ImageText Review: Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives

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The most recent issue of ImageText: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies (Vol. 8, No. 1) has a nice review, by Kate Polak, of Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives: Comics at the Crossroads, which I co-edited with Christina Meyer and Daniel Stein. Here’s a little taste of it:

Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives is an essential volume for both comics scholars and scholars of literature in general, because it places the most popular emerging medium in conversation with cutting-edge contemporary scholarship, and makes a strong case for the ways in which comics are necessary in considerations of a transnational, cosmopolitan 21st century world.

Check out the full review, titled “Playing at the Margins,” here.

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Now Out in Paperback: Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives

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Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives: Comics at the Crossroads (Bloomsbury, 2013), which I co-edited with Christina Meyer and Daniel Stein, is now out in a paperback edition: see here for details. It is available now through all the major outlets (e.g. amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.), and there is a Google Books preview as well. Check it out!

News and Reviews: Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives

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Up to now, Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives (which I co-edited along with Christina Meyer and Daniel Stein) has only been available in a prohibitively expensive hardback edition, but luckily that’s about to change: a much more affordable paperback is set to appear in September, and it is now available for pre-order on amazon.com (here), amazon.ca (here), amazon.co.uk (here), and amazon.de (here). If you can’t wait and you’re OK with reading from a screen, there’s also a Kindle edition available for a couple of dollars/pounds/euros/etc. less.

Recently, a brief review of the book appeared in Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics 5.2 (2014); according to the reviewer, Ralf Kauranen, “Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives offers a wealth of concepts and perspectives for the study of the transnational in comics research … [and] signals the arrival of the ‘transnational turn’ in comics studies.”

And in case you missed it, you might want to check out the interview that Michael Chaney (professor at Dartmouth and contributor to the volume) conducted with Christina, Daniel, and me about the book and our experiences and interests in comics: An Interview with the Editors of Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives.

Interview on Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives

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Over at his blog, Michael A. Chaney (professor of English and American Studies at Dartmouth College and director of the Illustration, Comics, and Animation conference there) has posted an interview he conducted with Daniel Stein, Christina Meyer, and myself on the topic of comics and our edited collection Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives. Michael is a wonderful interviewer and an all-around great guy, and it was a lot of fun talking to him about our work. So take a look: here.

Transnational Comics Studies

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Recently, I discovered an alternative cover concept — seen above — for Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives: Comics at the Crossroads (which I co-edited along with Christina Meyer and Daniel Stein). I found this on the webpage of Daniel Benneworth-Gray, the designer who was also responsible for the final book cover. In the end, I have to say I like the final cover better, but I think this is a nice concept, and it gives me a kind of a parallel universe / Bizarro world / “What-if?” / retcon kinda feeling, which I think is quite appropriate for a book about comics.

Speaking of the book, Daniel Stein, Christina Meyer, and I will be doing just that: i.e. speaking about the book and the broader field of “Transnational Comics Studies” on October 9, at the Berliner Kolloquium zur Comicforschung. The meeting will take place at the Humboldt University in Berlin. I’ll post the exact time and place as soon as I know more.

Imagining Media Change — Photos from the Symposium

Here are some images from our symposium “Imagining Media Change,” which took place on June 13, 2013:

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Above, Ruth Mayer opening the symposium with some nice words of welcome.

1-Jussi_ParikkaJussi Parikka talking about “Cultural Techniques of Cognitive Capitalism: On Change and Recurrence” in his wonderful opening keynote.

2-Florian_GrossFlorian Groß delivering his talk “The Only Constant is Change: American Television and Media Change Revisited” — with examples from Mad Men.

3-Bettina_SollerBettina Soller on hypertext and fanfic in her talk “How We Imagined Electronic Literature and Who Died: Looking at Fan Fiction to See What Became of the Future of Writing”.

4-Shane_DensonMe, Shane Denson, on escalators and “On NOT Imagining Media Change”.

5-Wanda_StrauvenWanda Strauven delivering the second keynote, “Pretend (&) Play: Children as Media Archaeologists” — a lively talk with great examples!

6-Christina_MeyerChristina Meyer talking about the Yellow Kid and “Technology – Economy – Mediality: Nineteenth Century American Newspaper Comics”.

7-Ilka_BraschIlka Brasch talking about early film serials and “Facilitating Media Change: The Operational Aesthetic as a Receptive Mode”.

8-Alexander_StarreAlexander Starre wrapping up the symposium with an excellent talk on “Evolving Technologies, Enduring Media: Material Irony in Octave Uzanne’s ‘The End of Books’”.

And finally, here are a few more random pictures:

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Christina Meyer, “Technology – Economy – Mediality”

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Abstract for Christina Meyer’s talk at the symposium “Imagining Media Change” (June 13, 2013, Leibniz Universität Hannover):

Technology – Economy – Mediality: Nineteenth Century American Newspaper Comics

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In my talk I will focus on one of the first serialized, colored comic figures of the late nineteenth century, which appeared in two competing New York newspapers (The World and the New York Journal): Mickey Dugan, better remembered as the Yellow Kid. This kid was one of the first successfully marketed, iconic comic figures to which the public was introduced, and whose adventures it encountered over a 5-year period (1893-1898). The Yellow Kid had not only a place, and served diverse functions, within the Sunday comic supplements – as a protagonist in the comic pages, as a want-ads promotional device, and as a front-page filler – but also ‘outside’ of them, in the form of all kinds of merchandise products, advertising, poster and billboard ‘sign,’ and as a name-giver for, or rather protagonist in, songs and theater plays (among other things). The Yellow Kid was a commodified ware to be purchased and collected in all kinds of forms. There were, among other things, Yellow Kid candy, chewing gum pets, Yellow Kid pin-back buttons (often giveaways distributed by tobacco companies that used the Yellow Kid to introduce and sell a new cigarette brand), wooden cigar boxes, numerous tins (in different sizes, and designed for all kinds of purposes), puzzles, dolls, and many more things. What interests me about the Yellow Kid, and what makes this comic figure a relevant research topic for this symposium, are precisely these ‘border-crossings’ or transitions, from one (carrier) medium to another and the effects these changes generate. One line of argumentation I wish to pursue in my talk is that the merchandising of the Yellow Kid is a narrative moment in itself, which is also, self-reflexively, commented upon in the Yellow Kid newspaper comic pages.