Cover of Barrier #1

On Friday, August 17, 2018, we had the first organizational meeting for our new Comics Studies Reading Group at UNT. This is a group devoted to reading and discussing comics & graphic novels, as well as interesting scholarship, popular media, or films related to comics studies.  

Nine people attended the meeting, and we had several more who expressed interest via email.  We talked about our interests in comics and what everyone there is currently doing with comics, whether it’s teaching, scholarship, creating, or just reading for fun.  We heard from folks who have been reading comics since childhood, and others who just came to them recently. It was exciting to see that comics are still drawing new readers from diverse demographics that, hopefully, are seeing themselves and their interests reflected more broadly in the work being produced.

The range of interests in types of comics (series, graphic novels, manga, web comics) and comic genres (superheroes, horror, sci-fi, queer comics, Archies, literary adaptations) was varied as the people in the room. These included professors, librarians, staff, and students, including some from both UNT and TCU. The latter are starting up their own comics studies initiative, and they’ve invited us to be a part of their events and activities as well (we’ll share those here when appropriate).

Since our interests are pretty varied, we’re open to reading a wide range of materials, as long as they’re accessible to everyone. Some materials may be put on reserve at the Willis Library, while others should be available online, at the Denton Public Library, or at the local comics shops. 

We decided that we’ll try once-a-month meetings for now at various locations around Denton to accommodate schedules, parking, transportation, and seating for those who want to attend. This will also give us an opportunity to get off of the campus and explore our community a bit (and possibly find others who share our interests). 

Our first meeting is schedule for Saturday, Sept. 22, 2-3 p.m. at Harvest House in Denton. 

For our first reading, we chose Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin, & Muntsa Vicente’s five-issue miniseries, Barrier, which is available in a collected edition at that link for a “name your price” fee. We’ll share some highlights of our discussion here on the blog.

If you’re interested in joining us or being on the mailing list for future gatherings, email john.martin@unt.edu

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