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.'

Friday, July 3, 2020

Sign the Petition: Save Italian Comics Center FRIGOLANDIA

This email was sent to COMIXSCHOLARS-L today; I checked with Gianfranco Goria and he confirms that it's legitimate, so John and I decided to repost it here.

I would appreciate it if you could please circulate this message on behalf of Vincenzo Sparagna, journalist, comics artist, promoter and publisher, as well as founder of Frigidaire.

Sign the Petition: Save the Art Republic of Frigolandia from an Unfair Eviction Order

The City Council of Giano dell'Umbria (Italy) issued an eviction notice to the Art Republic of Frigolandia, on March 11, 2020, during the Covid-19 crisis in Italy. Frigolandia is an extraordinary center of comics preservation, and a piece of history of Italian comics. The legality of this order is currently being judged by Umbria's Supreme Court, and the President of the Italian Republic.

The multifaceted Center hosts the artistic, comics, and satirical magazines Frigidaire and Il Nuovo Male; a graphic arts studio, and the Museum of Maivismo (that is, "Neverseen art"). The Center is dedicated to comics and illustration, and holds one of the largest collection of works by some of the most important Italian comics artists, illustrators, and painters, amongst them: Andrea Pazienza, Stefano Tamburini, Filippo Scòzzari, Cristoforo and Vincenzo Sparagna, Tanino Liberatore, Igort (Igor Tuveri), Pablo Echaurren. In these past decades, Frigolandia has been regularly visited by independent scholars and professors, as well as families, youths, and children from all over the world, contributing substantially to cultural tourism to the Italian Region of Umbria.

This eviction order represents an unjust threat, for several reasons: 
  • Frigolandia has never received public funds
  • has paid rent, regularly, since 2005
  • publishes magazines, journals, catalogues and studies
  • organizes successful exhibitions 
  • co-participates in cultural events sponsored by other Italian institutions. 
The eviction order would make Frigolandia disappear, destroying one of the most original, imaginative and creative artistic experience in Europe, which goes back to 1980, the year of Frigidaire foundation. The eviction would not just determine the closure of Frigidaire, but of all the other activities, including Il Nuovo Male, the Maivismo Museum, not to mention the scattering of the precious library and historical archive, which has been consulted and study by many Italian and international scholars from very prestigious universities (Yale, etc.).  Its closing would cause a great damage to Italian comics, as well as to illustration studies, and it would be a true cultural crime.

We ask international comics scholars to consider signing this petition, so that Frigolandia can continue living and freely work.

If you support art and comics, please sign and circulate this petition.

For more information
Facebook Frigidaire
Twitter Frigolandia

Thursday, April 23, 2020

All Fontanarrosa/Todo Fontanarrosa issue of JILAR journal available now

Vol. 25, #3, 2019

All Fontanarrosa/Todo Fontanarrosa. Guest Editors: María Celina Bortolotto and Annick Pellegrin


Pages: 233-243
Published online: 23 Apr 2020
About The Authors
Pages: 370-373
Published online: 23 Apr 2020

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Exhibitions of the 47th Angoulème International Comics Festival: Catherine Meurisse, chemin de traverse

Located along the Charente river between the Vaisseau Moëbius and the Musée de la bande dessinée, the Musée du Papier has previously hosted exhibitions that showcase the work of artists associated with the development programmes of the Angoulème International Comics Festival. These earlier exhibitions were typically staged in a single room reserved for temporary shows, offering enough space to cover the relatively smaller body of work accumulated bu young up-and-coming artists graduating from the Concours Jeunes Talent (Young Talents) like Pauline Aubry and Miroslav Sekulic-Struja.

For 2020, the festival organizers opted to scale up in size and scope with an exhibition consecrating Catherine Meurisse, an artist who participated in the festival's Concours de la bande dessinée scolaire (comics by/for schoolchildren) in 1993 - and ultimately winning in 1997 - and whose impressive career to-date hardly classifies her as an "up-and-coming" artist. This exhibition plays more like a coming-out celebration and its scheduling couldn't have been more timely for Meurisse: on 15 January 2020,  she was elected as the first comics auteure into France's prestigious Académie des beaux-arts; and heading into Angoulème itself, she was nominated as one of the three finalists for the festival's Grand Prix award. This comprehensive exhibition aimed to situate and elevate Meurisse's work to wider audiences by excavating her formative years while also illuminating the new horizons that she is preparing to explore.

