MLA 2019: Translation and Adaptation in Comics and Graphic Novels

Peter Bryan's picture
Call for Papers
March 31, 2018
Illinois, United States
Subject Fields: 
Communication, Cultural History / Studies, Linguistics, Literature, Popular Culture Studies

The field of comics studies is relatively young, but is quickly growing.  To that end, this panel discusses the translation and adaptation of comics and other graphic narratives with an emphasis on transnational and digital contexts.  What is the ultimate goal of bringing a comic into a new cultural context or new medium?  What is the value of fidelity in translations and adaptations, and what efforts are undertaken to retain the meaning of the source text?

Possible topics include, but are not limited to...

What steps do editors take when translating manga for American audiences?  What cultural references and jokes are retained, and what is lost?  What duty do these individuals have to the source material?

How has the adaptation of comics into film changed?  What texts are drawn from in the creation of films like Batman Returns, Wonder Woman, or Black Panther, and how is this change how the originals are understood?

How do audiences engage with translated/adapted texts, and how does it differ from audience engagement with the original?

To what degree do translators have agency in determining the meaning of a text?  Borrowing from Dorfman and Mattelary, are the South American adaptations of Donald Duck propaganda as a result of some inherent trait of the character, or is it the result of editorial choices?

This call is for a non-guaranteed panel at the 2019 Modern Languages Association Convention in Chicago from January 3-6, 2019.  A 300-word abstract and a CV are due by March 31st to Peter Bryan at Questions before the deadline are welcome.

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