“You must draw David Bowie. Find David Bowie, or I’ll send you David Bowie. Because if it isn’t David Bowie, you’re going to have to re-do it until it is David Bowie.”
– Kelley Jones, quoting Neil Gaiman, Hanging Out with the Dream King: Conversations with Neil Gaiman and His Collaborators (2004)
The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship is inviting authors and artists to submit contributions for a special collection of papers offering alternative scholarly approaches to the late David Bowie and comics.
Regular readers of downthetubes will recall the huge amount of Bowie-inspired art published by comic creators after his death earlier this year, some of which we featured here.
This will be an open access scholarly collection edited by Dr Brenna Clarke Gray (Douglas College, New Westminster, Canada) and the Comics Grid editorial team.
This call for papers explicitly invites submissions from early-career, marginalised, or underrepresented scholars, including those who are people of colour, queer, or woman-identifying.
In late October 2012, the University of Limerick in Ireland hosted ‘Strange Fascination? A Symposium on David Bowie’ over three days, offering an academic platform to discuss and celebrate the work of what most people agree is one of the most significant figures in contemporary popular culture. Emerging from the papers presented at the conference, the book David Bowie: Critical Perspectives was released in April 2015. Edited by Eoin Devereux, Aileen Dillane, and Martin J. Power and published by Routledge, the book includes 18 essays on Bowie’s work.
But, while this work represents an excellent and meaningful contribution to the field of Bowie Studies, the essays included do not intersect with the notion of the comic. Comics Grid’s special issue will build upon and complicate the notion of Bowie scholarship by directly engaging with the comic and the graphic in Bowie’s work, and with Bowie’s diverse and complex presence and influence in comics worldwide.
As Devereux, Dillane and Power state in the preface to their collection, “in our media-saturated world the word ‘iconic’ is an overused and abused term. David Bowie is one of the few artists to whom the term is deservedly ascribed” (2015, Preface, xiv). In spite of Bowie’s ‘iconic’ presence in popular culture, there is still a paucity of critical studies on Bowie’s influence and presence in the medium of comics, particularly from the vantage point of traditionally underrepresented voices and methodologies within established academia in general and comics studies in specific. Multidisciplinary, multimodal research on Bowie does exist, but scholarly approaches focusing on comics remain the exception rather than the norm (for example, film and comics scholar Will Brooker’s ongoing work on Bowie).
This call for papers seeks to encourage more diverse, open access comics scholarship around ‘David Bowie’ as a cultural phenomenon. The editors do not wish to establish thematic or methodological boundaries to this call, and invite colleagues to submit research work inspired by its title. Submissions, however, must fulfil The Comics Grid’s editorial guidelines, which are available here
The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship is an open access journal; authors retain copyright of their own work and the published content is made available on HTML and PDF under a Creative Commons-Attribution License.
Submissions can be in any of the article types listed in our author guidelines. It is essential all research submissions include and directly refer to and discuss, in-text, specific examples of comics (panels, pages). Please ensure you have read the author guidelines carefully before submitting. Submissions must be uploaded directly to the journal here. All research submissions are subject to peer review. For technical specifications and special guidelines for research presented in comics form, please contact the editors before submitting.
Submission deadline (full papers): 1 September 2016
Estimated Acceptance/Rejection Notices date: 1 December 2016
Estimated Publication date, depending on revisions and editorial processes: March 2017
• Our lead image is by British artist Lizz Lunney who put together a Bowie zine in 2012 to celebrate her love for the musician. It sold out of the 300 Limited Edition copies printed and so she decided to upload the PDF, free to any other Bowie fans who might enjoy it
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. 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 “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.