International Journal of Comic Art blog

News about the premier academic journal devoted to all aspects of cartooning and comics -- the International Journal of Comic Art (ISSN 1531-6793) published and edited by John Lent.

Monday, September 12, 2016


The current issue is shipping now and subscribers should receive it soon.

Vol. 18, No. 1 Spring/Summer 2016

Calvinball: Sport, Imagination and Meaning in Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes
Jeffrey 0. Segrave and John A. Cosgrove
Mali & Werner's Mike: Underground Sensibility in a German Advertising Comic
Paul M. Malone
The Meanings of Comics
Chris Gavaler
Founding a Dynasty and an Art-Form: John Doyle (1797-1868)
Richard Scully
Tactility Meets Visuality: Race, Sexuality, and Texture in Howard Cruse's Stuck Rubber Baby
Ashley Manchester
Forbidden Readings: The British Parliamentary Debate on "American-Style" Comic Books
Ignacio Fernandez Sarasola
Corruption Among the Cats: Hypocrisy Exposed by Liao Bingxiong
Linn A. Christiansen
Eye/I: Rodolphe Topffer's Style and the Concept of Graphiation
Charlotte Pylyser
Art and Science in Pere Joan's Nocilla Experience (2011)
Benjamin Fraser
Comics as Borderlands: The Asymmetrical Relations of Power in La Perdida, by Jessica Abel
Thayse Madella
An Independent Production: Comics in Paraiba (1963-1991) Regina Maria Rodrigues Behar
Waldomiro Vergueiro
Traces of Mauritian Origins and National Identity in Two Mauritian Comics
Aurelie Meilin Pottier
Syntax of Sound Symbolic Words: A Study of the Hindi Comic Books in India
Subir Dey and Prasad Bokil
Migration of Comics Onomatopoeia to Other Supports
Thiago de Almeida Castor do Amaral
Burma's Loudspeaker
An exclusive report by The Surreal McCoy
Grim Reapers and Shinigami: Personifications of Death in Comics and Manga
Marc Wolterbeek
Economy of the Comic Book Author's Soul
Nathaniel Goldberg and Chris Gavaler
Si Jin Kwi's Comic by Otto Suastika (Siauw Tik Kwie)
Toni Masdiono and lwan Zahar
Revenge, Roads, and Ronin: Finding the Weird West in Contemporary Japanese Anime
Joseph Christopher Schaub
Kenya's Kham and His Multi-Faceted Career
Msanii Kimani wa Wanjiru
Caricaturing lmran Khan during His Anti-Electoral-Rigging Campaign in Pakistan - Naveed Iqbal Chaudhry
Amna Ashraf
Hong Kong Comics after the Mid-1990s
Matthew M. Chew, Boris L. Pun, and Kofi P. Chan
It Started With A Kiss: Reframing Superheroines' Visual Narratives
Chadwick L. Roberts and Anita K. McDaniel
The "Not So Dark" World of the Dark Knight
Rima Bhattacharya
History and Philosophy of Manga Translation in North America
Katherine Lundy
Cultural Revolutions and Stylistic Evolutions or, Reboots and Remakes: A Conversation with Derf
Janis Breckenridge
Character Consumption and Character Industries in Japan
Zhiyu Zhang, Feng Su, Chang Fengxia
    The Next Generation of Comics Scholarship
Huang Yao's Roar of the Nation I (1938): Multi-media Approach to Wartime Cartooning
Harrison Douglass
Two Frameworks for the Interpretation of Metaphoric and Literal Size Depictions in Comic Books
Christopher Crawford and Igor Juricevic
    An Essay
Exploring Wakanda: Black Superheroes, Comic Books, and Persistent Tropes
Douglas Clarke
    A Preliminary Study
Feminine Representation in Misty: Brazilian and American Editions
Daniela Marino
It's a MAD World After All: Confessions of a MAD Collector
Jason Levine
The Printed Word
John A. Lent
Book Reviews
David Kunzle
John A. Lent
Kirsten Mollegaard
Lim Cheng Tju
Exhibition and Media Reviews
Edited by Mike Rhode
Ayanna Dozier
Janis Breckenridge

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

"Scratchy sketchbook drawings, doodlings, exquisite caricatures and humorous paintings": Reviewing Richard Thompson's last books

by John A. Lent, publisher and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Comic Art. This
review will appear in print in the Spring/Summer 2016 IJOCA issue later this summer.

