ImageText Review: Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives


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.

Now Out in Paperback: Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives


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


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 (here), (here), (here), and (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


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


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.

Popular Seriality: June 6 – 8, 2013


Above, the wonderful poster for the upcoming “Popular Seriality” conference in Göttingen (June 6-8). Below, the final program.

More info about the conference can be found on the homepage of the DFG Research Unit “Popular Seriality: Aesthetics and Practice,” here.

Out Now: Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives


This past week, I found my copy of Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives: Comics at the Crossroads (edited by me, Christina Meyer, and Daniel Stein) in my university mailbox — hot off the presses, I’m told, and ahead of schedule!

Interestingly, both and list the book’s date of publication as March 23, while it appears that they both began shipping the book ahead of that; on the other hand, and even the publisher Bloomsbury are listing the book as appearing a full two months later, on May 23, though both sites are accepting (pre-)orders and are sure to begin shipping much before then.

In any case, I can confirm that the book does in fact exist! And it’s nice to finally see all the contributions in physical form. For the time being, however, the only physical form available is a relatively expensive hardback, but a more affordable paperback will be on its way, pending sales — so please ask your library to purchase a copy!

And, in the meantime, you can get a free digital preview on Google Books, or you can order the full e-book version for about $24 from the publisher or about €16 from the Google play shop. (Please leave me a comment if you see it anywhere for cheaper.)

Anyway, we are very pleased with the book and with the high-quality contributions we received for it, and we hope it will find an interested readership at the intersections of comics studies, cultural and media studies, and transnational American studies!

(Transnational Perspectives on) Illustration, Comics, and Animation


The schedule has now been posted for the Illustration, Comics, and Animation Conference taking place this spring at Dartmouth College (April 19 – 21, 2013). There are quite a few interesting speakers and exciting topics on the roster, so I encourage readers to look at the complete conference schedule. But here I’d like to focus briefly on a few people who happen to be both involved in the conference and associated in one way or another with this blog and the various projects represented here.

First of all, two of my European colleagues will be presenting papers:

Daniel Stein, co-editor with me on Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives and fellow postdoctoral researcher in the Popular Seriality group, will be presenting a paper called “Animating Batman: Serial Storytelling, Cartoon Animation, and the Multiplicities of Contemporary Superhero Comics.” (Click the title for his abstract.)

Lukas Etter, contributor to Transnational Perspectives (with a great chapter on Jason Lutes’s Berlin) and member of the research project “Seriality and Intermediality in Graphic Novels” (a Swiss project associated with the DFG research group on Popular Seriality), will present “Seria(s)lly Episodic: Gradual Formal Variations in Alison Bechdel’s Feminist Comic Strip Dykes to Watch Out For (1983-2008).” (Click title for abstract.)

I will also be presenting a paper, titled “Animation as Theme and Medium: Frankenstein and Visual Culture.” (Again, click for the abstract.)

Finally, our American host and the conference’s organizer is Michael A. Chaney, Associate Professor of English at Dartmouth College, who is likewise a contributor to Transnational Perspectives (with an excellent chapter on “Transnationalism and Form in Visual Narratives of US Slavery”).

As it turns out, this will be the second time that all four of our paths cross — the first being at a comics studies workshop in Bern, Switzerland in October 2011. In this respect, and in addition to our cooperation on the volume, the upcoming conference marks the continuation of a very literal transnational exchange of ideas, which has brought together German, Swiss, and American (among other) perspectives on the study of comics and related media. I look forward to this and further such intersections and (national as well as medial) border-crossings!

Daniel Stein, “Animating Batman: Serial Storytelling, Cartoon Animation, and the Multiplicities of Contemporary Superhero Comics”


Here is the abstract for Daniel Stein’s talk at the Illustration, Comics, and Animation Conference at Dartmouth College (April 19 – 21, 2013):

Animating Batman: Serial Storytelling, Cartoon Animation, and the Multiplicities of Contemporary Superhero Comics

Daniel Stein

Comics and films scholars have devoted much time to the phenomenon of the Hollywood superhero blockbuster, developing sophisticated theories of media transposition and comic book adaptation. They have paid much less attention to a related and equally significant phenomenon: the animated superhero cartoon, most often produced for television. This may come as a surprise since animated versions of Superman (1941) and Spider-Man (1967) appeared rather early in the history of the superhero genre and have contributed to its evolution at least as much as the film serials of the 1940s (Batman: 1943 and 1949; Captain America: 1944), live action television series (Superman: 1952; Batman: 1966; Spider-Man: 1977), and the Hollywood blockbusters that followed the first Superman movie (1978).

