CFP: 2018 Michigan State University Comics Forum

Zack Kruse's picture

2018 Michigan State University Comics Forum

Academic Panels - Call for Submissions


The Michigan State University Comics Forum - - is an annual academic conference that brings together scholars, creators, and fans in order to explore and celebrate the medium of comics, graphic storytelling, and sequential art. In its eleventh year, the Comics Forum is scheduled to take place February 23-24, 2018 at the Michigan State University Main Library, which houses the world’s largest public collection of comic books. This year’s event will feature keynote addresses from Lucy Knisley and Diana Schutz.


Our Creator Keynote Speaker, Lucy Knisley, is a critically acclaimed, award-winning comic creator who specializes in personal, confessional comics and travelogues. She attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Merit Scholar, BFA 2007), followed by The Center for Cartoon Studies (Diamond in the Rough Scholar, MFA 2009).  To date her work has been published by several major publishers, including French Milk (2008, Touchstone/Simon & Schuster), Relish (2013, First Second [MacMillan Comics Imprint]), An Age of License (2014, Fantagraphics), Displacement (2015, Fantagraphics), and Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride (2016, First Second [MacMillan Comics Imprint]).


This year’s Scholar Keynote Speaker, Diana Schutz, is an award-winning editor who has been working in comics for almost forty years. She was senior executive editor at Dark Horse Comics, where she was on staff from 1990 to 2015. She was Frank Miller’s editor on Sin City and 300, Matt Wagner’s editor on Grendel, Stan Sakai’s editor on Usagi Yojimbo, Paul Chadwick’s editor on Concrete, and Larry Marder’s editor on Beanworld. She applied her knowledge of romance languages to edit international material in translation such as Blacksad and The Manara Library. She has worked with authors Michael Chabon, Neil Gaiman, Harvey Pekar, and Harlan Ellison, among others. She was fortunate to have been Will Eisner’s Dark Horse editor until his death in 2005. She is also an adjunct instructor of Comics Studies at Portland State University, a published author of both comics and prose, and the first woman to be inducted into the Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame. Semi-retired, she now works as a literary translator of European comics, including work by Moebius, Manara, Muñoz & Sampayo, and more.


Our Creator Keynote Address will be on the evening of Friday, February 23rd.  Saturday, February 24th, the Michigan State University Comics Forum will feature scholarly presentations in a variety of formats as well as our Scholar Keynote Address. Concurrent with the academic panels will be our artists’ alley.




We seek proposals for presentations, which may include but are not limited to:

  • Individual submissions

    • Each presenter will have 15 minutes to discuss his/her topic along with 5 minutes for questions

    • Presenters will be grouped with other participants into a panel

  • Panel Sessions

    • Will run for 1 hour and 15 minutes

    • Must include at least 3 presenters

    • Presenters must discuss similar or connected topics

    • Those proposing a panel are responsible for finding their own panel session members

  • Roundtables

    • Will run for 1 hour

    • Must include at least 3 participants

    • Presenters must discuss one specific topic

    • Those proposing a roundtable are responsible for finding their own session members


Submissions from a broad range of disciplines are encouraged; however, presentations must be focused on the medium of comics. The MSU Comics Forum is seeking a multitude of perspectives that represent the diversity of comics and the medium’s social, literary, artistic, and theoretical contexts.


Individual submissions require a 250-word (maximum) abstract of the topic as well as name and affiliation. Panel sessions require one 250-word abstract for the overarching topic and a unique abstract for each presenter’s specific topic, including name and affiliation, e-mailed together. Roundtable proposals should include a 250-word abstract that includes an explanation of the topic and the names and affiliations of the participants.


Due to the visual nature of the comics medium and diverse community engagement in the Forum, we ask that all presentations integrate visual content.  Panel presentations should be .ppt, slides, .pdf, or .presi, and on a USB or accessible online

Proposals are due December 10, 2017 by 11:59 PM EST

Please submit proposals to the 2018 MSU Comics Forum Panel Coordinator, Zack Kruse, at:

Presenters will be notified of acceptance by December 22, 2017.

For more information visit