Apatoff, David, Nick Galifianakis, Mike Rhode, Chris Sparks, and Bill Watterson. The Art of Richard Thompson.  Kansas City: Andrews McMeel, 2014. 224 pp. $35. ISBN 978-1-4494-4795-3.

*Thompson, Richard and Mike Rhode (editor). The Incompleat Art of Why Things Are (preview edition).  Arlington, VA: Comics DC, 2015. 179pp.
*Thompson, Richard, with Mike Rhode and Chris Sparks.  Compleating Cul de Sac, Asheville, NC: Team Cul de Sac & Arlington, VA: Comic DC, 2015. 146 pp.

            Richard Thompson, who has had exalted praise heaped upon him from the likes of Arnold Roth, Pat Oliphant, and Edward Sorel, figured as the subject or author of three books since 2014*, on all of which, IJOCA exhibitions and media reviews editor Mike Rhode was a main sparkplug.  For at least two decades, Mike has enriched comic art and its scholarship through his many bibliographies, resource aid to researchers (check out acknowledgements in books by comics researchers and you are likely to see Mike’s name), and interviews with cartoonists published in his online Comics DC, IJOCA, Washington City Paper, and elsewhere.
            Mike is a close friend of Thompson, recognized by Richard sometimes in jest, such as when he signed a copy of his book for Mike: “to my friend, chauffeur, source, & #1 stalker.”  I assume the “stalker” label has to do with Mike’s hounding him to gather together in books the abundance of strips, gag cartoons, humorous drawings, and paintings Richard has penned over the years.
            With The Art of Richard Thompson, Mike was part of a team of editors that also included David Apatoff, Nick Galifianakis, Chris Sparks, and Bill Watterson.  In the credits, Mike is listed as “Editor, Project Coordinator, and Copy Editor.”  Mike’s key role was noted with a touch of humor in Galifianakis’s “Introduction”: “…Mike was called in to focus our collective ADHD.  He took to the job, maybe too well, eventually nicknaming himself ‘The Enforcer.’  He’s been superb.  We will never speak to him after this, but he has been superb.”   Mike was sole editor and his Comics DC co-publisher of The Incompleat Art of Why Things Are and co-editor with Chris Sparks of Compleating Cul de Sac.  Comics DC also co-published Compleating Cul de Sac. 
            Now, to Richard Thompson and the books under review.
Thompson's original art for IJOCA
            Richard Thompson is best known for his “Cul de Sac” comic strip that was nationally syndicated for five years in 150 newspapers.  Starring four-year old Alice Otterloop and her eight-year-old brother Petey, the strip dealt with their relationship and the foibles of living the suburban life.  Thompson retired the strip in September 2012, three years after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
            Richard Thompson’s genius has been spread over different forms and genres (magazine, book, and newspaper illustration, comic strips, caricature, humorous paintings) and shared by an assortment of audiences during his long stints with periodicals such as The New Yorker, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, and National Geographic.  He is much respected by other artists for his widespread knowledge, whimsical drawings, articulate use of words, and experimentation with styles and formats.   
            The Art of Richard Thompson captures the life and career of the artist through interviews or discussions with Galifianakis, Peter de Sève, Gene Weingarten, and John Kascht, and essays by Thompson himself and Apatoff.  The book is attractively designed with hundreds of Thompson’s art works, including scratchy sketchbook drawings, doodlings, exquisite and wall-displayable caricatures and humorous paintings, parodies of other masters’ work (e.g. “Little Neuro in Slumberland”), regularly published strips (“Cul de Sac,” “Richard’s Poor Almanac(k)”), and one-shot (sometimes rhyming), multi-panel, nonsense-filled “instructive” comics.  Some cartoons could easily serve as editorial cartoons.  Acclaimed illustrator John Cuneo summed up Thompson’s art very well:

