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.

Friday, August 28, 2020

CFP Libraries/Archives/Librarians in comics

Friend of the blog, librarian Rob Weiner, is working on a new book.

Call for Essays: 

Libraries, Archives, and Librarians in Graphic Novels, Comic Strips and Sequential Art edited by Carrye Syma, Donell Callender, and Robert G. Weiner. 


The editors of a new collection of articles/essays are seeking essays about the portrayal of libraries, archives and librarians in graphic novels, comic strips, and sequential art/comics. The librarian and the library have a long and varied history in sequential art. Steven M. Bergson's popular website LIBRARIANS IN COMICS (; is a useful reference source and a place to start as is the essay Let's Talk Comics: Librarians by Megan Halsband ( There are also other websites which discuss librarians in comics and provide a place for scholars to start. 

            Going as far back as the Atlantean age the librarian is seen as a seeker of knowledge for its own sake. For example, in Kull # 6 (1972) the librarian is trying to convince King Kull that of importance of gaining more knowledge for the journey they about to undertake. Kull is unconvinced, however. In the graphic novel Avengers No Road Home (2019), Hercules utters "Save the Librarian" which indicates just how important librarians are as gatekeepers of knowledge even for Greek Gods. These are just a few examples scholars can find in sequential art that illustrate librarians as characters who take their roles as preservers of knowledge seriously. We will accept essays related to sequential art television shows and movies e.g., Batgirl in the third season of Batman (1966); Stan Lee being a librarian in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) movie. 

Some possible topics include: 

Libraries and librarians in the comic strip Unshelved. 

Oracle/Batgirl as an information engineer in the DC Universe.  

Libraries and Librarians in the Marvel Universe 

Archives in the Star Wars Comics 

Archives/Librarians in the X-Men series  

The Librarian in Neil Gaiman's Sandman series  

The librarian in the Buffy Comics 

Libraries and Librarians in early and contemporary comic strips 

Libraries and Librarians during the Golden Age (1940s/1950s) comics.  

How is information seeking portrayed in graphic novels? 

Librarians/Libraries in independent comics and graphic novels.  

The use of graphic novels such as Matt Upson, C. Michael Hall, and Kevin Cannon's Information Now. 

Webcomics and Libraries and Librarians 

In what other ways is the traditional role of librarian portrayed in other types of characters in comics? (oracle, seer, three witches, etc.)

            These are just a few suggested topics. Any topic related to librarians/archives/librarians in comics and sequential art will be considered. 

We are seeking essays of 2,500-5,000 words (no longer) not including notes in APA style for this exciting new volume. 

Please send a 300-500-word abstract by November 15th to  


Carrye Syma  

Assistant Academic Dean and Associate Librarian 

Texas Tech University Libraries 



Saturday, August 22, 2020

Long-form Webcomics in Southeast Asia panel by IJOCA contributor CT Lim

Long-form Webcomics in Southeast Asia
Moderated by CT Lim, Southeast Asian comics scholar and editor Panelists: Reimena Yee (Malaysia), Erica Eng (Malaysia), Ann Maulina (Indonesia), Eurika Gho (Singapore

Usually when people think of online comics in Southeast Asia they think of short, humourous strips posted on social media. This panel instead focuses on long-form webcomics - comics with a sustained narrative and a cast of characters. How does the internet offer the freedom for creators to tell their own stories and work on their own IP? What are the different platforms available to host these webcomics? And what are these creators' unique circumstances in crafting a long-form webcomic, and finding their audience?

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

IJOCA CFP for winter issue, from John Lent

Call for Conference Papers

As some of you know, many papers that were published in INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF COMIC ART during the past nearly 22 years have come out of conferences. Often, I solicited the papers directly from the presenters after they presented. Now that conferences have gone viral, that is not possible. Please, if you wrote a paper for a recent conference, consider sending it to me for consideration in IJOCA. I am now planning the next issue, Volume 22, Number 2, Fall/Winter 2020. The deadline is December 1, 2020. Let me know now if you plan to send a paper for that deadline.

Remember to follow IJOCA style, which is listed on and the IJOCA blog at

If you are submitting a book or exhibition review, contact assistant editor Mike Rhode ( My preferred email is

I hope to hear from you soon.  Stay safe and well, John

John A Lent
669 Ferne Blvd.
Drexel Hill, PA, 19026 USA

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Wisconsin Funnies Shows Comic’s Deep Roots in the American Midwest: A Review (updated)

by Chris Yogerst

Wisconsin Funnies: Fifty Years of Comics. James P. Danky, J. Tyler Friedman, and Denis Kitchen with contributions by Paul Buhle. West Bend, WI: Museum of Wisconsin Art and Milwaukee, WI: MOWA-DTN, August 8-November 22, 2020. $15 (MOWA) / Free (MOWA-DTN).