The exit to the Catherine Meurisse exhibition at the Musée du papier. This stairwell served as the entrance to the previous festival exhibitions held at this location.

Aptly titled "Catherine Meurisse: Crossroads", the exhibition divides Meurisse's career-to-date across two separate but connected rooms, with a clear physical, discursive and emotional split to distinguish them as individuated but contiguous spaces.

The exhibition's splash panel. English translation: "Catherine Meurisse: Crossroads"

The first room covers Meurisse's earliest years right up to her ten-year stint at Charlie Hebdo, where she became the first female cartoonist to serve on the satirical journal's editorial board on a permanent basis. A tight labyrinthine route through five chronological, thematic and color-coded sections introduces visitors to Meurisse's first forays into the world of drawing, illustrations, comics and editorial cartooning, all filtered through the lens of her unique engagement with French art and literature.

"First steps" presents original drawings showing the development of Meurisse's visual style from childhood and adolescence drawings up to her first "mature" work published in 2005.
Catherine Meurisse's primary school notebook from 1985.
Le Corbeau et le renard, Meurisse's submission to the concours de la BD scolaire at the 1993 Angoulème International Comics Festival. The caption notes that the influence of Marcel Gotlib is already evident in her work.
These original pages by Quentin Blake (left) and Tomi Ungerer (right) helped situate Meurisse's aesthetic development against the backdrop of her inspirations. Pages by Sempé, Marcel Gotlib and Claire Brétecher were also displayed to help visitors connect with Meurisse's graphic references.
The second section"L'art maître du jeu" displayed a range of pages that built on Meurisse's graphic style to showcase her clever use and appropriation of 19th century French art and literature into her comics.

An aquarelle photocopy of a page from Moderne Olympia, where Meurisse uses the subject of Manet's famous painting as a character.

Two aquarelle photocopied pages from Le Pont des Arts, highlighting once again Meurisse's appropriation of literary references while also pointing out her comics acumen through speech balloon placement and page layout approach.
The third yellow-coded section, "Prolonging childhood", introduced Meurisse's illustrative talents in the service of words written by other authors for children's books and comics.
A 2002 sketchbook of Meurisse's "funny animal" character studies.
Meurisse channels Tomi Ungerer and Saul Steinberg in this illustration of "Open Door Enforcers" for Emmanuel Trédez' L'enforceur de portes ouvertes et cinquante autres métiers improbables.

Cover illustration drafts for Franky et Raoul, spécimens de la jungle!, Meurisse's only children's project to date in which she both wrote and drew the comics.
Les années Charlie section occupied the central position in the first exhibition room. Meurisse had her first strip published in the weekly Charlie Hebdo when she was 21. She later joined the editorial board four years later in 2005 for a stint that would last until 2015.

Meurisse was welcomed with open arms by the Charlie Hebdo crew, who encouraged her to explore her sense of humour and her curiosity with total freedom. She quickly established her own identity among the collective, and her cover illustrations were instantly recognizable.
During her stint at Charlie Hebdo, Meurisse's assimilated the styles of Claire Bretécher, Cabu, Reiser and Sempé (among others) to produce her own brand of political satire that affirmed her own personality with the liveliness and economy of her illustrations.
Meurisse also delved into comics journalism with reports about social and political issues, often featuring caricatures of French political figures that were not spared her biting ferocity and criticism.

Meurisse stayed true to her arts and literature heritage by taking over the culture page at Charlie Hebdo. This double-page spread recounted her 2013 meeting with Quentin Blake, the English artist whom she greatly admired.