Everything in a Richard Thompson drawing is funny--each line is put down with a caricaturist’s eye and cartoonist’s vigor.  It’s a rare and daunting thing to pull off; a sofa in a room is somehow drawn ‘funny’ the same way the person sitting on it is.  And also the dog, the side table, the lamp, the vase of flowers, the teacup and the lettering--everything gets filtered through a visual sensibility that’s grounded in exquisite draftsmanship and giddy comic exaggeration.  It becomes a wholly realized world--and it’s delightful. 
            The prose of The Art of Richard Thompson suits the drawings: casual, to the point, and sometimes meant to be funny.  Half (9) of the sub-chapters were written by Thompson; three others were interviews with him.  Thompson’s articles recounted all types of subjects--his new favorite nib, music, caricaturing Berlioz, thinking up a funny name for his “Cul de Sac” family, and the circumstances surrounding his doing a drawing during a Deep Brain Stimulation surgical procedure performed on him. 
            The Incompleat Art of Why Things Are and Compleating Cul de Sac are part of Mike Rhode’s continuing efforts to fill out the Richard Thompson story.  “Why Things Are” was a weekly column by Joel Achenbach in The Washington Post, which Thompson illustrated with a cartoon.  In the foreword to the book, Achenbach said he would pose a question for the column and Thompson would come up with an hilarious drawing.  An example: The question--Why is time travel impossible?  The illustration-- a man in a time machine hovering over Adam and Eve and the snake and disappointedly bellowing, “Oops! Too Late.”  Or, “Why do we presume that human meat tastes worse than, say, cow meat or pig meat?”  Thompson’s image--a meat counter called “Downer Pass Gourmet” with a butcher standing next to meats called “Franks,” “Chuck,” and “Steak Diane.” 
            Compleating Cul de Sac supplements Thompson’s The Complete Cul de Sac, which Rhode and Sparks explain is not complete, because Thompson was ill while compiling the book and “accidentally left out some strips,” actually more than 100.  Compleating Cul de Sac collects the “lost” strips, as well as “the early inchoate musings about what the strip should be, the promotional material, the sketches for fans, and finally some fugitive Team Cul de Sac charity art,” the latter to benefit the fight against Parkinson’s Disease.  As with the other two books above, Compleating Cul de Sac is a rich compendium of brilliant art going back to his high school newspaper strip, “Fleabag Theater,”  Thompson interviews with Rhode and John Read, three live Post website chats Thompson participated in, and, of course, the missing “Cul de Sac” strips. 
            Together or apart, these books provide hours of enjoyment at the same time that they describe in an interesting fashion how a top-level artist got to where he is, how he generates ideas, characters, and strips, and how he copes with adversities.  Rhode and the others responsible for compiling this material have done a great service not just to Thompson’s name, but also to comic art practitioners, those waiting in the shadows to become cartoonists, and to the growing field of comics scholarship.  

            *Both Compleating Cul de Sac and The Incompleat Art of “Why Things Are” are no longer available from  Instead, Lost Art Books under Joseph Procopio has undertaken The Richard Thompson Library project and will be publishing editions of them this fall.  Compleating Cul de Sac will be published in a second, substantially expanded edition with additional interviews and recently-unearthed artwork. After these two volumes, other books are projected in the series -- one on caricature by Thompson, pulled together by Scott Stewart, another collecting the best of his comic strip “Richard's Poor Almanac” compiled by Rhode, and likely a Thompson sketchbook.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

IJOCA Spring/Summer issue delayed

The Spring/Summer 2016 (Vol. 18, No. 1) issue of IJOCA has been delayed in production.

We expect to ship it at the beginning of September 2016.

We are very sorry and thank you sincerely for your patience.

The deadline for manuscripts to be considered for 18:2 (Fall/Winter 2016) has been extended until August 31, 2016.

