Comics Forum for comic studies gets overhaul, adds digital texts

(with thanks to Norman Boyd): The Comics Forum website (http://comicsforum.org) has recently had something of a makeover and now includes the addition of a new ‘Scholarly Resources‘ section for anyone interested in the study of comics (accessible from the top of all pages on the website).

This section also includes a newly launched Digital Texts archive, which offers freely downloadable texts of relevance to comics scholars – including a digital copy of the controversial UK Children and Young Person’s (Harmful Publications) Act, 1955, the genesis of which was discussed at length in Martin Barker’s A Haunt of Fears: The Strange History of the British Horror Comics Campaign (and is still in force).

The digital text archive is currently in its launch phase and as such contains a small number of texts, but the creators hope to be able to expand this collection as time goes on in order to provide a useful centralised hub for freely available, open access comics scholarship.

“We are particularly keen to feature previously unpublished material,” says Forum manager Ian Hague, “or texts that have gone out of print, in order to help develop the breadth, longevity and sustainability of comics scholarship, and contribute to overcoming the sense of ‘reinventing the wheel’ that was alluded to in a post on the Comics Forum site by Randy Duncan and Matthew J. Smith in July of this year, and by Charles Hatfield in a post on the Thought Balloonists blog in September 2009.

“We are also interested in publishing new material where it is available, with the hope that featuring such material on this website can help it to find a wider audience.”

If you are an author and you would be interesting in making your articles, books, dissertations, essays, fanzines, theses etc. available via this archive please contact me at this address or I.Hague@chi.ac.uk.

Already available in the Digital Texts archive are Ian Gordon’s book Comic Strips and Consumer Culture 1890-1945 and Dan Raeburn’s series of critical essays published as The Imp (four issues).

Ian is also planning to launch additional resources to complement the existing materials and would welcome some assistance in doing so. “Up to this point I have largely been running the website by myself, he says. “At present the situation is fairly manageable, but I would like to expand the site and the remit of Comics Forum as a whole if possible, in order to increase its usefulness to scholars individually and to scholarship as a whole.

“At the moment I am looking to get together a larger team of people to help with the ‘behind the scenes’ aspects of the website and possibly the 2012 conference (depending on what format that takes next year).”

• If you would be interested in getting involved with Comics Forum please get in touch with Ian via the email address above for more info. Experience working with the WordPress online service would be helpful but is not essential.

• You can access the scholarly resources section directly here: http://comicsforum.org/scholarly-resources/

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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