The final section of the first room, Laughing at the established order, carried over the Charlie Hebdo spirit of social satire  by highlighting how Meurisse tackles patriarchal conformity with her usual caustic sense of humor.
A selection of pages showing the different ways that Meurisse uses her comics to thoughtfully and comically engage with female sexuality and the place and role of women in modern society.

These pages originally appeared in Charlie Hebdo, then were collected into the 2016 album Scenes de la vie hormonale.
The first exhibition room closes on the inevitable reference to the 7 January 2015 masssacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices that Catherine Meurisse narrowly avoided. This event and its aftermath marked a break in Meurisse's professional and personal life, leading her to quit the magazine following her contribution to issue 1178 (the "survivor's issue") to take a necessary pause to regroup. This break is scenographically referenced by the exhibition itself by the division into two rooms, marking a literal turning point or "crossroads" as implied by the title. If the first room covered her early years, then the second room would address her current situation and the new directions that it augers.

The passageway that connects the two rooms of the exhibition. The wall that the boy is leaning on is the back wall of the "Les années Charlie" segment.
The second exhibition room was much less cramped than the first room, offering visitors a more open space to experience Meurisse's artistic reinvention. The main section of this second room, titled "Talking with the world" and color-coded with a shade of forest green, focuses on Meurisse's re-engagement with herself, her art, and by extension, her world. This theme is foregrounded by the visual centerpiece of the second room, which is the first sight that greets visitors upon entering the second room from the passageway.

The large die-cut installation that was the visual centerpiece of the second exhibition, foregrounding Meurisse's re-engagement with the world and how she expresses this through her comics.
Meurisse's recent comics have taken on significantly increased layers of introspection, and her work shows traces of the emotional labour that was necessary to process the post-Charlie Hebdo experience. The exhibition presents original pages taken from La Légèreté (2016) and Les Grands espaces (2018) to spotlight the new ways that Meurisse visually sees the world, as well as how she sees herself in narrative relation to this world. Both of these books place Meurisse front and center as the main character who engages with her world and her memories with the same incisiveness as before but now with added layers of openness, curiosity and appreciation. Her self-representation in these books is drawn with a throwaway sketch quality, and is typically situated in a natural environment that is now rendered using different graphical techniques (such as pastel or graphite pencil).  

Studies in pastel that would lead Meurisse to the cover of La Légèreté (2016).
Original pages and details that suggest Meurisse's new visual style extends her previous approach with new graphic layers of environmental representation.
An original page from Les Grands espaces (2018) that juxtaposes the loose rendering of the characters against the hyper-realistic attention to the detail of the environment.
Close-up of an original page from Les Grands espaces (2018) drawn in graphite pencil.
The final section of the second exhibition room, and thus the final section of the exhibition itself,  presents visitors with a display of Meurisse's artistic process that not only highlights her technical labour but also their associated transformative aspects which helped her come to terms with the tragedies of the recent past. Showcasing a mixture of storyboards, sketches, video interviews and studies, this final section cumulatively uses this material to conclude that Meurisse herself embodies a crossroads, in terms of technique and approach: one between the sharp quick wit of editorial cartooning and the patient and laborious construction needed for comics.

The entrance to "The Drawing Factory", the final section of the exhibition.
The second half of "The Drawing Factory" section which closes with a video interview with Catherine Meurisse recorded on 15 November 2019
A page showing Meurisse's new explorations with watercolors in Delacroix (2019), her recent revisitation of her first mature work Causerie sur Delacroix (2005).
A storyboard from Moderne Olympia (2014) that demonstrates how Meurisse breaks down a page by first arranging the dialogue into individual panels, before adding the graphic elements. 
Catherine Meurisse, chemin de traverse launched at the Angoulème International Comics Festival on 30 January 2020, and continued to be on display at the Musée du papier until 1 March 2020. The quality of this exhibition is superb and Meurisse's profile is prominent enough that there can be hope that this show can travel elsewhere in the Francophone comics and arts worlds. An excellent introduction to the work of an artist who seems to be just getting started, this exhibition succeeded in providing an intelligent framework to persuade a neophyte reader like me to explore her work further.

-Nick Nguyen

All photos taken by Nick Nguyen