We expect the Fall/Winter 2016 issue to ship in December.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Superhero Identities Symposium CFP with Henry Jenkins, Paul Dini, and Hope Larson ­ 8-9 December 2016 Melbourne (ACMI)

Just Announced Keynote Speakers and Industry Guests (more details below):


Professor Henry Jenkins – Provost Professor of Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts and Education at University of Southern California and the author of landmark fan and transmedia research including Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide


Paul Dini – Writer of the Emmy Award-winning Batman: The Animated Series, best-selling video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, and the Eisner Award-winning comic Mad Love


Hope Larson – Eisner Award-winning graphic novelist (A Wrinkle in Time), co-creator of Boom! Comics' Goldie Vance, and writer of DC Comics new reimagining of Batgirl





Superhero Identities Symposium


Venue: Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) – Melbourne, Australia – 8-9 December 2016


It is hard to imagine a time when superheroes have been more pervasive in popular culture. As one of our most beloved folkloric traditions these costume-clad adventurers have become a means to negotiate and articulate identities in response to fictional heroes. Superhero identities range from those that symbolise a nation, to web communities that use cosplay to challenge gender roles, and the people of a city coming together under the banner of a caped crusader. This symposium will examine the many intersections between superheroes and identity. From big screen heroes to lesser-known comic book vigilantes and real-life costumed heroes, the symposium will include papers that consider superheroes across all eras and media platforms


We are inviting submissions for individual research papers of 20 minutes as well as pre-formed panels. Proposal topics might include, but are not limited to, the following areas: 



One of the central tenets of the superhero story is the transition of unassuming civilians into costume-clad heroes. This narrative is not confined to the comic book page as the people of San Francisco demonstrated when they came together to realise the adventures of Batkid. Proposals are invited that consider how superheroes have become icons of activism and community engagement.


National and Regional Identities

Comic books are often considered an American form, and the medium's most popular character, the superhero, did much to affirm that link with dozens of star-spangled heroes created during the industry's Golden Age. However, the superhero has been reimagined in a range of contexts to respond to local cultures, politics, and traditions. Papers that consider how superheroes engage with national and regional identities are welcome.


Secret Identities

The masquerade and imaginative possibilities of superheroes, coupled with their high concept settings, have allowed these characters to engage with issues and interests that were often difficult to tackle in more "grounded" stories. Papers that consider how superheroes address topics such as gender, sexuality, and ethnicity are invited.


Audiences, Fans, and Superheroes

Whether it is t-shirts adorned with a familiar logo or convention cosplay and fan fiction, superheroes compel participation. We encourage papers that examine the range of this engagement from casual movie audiences to avid consumers.



The supervillain is often understood as the hero's dark double. This symposium welcomes papers that consider the identities of the supervillains, and their relationship to the above topics.


The Superhero Identities symposium is organised by the Superheroes & Me research team – Angela Ndalianis (University of Melbourne), Liam Burke (Swinburne University of Technology), Elizabeth MacFarlane (University of Melbourne), Wendy Haslem (University of Melbourne), and Ian Gordon (National University of Singapore)  – and supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).


Proposals of 250-300 words for individual presentations or full panels, as well as any queries, should be sent to by June 24, 2016, along with a 150-word bio.



Keynote Speakers and Industry Guests


Professor Henry Jenkins

Henry Jenkins joined USC from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was Peter de Florez Professor in the Humanities. He directed MIT's Comparative Media Studies graduate degree program from 1993-2009, setting an innovative research agenda during a time of fundamental change in communication, journalism and entertainment.


As one of the first media scholars to chart the changing role of the audience in an environment of increasingly pervasive digital content, Jenkins has been at the forefront of understanding the effects of participatory media on society, politics and culture. His research gives key insights to the success of social-networking websites, networked computer games, online fan communities and other advocacy organizations, and emerging news media outlets.


