitute a new type of creative work. Yet, they appear in cultures in which there is a profound mutation in the reader’s horizon of expectation as to comic–a knowledge of its tradition notwithstanging. A recent profile of activities practiced daily by French youth aged between 15 and 25 gives an idea of the cultural references systems of young readers (Vincent-Gérard et Vayssettes 2018). Music and social networks are the spirit of the time. Online videos are now head-to-head with TV-viewing. Reading a book, as a daily activity, has dwindled to 18% of the surveyed. Moreover, the readership’s reference systems also depends on the publishing ecosystem. In the case of the Franco-Belgian culture, Gilles Ratier has published yearly surveys of publications in bande dessinée, including the introduction of digital publications.

Rageul (2014) has shown that one form of digital comics, Turbomedia–Marvel’s Infinite Comics– has had a tendency to take the forefront among other forms of experimentation with the medium to the point where “the observer can find recurrence of this form in an ever larger corpus […]. This phenomenon perfectly illustrates the transitory phase that, according to Lev Manovich […], is characteristic of current digital technologies. This transitory phase consists in a search for a language that would be the medium’s own.” (p. 79-80)

However, those creative practices, which end up deconstructing the ‘principle of the page’ dear to Groensteen open up real avenues. There are works that, from the moment of their conception, seem to explore paths in the spirit of the work done by the Oubapo movement on multiple readings. There are others that conjugate the homochronous time of cinema with the heterochronous time of reading. Yet, others expect that an active part will be taken by the ‘wreader’ (or ‘lect-acteur’ in French), expressions we owe to Landow (1992) and Weissberg (1999). Will creative works, with the possibilities opened up by the computer, still be comics or are we witnessing the birth of a new media? Gardner (2012) sees in the convergence of comics and film a reopening of a door closed in the early 20th century.

We encourage case studies that look into the possibilities offered to reading by digital comics:

Do the works studied play with the codes that are characteristic of the constraint of the page?

Do they choose to maximize the possibilities of the medium?

Do they play with the constraints of the interface (the screen, the touch-screen, the keyboard, the mouse) ?

Were they developed with the thought of the best possible reading comfort for a digital interface?

Or, in terms of reception, evaluate the spectre of possible agency: from the reader benefitting from the medium’s heterochronous time to the wreader moving forward in the space that he is given.

Deadline for a 300-400 words proposal: November 9, 2018

Send your proposal by email to Côme Martin ( and Jean Sébastien (

Deadline for completed article: April 30, 2019

Publication: December 2019

The articles must be original material (see Alternative francophone’s author guidelines)

The completed articles will go through a blind peer reviewer process. The final decision with comments will be sent by email in a 2 to 3 months delay.


 Selective Bibliography

Baudry, Julien (2012). Histoire de la bande dessinée numérique française. In Neuvième art 2.0. Repéré à :

Boudissa, Magali. (2010). La bande dessinée entre la page et l’écran: étude des enjeux théoriques liés au renouvellement du langage bédéique sous influence numérique. Thèse de doctorat, Université de Paris 8.

Boudissa, Magali. (2016). Typologie des bandes dessinées numériques. In P. Robert (Ed.).Bande dessinée et numérique. Paris : CNRS Éditions, p. 79-99.

Crucifix, Benoît et Dozo, Björn-Olav. (2018). E-Graphic Novels. In Baetens, Jan, Frey, Hugo et Tabachnick, Stephen E. The Cambridge History of the Graphic Novel. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press. p. 574-590.

Eco, Umberto. (1979). Lector in Fabula ou La Coopération interprétative dans les textes narratifs. Paris : Grasset.

Falgas, Julien. (2016). Pour une sociologie des usages et de l’innovation appliquée aux récits innovants. In P. Robert (Ed.).Bande dessinée et numérique.Paris: CNRS éditions, p. 135-154.

Gardner, Jared. (2012). Projections : Comics and the History of Twenty-First Century Storytelling. Stanford : Stanford University Press.

Gaudreault, André et Marion, Philippe. (2013). La fin du cinéma ? Un média en crise à l’ère du numérique. Paris : Armand Colin.

Groensteen, Thierry. (1999). Système de la bande dessinée. Paris : P.U.F.

Groensteen, Thierry. (2011). Bande dessinée et narration. Système de la bande dessinéeTome 2. Paris : P.U.F.

Jauss, Hans-Robert. (1972). Pour une esthétique de la réception. Paris : Gallimard.

Kirchoff, Jeffrey et Cook, Mike (Ed). (2019). Perspectives on Digital Comics. Jefferson : McFarland. (À paraître)

Landow, George P. (1992). Hypertext: The Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology. Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press.

Manovich, Lev. (2010). Le langage des nouveaux médias. Dijon : Les Presses du réel.

Marion, Philippe. (1997). Narratologie médiatique et médiagénie des récits. Recherches en communication, 7, p. 61-88.

Martin, Côme. (2017). With, Against or Beyond Print? Digital Comics in Search of a Specific Status. The Comics Grid. 7, 1. DOI: 10.16995/cg.106

McCloud, S. (2000). Reinventing comics. New York: Perennial.

Paolucci, Philippe. (2015). La ludicisation du numérique : vers une subversion des architextes informatiques ? Étude de cas d’un blog-BD. Interfaces numériques, 1, p. 99-111.

