Studies in American Humor Special Issue

Christy Zempter's picture
Call for Publications
June 21, 2017 to July 1, 2017
Ohio, United States
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Humanities, Journalism and Media Studies, Popular Culture Studies

Funny in the Funnies

Studies in American Humor

Humor was the original scaffolding upon which American comic books were built. We have not historically called them “funny books” for nothing. Today, however, humor-based comics and graphic novels have been relatively marginalized by both scholars and contemporary readers alike. The focus of this special issue of Studies in American Humor, ser. 4, 4, no. 2 (October 2018), will be the comic side of comics, the funny that helped make the funnies. We are looking for essays that discuss graphic humor in periodicals from historical, thematic, and theoretical perspectives. Special attention will be given to submissions that privilege sequential storytelling, as opposed to one-off gag strips, and that engage with the full spirit of the project (e.g., not using comic titles or scenarios merely as a basis to explore issues divorced from American humor studies). Possible topics could include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • A study of an individual creator and/or title largely defined by humor
  • Publishers who have historically privileged humor comics
  • Comics and humor theory
  • Funny animal comics of all stripes, such as the work of Carl Barks, George Herriman’s Krazy Kat, Gilbert Shelton’s Fat Freddy’s Cat, or Fawcett’s Hoppy the Marvel Bunny
  • Humorous engagements, parodic or otherwise, with “serious” or non-humor-based genres and figures
  • The demographics of humor comics
  • Titles based on real-life comedians, such as Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope, and The Monkees
  • The uses of camp
  • Humor and comics in the wake of the so-called graphic novel and its assumed gravitas
  • The place of humor when discussing race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation in comics
  • Teen humor titles, such as Archie, Junior, and the original Patsy Walker
  • Comedy and irreverence in the underground comix of the 1960s and 1970s
  • Contemporary practitioners who have largely defined their work through humor, such Peter Bagge, Evan Dorkin, Roberta Gregory, Tony Millionaire, Michael Kupperman, Lynda Barry, Ryan Browne, Vanessa Davis, and R. Sikoryak
  • Humor in webcomics
  • The comics found in magazines such as MAD, Cracked, Crazy, and National Lampoon
  • Humor and adaptation in comics
  • Comedy, sex, and the question of pornography
  • Humorous newspaper strips, especially those with discernable narrative lines
  • Substantive interviews

Proposals of 750-1000 words for articles of manuscripts of 5000-8000 words should be uploaded in MS-Word as special issue proposals to the journal’s editorial portal at, which also has full submission guidelines.

Deadline for proposal submissions is July 1, 2017.  Final manuscripts will be due December 15, 2017.  Contributors should format manuscripts based on The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition, with variations as noted at the portal and at Studies in American Humor has been published by the American Humor Studies Association since 1974 and in association with Penn State University Press since 2015.

Contact Info: 

Please address all queries about this special issue to Derek Parker Royal at Questions about Studies in American Humor, back issues, or subscription information should be directed to  Judith Yaross Lee / Editor, Studies in American Humor / Christy Zempter, managing editor of Studies in American Humor, can be contacted at

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