This Fall has been a busy one for many of our Comics Studies Reading Group members, who have been reading, teaching, reviewing, and writing about comics and graphic novels, among other things. So I thought this would be a great time to share some of the interesting work they’re doing or plan to do in the coming year. This group includes folks at UNT and TCU who have been meeting together or sharing ideas and events over the last year or so. They come from a range of disciplines and professional roles, so it’s especially valuable to see how comics intersect with all of these different perspectives and approaches to reading, writing, and thinking about the issues they study. If you’re interested in joining the reading group email list, or have updates of your own to share, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Aftandilian, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of Human-Animal Relationships (HARE) minor at TCU, recently taught We3 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely in his TCU Anthropology class, “Animals, Religion, and Culture”, to help introduce students to the concept of intersubjectivity. Next semester he and a colleague will be using comics again in an Anthropology & Studio Art class on “Little Animals in Art, Culture & Museums” to help introduce the concept of animal personhood. Last time they taught the course, they used issues of Mouse Guard and Squarriors, but may also add an issue from Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians.
Wesley D. Cray is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at TCU, where they helped found the TCU Comics Initiative and where they also regularly teach Philosophy and Comics. Their article, “Some Ideas About the Metaphysics of Stories” was recently published in the British Journal of Aesthetics and their book, Philosophy of Comics: An Introduction (co-authored with Sam Cowling), is currently under contract with Bloomsbury Press. Along with some other TCU faculty, they were recently interviewed for TCU Magazine on the topic of comics in the classroom. And they contributed to this recent Aesthetics for Birds blog post for a discussion of their Top 5 Comics of the Decade.
Sarah A. Evans, Assistant Professor of Youth Librarianship, in the Department of Information Sciences, just finished her first semester at UNT. For fall, she taught INFO 5410: Comics and Graphic Novels, a survey course about the range of content available in this format and how to use them in formal and informal learning settings. Her paper “Popular Culture Texts and Fandom Practices as Sacred Texts and Religious Practices” was accepted for the 2020 National Conference of the Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association, taking place this April in Philadelphia.
Bobby Griffith, Government Information Reference Specialist at the UNT Eagle Commons Library, presented a poster entitled Give Your Outreach Superpowers with Government Comics! at the 2019 Federal Depository Library Conference in Arlington, VA last October. In 2020 he will be creating a subject guide on government comics and related materials. The Eagle Commons Library is looking into the possibility of becoming a Preservation Steward for government comics, preserving these unique resources for future generations in partnership with the U.S. Federal Depository Library Program.
Sam Langsdale is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy & Religion at UNT. Her article “Moon Girls and Mythical Beasts: Analyzing Race, Gender, and Monstrosity,” was recently published in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. Sam is the co-editor of the forthcoming book Monstrous Women in Comics, to be published by the University Press of Mississippi in May 2020. She is also finishing up edits for a chapter entitled “Over the Rainbow Bridge: Female/Queer Sexuality in Marvel’s Thor Film Trilogy,” for the edited volume Supersex: Sexuality, Fantasy and the Superhero, to be published by The University of Texas Press in fall 2020. Finally, she was pleased to be invited last week to speak with the Comic Book Cinema class at St. Louis Community College at Wildwood about Captain Marvel, the Dark Phoenix, femininity and masculinity, superhero fashion, the failure that is the Golden Globes and more!
John Edward Martin, a Scholarly Communication Librarian at the UNT Libraries, recently had a paper entitled, “The ScholCom(ics) Librarian: Comics and the Future of Scholarly Communication,” accepted for the 2020 MSU Comics Forum in East Lansing, MI. He is also working on the final revisions for a chapter on “Poe, Women, and Comics” for a book on Poe & Women that is under consideration by the Lehigh University Press Perspectives on Edgar Allan Poe Series. He continues to organize the Comics Studies@UNT reading group and blog, and is busy planning some exciting events for the Spring—stay tuned!
Matina Newsom is the Stacks and Evening supervisor at the UNT Eagle Commons Library. She is currently working towards her MLS and an avid comic reader. In addition to working for the libraries, she recently began writing articles for Batman-News. There, she writes reviews for various comics associated with Batman and DC. Check out her Author Page for samples of her reviews.