Call for papers. Special Issue "Comics in the Americas in transnational perspective"

The period for submitting articles to the dossier "Comics in the Americas in transnational perspective" is open until March 1th, 2021.

Dossier editors: Amadeo Gandolfo (Freie Universität Berlin) e Ivan Lima Gomes (Universidade Federal de Goiás)

Comics are a privileged medium for understanding the contemporary world. With a language characterized by the interaction between image and text, comics enable rapid and dynamic communication. The presence of comic characters and genres in cinema, television and video games reinforce the inter and transmedia nature of the medium, and allows them to take center stage in the cultural life of our time. Graphic novels invade bookstores and new readers incorporate reading images in sequence to their repertoire of literate practices. Its importance is also felt in academia through the growth of studies that take comics as the subject and object of research within the Humanities. The objective of this dossier is to gather a corpus of these works to discuss the role of comics in the understanding of the Americas. To this end, the contributions of Cultural History from themes such as circulation, appropriation and cultural practices are important. To deepen its heuristic possibilities, we suggest to assume a transnational perspective that takes into account the transformation processes undergone by comics based on factors such as cultural transferations between countries, as suggested by Michel Espagne; the role of artists as transnational mediators who mobilize experiences and trajectories of life in their creative processes in order to impact other realities from their condition of artist in transit; and the representations of the transnational in comics with themes related to travel, exiles, etc. The theoretical-methodological dialogue, therefore, aligns itself with expensive approaches to Cultural History from themes such as circulation, appropriation and cultural practices.

A medium historically associated with the United States, comics go far beyond the borders of that country. In fact, the introduction of the aesthetics of comics in Latin America in the first decades of the 20th century found fertile ground in the region. Such a process continued throughout the following decades, firmly establishing “comic worlds” – as defined by Bart Beaty following Howard Becker – in specific national realities such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba and Mexico, among others. At the same time, Latin American comics functioned as a kind of experimentation laboratory where United States and European influences were appropriated and reread through local styles to produce comics that transit between the national and transnational.

Currently, a globalized stage points to new configurations for comics based on references as the consolidation of publishing formats from regions and countries such as Europe and Japan. Today comics are reverenced by the public and critics, which allows them to assume an active role in the XXIst century debates on sensitive issues such as gender, race, social inequalities and political crises.

This dossier proposal seeks to integrate academic production based on the following thematic axes:

 1) Theory and method for the study of comics in the Americas: theoretical-methodological research problems; history, historiography and comics scholarship; collections and sources for comics research and its problems; transnational theoretical issues for the study of comics in the Americas.

 2) History of comics in the Americas: agents involved in the production, publishing and circulation of comics; artists, publishers, publishing houses, and their audiences; cultural mediators; from national histories to transnational comics histories.

 3) Practices and ways of creating comics in the Americas: creative processes; cultural appropriation; everyday world and worlds of work in the production of comics; sociology of comics; the role of the state in the promotion of comics industries.

 4) Political and cultural representations in the Americas: politics in and of the images; comics, identities and the limits of representation; subaltern visualities; comics and gender; comics and racial debate; political censorship; exile and exiled: graphic journalism; travellers’s graphic descriptions during the XXth and XXIst centuries.

 5) Comic readers in the Americas: reading practices; comic audiences; reception studies and the impacts of comics when published in different contexts; dangerous readings and control over comics; debates on the benefits and ills of reading comics.