This paper addresses two sets of questions that are vital to our understanding of superhero comics and their place in twenty-first-century media culture. First: How can we describe the transposition from sequential comic book narrative to the animated images of the television narrative? Are we dealing with different “visual ontologies” (Lefèvre)? And how does the change from multimodal storytelling in print to multimedial storytelling in film impact the representation? Second: If serial genres such as superhero comics produce various mechanisms to manage the multiplicities of proliferating “vast narratives” (Harrigan/Wardrip-Fruin), we must explain how new media impact the development of the genre. How does the “animated universe” (Brooker) of specific superheroes relate to their comic book continuities and canonicity? The paper analyzes animated Batman cartoons of the last twenty years: from television series such as Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995), The New Batman Adventures (1997-1999), Batman Beyond (1999-2001), and Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008-2011) to animated movie adaptations of canonical graphic novels such as Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010) Batman: Year One (2011), Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (2012).

Coming Soon: Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives


[UPDATE March 28, 2013: The book is now available; see here for more info]

We’re in the home stretch now with Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives: Comics at the Crossroads (eds. Shane Denson, Christina Meyer, and Daniel Stein). The manuscript is almost through the production phase at Bloomsbury, and everything is set for the book to appear on time in March 2013. A description can be found on the publisher’s website (here), and the book is already up on amazon (US site here; British site here; German site here). A more affordable e-book version is in preparation, and a paperback is planned as well (contingent upon sales of the hardcover — so please ask your library to purchase a copy)!

Here is the final Table of Contents:


John A. Lent

Introducing Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives: Comics at the Crossroads

            Shane Denson, Christina Meyer, and Daniel Stein

Part I: Politics and Poetics

1          Not Just a Theme: Transnationalism and Form in Visual Narratives of US Slavery

            Michael A. Chaney

2          Transnational Identity as Shape-Shifting: Metaphor and Cultural Resonance in Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese          

            Elisabeth El Refaie

3          Cosmopolitan Suspicion: Comics Journalism and Graphic Silence

            Georgiana Banita

4          Staging Cosmopolitanism: The Transnational Encounter in Joe Sacco’s Footnotes in Gaza    

             Aryn Bartley

5          “Trying to Recapture the Front”: A Transnational Perspective on Hawaii in R. Kikuo Johnson’s Night Fisher  

             Iris-Aya Laemmerhirt

6          Folding Nations, Cutting Borders: Transnationalism in the Comics of Warren Craghead III

             Daniel Wüllner

Part II: Transnational and Transcultural Superheroes

7          Batman Goes Transnational: The Global Appropriation and Distribution of an American Hero

             Katharina Bieloch and Sharif Bitar

8          Spider-Man India: Comic Books and the Translating/Transcreating of American Cultural Narrative

             Shilpa Davé

9          Of Transcreations and Transpacific Adaptations: Investigating Manga Versions of Spider-Man

             Daniel Stein

10         Warren Ellis: Performing the Transnational Author in the American Comics Mainstream

              Jochen Ecke

11         “Truth, Justice, and the Islamic Way”: Conceiving the Cosmopolitan Muslim Superhero in The 99

              Stefan Meier

Part III: Translations, Transformations, Migrations

12         Lost in Translation: Narratives of Transcultural Displacement in the Wordless Graphic Novel

              Florian Groß

13         Hard-Boiled Silhouettes: Transnational Remediation and the Art of Omission in Frank Miller’s Sin City

              Frank Mehring

14         The “Big Picture” as a Multitude of Fragments: Jason Lutes’s Depiction of Weimar Republic Berlin

              Lukas Etter

15         “Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together”: The Cultural Crossovers of Bryan Lee O’Malley

              Mark Berninger

16         A Disappointing Crossing: The North American Reception of Asterix and Tintin

              Jean-Paul Gabilliet


Framing, Unframing, Reframing: Retconning the Transnational Work of Comics

              Shane Denson