Call for Papers for Saving the Day: Accessing Comics in the Twentieth-First Century (A Roundtable)
51st Annual Convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association
Boston Marriott Copley Place, in Boston, Massachusetts, from 5-8 March 2020
Paper abstracts are due by 30 September 2019
Session organized by Michael A. Torregrossa, The Medieval Comics Project, and Carl B. Sell, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Although the presence of physical comics has declined, the plethora of comics-based movies and television shows available to contemporary audiences has made it almost impossible for an individual not to have acquired a familiarity with the comics medium and some of its most recognizable characters. Even more so than past generations, our students are especially responsive to superheroes and related tropes of comics, but what are the best ways to bring this material into the classroom to illustrate both where the comics are today and where they’ve come from?
In response to these questions, this session will introduce and instruct participants in the use of various online tools (such as comics companies’ websites, comics sellers’ store sites, databases of comics, fan wikias, and repositories) to successfully find and access comics and information about them of value to our teaching and research. This objective is especially vital, as resources like the Grand Comics Database and its various search options, can be invaluable when looking for resources (particularly when paired with repositories of comics, like Comic Book +, comiXology, DC Universe, and Marvel Unlimited). Furthermore, instruction on the various forms of the comiXology, DC Universe, and Marvel Unlimited platforms are of great importance as they stand to revolutionize access to and distribution of comics in the twenty-first century by providing affordable digital editions of books from all eras of the medium’s history. Additionally, fans of the comics have produced important resources essential in any quest to track and understand the larger contexts involved in how comics have developed and their characters evolved; these include various wikis devoted to specific publishers (like the DC Database and the Marvel Database) and sites like The Appendix to the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Finally, Comics Studies is a thriving field of scholarship with many print and online resources available. Unfortunately, all of these new resources appear foreign to most educators. We hope that this session will change that and promote a greater awareness of the resources available to successfully integrate comics into our academic lives.
This session is a roundtable, in which 3-10 participants give brief, informal presentations (5-10 minutes) and the session is open to conversation and debate between participants and the audience.
Abstract submissions must be made through NeMLA’s official site. Applicants will need to login or create an account at https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/login. Submissions must begin with a paper title of not more than 100 characters (including spaces) and adhering to the following: capitalize titles by MLA formatting rules unless the title is in a language other than English; do not use quotation marks in the session title or abstract title itself but please use only single quotation marks around titles of short stories, poems, and similar short works; italicize the titles of long works mentioned in the paper title; and do not place a period at the end of the title. Submissions should also include an academic biography (usually transferred from your NeMLA profile) and a paper abstract of not more than 300 words; be sure to italicize or use quotation marks around titles according to MLA guidelines.
Please be aware that NeMLA membership is not required to submit abstracts, but it is required to present at the convention. In addition, note that it is permissible to present on (1) a panel (or seminar) and (2) a roundtable or a creative session, but it is not permissible to present on a panel and a seminar (because both are paper-based), on two panels or two roundtables (because both would be the same type). Further information on these and other policies can be accessed at http://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention/callforpapers/submit.html.
Chairs will confirm the acceptance of abstracts before 15 October 2019. At that time, applicants must confirm the panel on which they wish to participate. Convention registration/membership for 2019-2020 must be paid by 1 December 2019.
Michael A. Torregrossa, The Medieval Comics Project, and Carl B. Sell, Indiana University of Pennsylvania