Paul Dini

Paul Dini is the Emmy, Eisner, and Annie Award-winning writer of some of the most popular superhero stories ever across animation, film, comics, and games. He is co-creator of the Batman: The Animated Series and related shows and films Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Superman: The Animated Series, and Batman Beyond. While working on Batman, Dini co-created fan favourite character Harley Quinn who makes her film debut in August's Suicide Squad. Moving to games, Dini is the writer of the best-selling Batman: Arkham Asylum game.


His 2016 graphic novel Dark Night: A True Batman Story is a harrowing and eloquent autobiographical tale of Dini's courageous struggle to overcome a desperate situation.


Other credits include ABC's Lost, Star Wars spin-offs Ewoks and Clone Wars, Tiny Toons Adventures, Animaniacs, Freakzoid!, Ultimate Spider-Man, DC Comics Harley Quinn, Superman: Peace on Earth, and Mad Love.


Hope Larson

Hope Larson is the New York Times bestselling author of six graphic novels, notably her graphic novel adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), and co-creator of Boom! Comics' Goldie Vance. Forthcoming projects include two graphic novels, Compass South and Knife's Edge (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) and, starting in July 2016, a reimagining of DC Comics' Batgirl. Her short comics have been published by the New York Times, Vertigo, and in several anthologies, including Flight and DC Comics' Gotham Academy Yearbook.


In addition to her comics work, Larson has explored filmmaking. She is the writer and director of two short projects. Bitter Orange, starring Brie Larson, James Urbaniak and Brendan Hines, is a tale of crime in 1920s Hollywood. Did We Live Too Fast is a Twilight Zone-inspired music video created for Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Dan the Automator's band, Got A Girl; it was used as the centerpiece of their 2015 tour.


Larson has been nominated for cartooning awards in the US, Canada and Europe, and is the recipient of a two Eisner Awards and an Ignatz. She holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF COMIC ART Vol. 17, No. 2 Fall/Winter 2015 table of contents


"NY 101" New York City According to Brian Wood
Martin Lund
Desert (E)Scapes: Cinematic Visions in Road Story
Janis Breckenridge
John Gardner
GANTZ Interpreted from Two Critical Perspectives
Motoko Tanaka
"The Good Duck Artist": How Carl Barks Changed Comics
Tom Speelman
A la recherche du chien perdu: Watch Dogs, Memory, and Mourning in Recuerdos de perrito de mierda (Shitty Little Dog Memories)
Ryan Prout
The Foundations of the Anglo-American Tradition of Political Satire and Comic Art: The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
Richard Scully
An Alternative History of Canadian Cartoonists
Dominick Grace
Alberto Breccia: Memoirs of Resistance and the Ethos of Reading
Aarnoud Rommens
Fatal Attractions: AIDS and American Superhero Comics, 1988-1994
Sean A. Guynes
Conceptualizing the Freedom of the Press in Chinese Political Cartoons
James Yi Guo
Little Princess and the Mayor: Evaluating Cartoons on a Sex Scandal
Mike Lloyd
A Comment on the Impact of Cartoon Art on Social and Political Events with a Special Reference to the Case of Turkey
Levent Gonenc and Levent Cantck
Chasing the American Dream: Gender, Race, and Identity in American Born Chinese and Shortcomings
Kirsten Mollegaard
Revenant Landscapes in The Walking Dead
Julia Round
"We are the walking dead": Zombified Spaces, Mobility, and the Potential for Security in Post-9/11 Zombie Comics
Jessika 0. Griffin
The Glimmering Glow of Comic Art Amidst the Blinding Glitter of the United Arab Emirates
John A. Lent
Pioneers in Comic Art Scholarship
A Comics Studies Pioneer In Portugal: Antonio Dias de Deus
Domingos lsabelinho
'Pioneers in Comic Art Scholarship
"Struggling Independently to Understand the World": My Career in Comics Scholarship and Creation
Leonard Rifas
The Comic Book Film Adaptation --A Panel Discussion with Torn Brevoort, Joe Kelly, Michael E. Uslan, and Mark Waid
Liam Burke
Talibanization in Pakistan -- An Uneasy Subject for Editorial Cartoonists
Naveed Iqbal Chaudhry
Amoa Ashraf
The Next Generation of Comics Scholars
The System ls in The System: Researching the Visualization of Abstract Systems in Peter Kuper's Graphic Novel The System
Luka Hamacher
A Brief Introduction to Some Iranian Women Cartoonists and Their Works
John A. Lent
Surface Race Resolution: Race Commodification in Marvel Premiere's Series Featuring Black Panther
Danielle Cochran
Images of African Americans in the Golden Age of Comics (1939-1965)
William H. Foster Ill
Batul: The Great Disciplinarian
Sourav Chatterjee
The Translation Practices of Manga Scanlators
Matteo Fabbretti
Manga and Silent Film: Building a Bridge Between Modern Gitaigo, Giongo, and the Benshi
Kay K. Clopton
There's Life in Other Systems: The Comic Character Outside Narratives
Joiio Batista Freitas Cardoso
Roberto Elisio dos Santos
Sequential Images, the Page, and Narrative Structures
Jakob F. Dittmar
Visual Character and Context of Put On (1931-1965): The First Indonesian Comics
Toni Masdiono and Iwan Zahar
Sinann Cheah Interview
Philip Smith
An Interview with Canadian Webcornic Creator Becka Kinzie
Jeffery Klaehn
I Don't Know, Give It a Try, See What Happens
Mark Anderson
Digital Comic Adaptation and Adjustment: Conceptual Boundaries in Comic Book Recognition
Damien Tomaselli