In 1973, Denis Kitchen purchased a farm in Princeton, Wisconsin, to house the headquarters of his growing publishing company Kitchen Sink Press. The eventual 2015 Eisner Award recipient would use this rural location to shepherd independent artists by providing a platform of free expression without the strings attached to a major publisher. The farm would be immortalized in a drawing by R. Crumb in 1985. A life-long defender of boundary-pushing comics, Kitchen helped found the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund in 1986 and took the debate to the national stage on Larry King Live in 1989.  


This staunch defender of the artform now has his collection of Wisconsin comics on display, along with work loaned from ten other artists, in Wisconsin Funnies: 50 Years of Comics which is split between the Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) and Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel in Milwaukee. I was only able to visit MOWA for an exhibit preview of the half of the exhibit described on their website as “a comprehensive overview of comics in Wisconsin” (The other half is “comics with a political bent.”) The parent museum is gorgeously placed along the banks of the Milwaukee River. Masks were required and everyone remained respectfully socially-distant. The price of admission is $15, which will also get you access to the museum for an entire year.

Nearly 200 works by 31 artists are featured, all of which are included in a 250-page catalog with high resolution images of each piece in the exhibition ($45 + shipping, ISBN 978 -0-9994388-5-5). The exhibit opens with a mural on the second floor that was not yet completed when I was there. [Curator Tyler Friedman explains, "We commissioned three 30x30" panels for the exhibition lead-in wall to give the appearance of a giant comic strip. Peter Poplaski, Jeff Butler, and John Porcellino contributed a panel a piece."] Through the glass doors you will find expertly framed artifacts, a mixture of comic books and original art, complete with historical descriptors that add context to every piece. (I was told a couple cases of other ephemera will be going up but they were not installed when I was there.) One not need be an expert in independent comics to find value here. The exhibit offers a wonderful learning experience and each section provides a nicely bracketed story. Wisconsin Funnies was co-curated by Kitchen, director of the print culture center at UW-Madison James P. Danky, associate curator of contemporary art at MOWA Tyler Friedman, with contributions by historian Paul Buhle.

The exhibit is intended to mesh with the political passions accompanying the Democratic National Convention slotted to begin on August 17th in Milwaukee. With that sprit in mind, Wisconsin Funnies does not disappoint. Coming into the exhibit one can find a series of hand sketched originals as well as printed pages from comic books and strips. The exhibition offers an opportunity to learn about not only the history of Wisconsin comics, but also an opportunity to see the evolution of an art form. The artists featured in this collection serve as a primer for the political and social struggles of the postwar era through the Reagan years.

Kitchen Sink Press not only championed independent artists, but also collaborated with industry giants. Stan Lee and Marvel collaborated with Kitchen on Comix Books, which featured work by Trina Robbins and Art Spiegelman. Selections of original art from Robbins’ One Flower Child’s Search for Love is featured in Wisconsin Funnies and serves as an illuminating exploration of love and relationships during the 1970s, pushing back on preceding generations of conservative social strictures. Kitchen also published reprints of classics such as Harvey Kurtzman’s The Grasshopper and the Ant as well as Will Eisner’s The Spirit and A Contract with God. Selections of original art from these important works are included. 

One series of panels that particularly stood out to me are from Dan Burr’s Harvey and Eisner awards winner Kings in Disguise. The story is about a kid during the Great Depression searching for his father. The feelings of despair and longing jump off the panels. The imagery is stunning and reminiscent of the Hollywood films made in the early 1930s that were depicting the economic destruction as it was happening. One film in particularly that shares the aesthetic of Burr’s art is William Wellman’s Wild Boys of the Road (1933), which follows young teens who leave their burden-ridden families. Burr’s story, published in 1988, is just as moving as the images created and distributed during the Great Depression. Original pages by Burr from Kitchen’s underground newspaper Bugle (1975-1976) are on display as well.

 Peter Poplaski’s original cover art for Corporate Crime Comics #2 is of special interest for its nod to classic Dick Tracy comics. A quick glance will remind one of the “round up the usual suspects” line from Casablanca. What makes this cover special upon deeper reflection is how Poplaski depicted not standard supervillains or street thugs. Instead, the lineup is full of white-collar criminals guilty of tax evasion, pollution, and unsafe work environments. In 2014, Poplaski sketched Kitchen with Stan Lee as they appeared in 1974, which is also featured in Wisconsin Funnies.

Additional artists featured in Wisconsin Funnies are Al Capp, Ernie Bushmiller, Lynda Barry, Jim Mitchell, and many others. There is plenty to learn in this wonderful exhibit. I come to comics from the film studies world and could not pass up an opportunity to learn more about influential comic writers and artists who shook up the industry from right here in Wisconsin. Anyone in the Milwaukee area interested in the history of comics, politics, and popular culture should visit MOWA and absorb the power of this historic collection.

Educational activities included, or will include, the following:
Teen Masters: Become a Zinester | Tuesday, August 4.
Virtual Artist Lecture with Paul Buhle | Thursday, September 17 | More Info to Come.
Virtual Panel Discussion with The Nib | October 2020 | More Info to Come.

A version of this review will appear in print in IJOCA 22:2 (Fall/Winter 2020). Updated on August 18, 2020 with one sentence explaining the 'mural.'