Rageul, Anthony. (2014). La bande dessinée saisie par le numérique: Formes et enjeux du récit reconfiguré par l’interactivité. Thèse de doctorat, Université de Rennes 2.

Ratier, Gilles. (2000-2016). Les bilans de l’ACBD. Repérés à :

Reyns-Chikuma, Chris et Sébastien, Jean. (2019). French Digital Comics. In Kirchoff et Cook (ci-haut).

Vincent Gérard, Armelle et Vayssettes, Benoit. (2018). Les jeunes adultes et la lecture. Étude IPSOS pour le compte du Centre national de la lecture.

Repéré à :

Weissberg, Jean-Louis. (1999). Présences à distance. Paris : L’Harmattan.

CFP: LGBTQ Comics Studies Reader (University of Mississippi Press)

CFP: LGBTQ Comics Studies Reader (University of Mississippi Press)

Critical scholarship of comics, cartoons, and graphic narratives has been a burgeoning field in research and debate for at least the last twenty-five years. Amid such scholarly richness, LGBTQ comics criticism and scholarly attention to LGBTQ comics and cartoons is at least keeping pace with a field within which it is still negotiating its position. Until recently, LGBTQ comics lurked at the edges of the mainstream or hid in plain sight, existing in a “parallel universe,” published almost exclusively in gay newspapers and magazines, and available mostly in LGBTQ bookstores, even as all kinds of male and female homosociality, body and physique art, identity narrative, and varieties of the “outsider” appeared in a mainstream that was itself overcoming kinds of denigration (as unserious and trivial, or lurid and dangerous, etc.) familiar to LGBTQ experience. A new generation of LGBTQ readers is creating and analyzing comics, amalgamating, building on, and surpassing those suggestive tendencies. Recent scholarly comics criticism anthologies include separate chapters on LGBTQ comics. The moment is right for LGBTQ comics criticism to have a scholarly anthology of its own. The LGBTQ Comics Studies Reader will honour LGBTQ work that emerged from and was influenced by the underground and alternative comix movement of the mid-1960s to become what is still an underrepresented sub-genre in comics scholarship: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) comics, their critical implications, their provocative current iterations, and their future directions. The aim of this LGBTQ Comics Studies Reader is to provide a platform for sustained, theoretically rigorous thinking about the various social, economic, historical, cultural, ethical and pedagogical issues at work in LGTBQ comics and cartoons, from around the world.

Chapter-length submissions may consider issues such as the following, but are not limited by these suggestions:

• The history of LGBTQ comics and graphic novels, and LGBTQ comics scholarship/criticism;

• Representations of LGBTQ experience in comics and graphic novels (coming out, romance/dating/heartbreak, health/illness, relationship building, gay/lesbian culture/society/community, celebration/pride, creativity, political action/activism, etc.);

• Comics and graphic novels created by LGBTQ artists and writers for LGBTQ audiences; LGBTQ characters in non-LGBTQ comics and graphic novels;

• Emerging and/or established trends and genres (superheroes, fantasy, memoir/autobiography, manga, Young Adult (YA), erotica, slash fiction, kink, etc.);

• Theoretical approaches to LGBTQ comics (psychoanalysis, queer studies, cultural studies, women’s studies, sexuality studies, visual studies, media discourse studies, materialist studies, transnational and world literatures analysis, reader response approaches, etc.);

• LGBTQ comics and cartoons within, across, in relation, and/or in resistance to various national/regional contexts/traditions (French BD; Mexico; Latin America; Japan, etc.), including cross-cultural reception and circulation of LGBTQ comics;

• LGBTQ Children’s literature/culture and Childhood Studies;

• LGBTQ “adult” literature/erotica/kink/sex comics;

• Adaptations of LGBTQ comics and graphic novels (inter/transmediality, web comics), narratology and textual analysis across media; cross-cultural LGBTQ adaptations;

• LGBTQ comics fandom (including conventions, cosplay, etc.);

• Teaching with LGBTQ comics, cartoons and/or graphic novels (including, for example, health promotion, cultural literacy, sexual development, etc.); and

• Representations of LGBTQ characters and/or experiences in other comics.

Abstracts should run about 250 words and are due by 1 November 2018. All submissions will be acknowledged. Final papers should be approximately 15-18 pages double-spaced, 12-point font, addressing both a scholarly and a more advanced general reader.

Contributors’ first drafts will be due by 1 March 2019, and final drafts by 1 September 2019 for a summer 2020 publication date.

Contributors are responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce images in their article, and must pay permission costs. Permissions must be cleared before publication. Please send low resolution images (small jpegs), in separate attachments. If the article is accepted, high quality images will be required.

Queries may be directed to Professors Alison Halsall ( and Jonathan Warren (

Feminist Media Histories podcast on comics

Feminist Media Histories podcast on comics

If you like listening to women talking about comics by/about/for women, check out the latest Feminist Media Histories podcast about their special comics issue– It’s on Soundcloud and free to everyone! Featuring interviews with guest editor Kathleen McClancy and contributors Crystal Am Nelson, Cathy Thomas, Katherine Kelp-Stebbins, and CSSC member Anna Peppard!