John A. Lent
The Printed Word
John A. Lent
Exhibition and Media Reviews
Edited by Mike Rhode
A. David Lewis
David Hyman
Leslie Gailloud
Dromkeen -A New Australian Cartoon Museum
Rolf Heimann

Monday, February 15, 2016

16th World Press Freedom International Editorial Cartoon Competition (Theme and Regulations)

Here are the rules and regulations:

1. The theme for the 16th International Editorial Cartoon Competition is: 

The "right" to be forgotten

In a 2014 decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union, a Spanish lawyer was granted the right to have a previous brush with justice deleted from Google search on his name. 
While protection of one's privacy is an essential right, erasing public records could have untold consequences.
Could this decision jeopardize the reliability of the Internet and make research by journalists and historians impossible?
Could this precedent lead to the breakdown of the Internet and the creation of national networks vulnerable to state censorship?

2. Prizes: three prizes will be given: a first prize of $1000 plus a Certificate from Canadian UNESCO, second and third prizes of $500. All sums are in Canadian dollars. Ten additional cartoons will receive an 'Award of Excellence,' Regrettably no financial remuneration accompanies the Awards of Excellence.

3. Only one cartoon will be accepted from each cartoonist. It may be either in color or black and white and must not have won an award.

4. The size of the cartoon should not exceed A4; 21 by 29.2 cm; or 8.50 by 11 inches.

5. The name, address, telephone number and a short biography of the cartoonist must be included in the submission.

6. The Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom shall have the rights to use any of the cartoons entered in the Competition for promotion of our Editorial Cartoon Competition and World Press Freedom Day. 

7. The winners of the Cartoon Competition will be announced at the World Press Freedom Day Luncheon held at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, Canada on Tuesday May 3, 2016 as well as being advised by e-mail. The winner's names and their cartoons will be posted on the CCWFP web site.

8. The winning cartoons will be exhibited at the luncheon.

The deadline for receipt of cartoons is 5 p.m. GMT, Friday, April 1, 2016.
Send submissions by e-mail to :
Cartoons should be in jpeg format at 300 dpi 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

IJOCA 17-2 is out

I received my copy of IJOCA 17-2 today. It's got 663 pages. Article topics include Carl Barks, African-American images in comics, Antonio Dias de Deus, comics movies, Indonesia, AIDS, China, GANTZ, British prints, Canadian cartoonists, Brian Wood, the UAE, zombies, scanlation and a bunch of other stuff. Mark Anderson of Andertoons also reprises his how to make money with cartoons talk from the 2015 National Cartoonist Society meeting.